When Microsoft itself wonders how you were able to successfully test and implement an update of one of its own programs without downtime, you know you’ve experienced a new kind of test environment creation tool.

When Microsoft MVP Stephen Owen (@FoxDeploy) was asked to upgrade a client’s Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) from SCCM 2012 to the just-released R2-SP1, he knew exactly what to do first. In fact, Microsoft recommended his first step, though didn’t specify exactly how to accomplish that step.

Microsoft suggested that companies upgrading System Center Configuration Manager create a test environment to ensure that the upgrade wouldn’t cause problems. But Stephen’s client was already using a test environment solution: the Kubisys Platform.

At this point, we’ll let Stephen speak for himself:

The customer had Kubisys, and that actually made it super easy to test. They had a test environment spun up in maybe twenty minutes, and I ran through the production upgrade with the same steps I’ve done countless times elsewhere. [The tested upgrade] fell flat on its face and would have resulted in complete downtime for being able to image machines.

The specific problem that caused the upgrade to fail was related to unresolved issues from the very first SCCM installation. According to Stephen, “They had some kind of big SQL issues and they didn’t fix it all the way …. We didn’t actually know there was a problem until we tried to upgrade it, and it didn’t work.”

A Successful SCCM Upgrade Test

Stephen’s story only gets better. He contacted Microsoft to report the issue they’d discovered during the test upgrade. Because of the high priority of the upgrade, MS said they’d call him back within two hours, but Stephen corrected them: “This isn’t a category A issue.”

MS replied, “What do you mean? Don’t you guys have downtime?”

“No. We [found the problem] in a test environment, and so nothing is actually down. We just can’t upgrade until this gets fixed.”

“Wait, wait, wait. You actually tested the upgrade?”

Apparently, most developers don’t take Microsoft’s recommendations to test that seriously. They were surprised that Stephen had tested the upgrade, found an issue, and hadn’t experienced downtime as a result.

Saving the Weekend

Stephen later said,

It was great for us because we didn’t have big budget overages and … have people like me missing a whole weekend away from family to get our client back up and running. It made us look good. A client was happy that they got to use Kubisys because they had just taken it out of the wrapping maybe a week before.

In other words, the Kubisys Platform saved Stephen from having to work over the weekend and saved the client from downtime and lost revenue. Additionally, the fact that the client had only just unwrapped their new Kubisys device proved how quickly end users can begin to successfully use the Platform to its fullest potential.

When talking about IT consultant work and how the Kubisys Platform could help all professional services organizations, Stephen said it well: “Staying under budget is just as important as giving quality of service.” With the help of our Platform, Stephen and IT consultants like him can deliver on both promises to their clients—and possibly never work another weekend again.

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