The staging environment provides a safe, isolated sandbox environment to test changes to your Instart production configuration. Changes can then be promoted to production, and in the event of any issues, can easily be rolled back.
|Note||If you have a QA testing environment with its own unique and publicly-published DNS address, the current release of the staging environment does not support using this.|
With the staging environment you can test changes to a configuration before pushing them to production. You can create a new staging property, configure it, and test it.
Currently we do not support pushing changes from the staging environment and vice-versa. Please contact Instart Support for assistance.
The staging environment is best suited for light test traffic to verify the changes of a configuration change. If you need to test your staging environment for heavier, production scale traffic, please contact Support.
Using the staging environment
The overall basic workflow to use the staging environment to make and test configuration changes is:
- Copy the current production configuration to the staging environment. (Please contact Support for this step.)
- Set up test devices with a DNS override to the IP address of the staging environment.
- Make your configuration changes in the staging environment.
- Use your test devices to verify the effect of your changes; rinse and repeat.
- When ready, promote your configuration changes to the production environment. (Please contact Support for this step.)
- If necessary, roll back the configuration to a previous state. (Please contact Support for this step.)
The staging environment is reachable from the individual Property overview screens, the Performance & Delivery Rules screens, and the Cache Purge screen. It is accessed from the Staging tab on these screens:
Note that when you select the Staging tab, the background color of the Config navigation panel header changes to green:
Copy the current production configuration to the staging environment
Currently this requires contacting Support to set up your staging environment.
At this point the two copies of the configuration are identical. While the staging environment is active, any changes you make to the configuration will only apply to the staging environment, unless you explicitly copy those changes to production.
Set up test devices with a DNS override to the IP address of the staging environment
To access the staging environment from browsers on the test devices you are using, you need to use a DNS override to observe the effect of your configuration changes – that is, any changes you make will affect only requests that you route through the staging environment by pointing your domain names appropriately. This is accomplished by editing the hosts file on any devices you are using for your testing.
Edit the hosts file on your browser test systems
- In the Property overview screen, get the CNAME for one of your domains in the staging environment. These are displayed next to each domain under the CNAME column.
- To get the IP address, open a command prompt/terminal window and type
dig <CNAME of staging domain>
- Find the hosts file on your system.
The hosts file is in C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc
The hosts file is in /etc
You need to have administrative credentials to edit it.
- Add one line per domain to the hosts file on each browser test system, using the IP address for the staging environment that you got from the output of the dig command above.
#----- <Customer name> -----# <IP address> www.acme.com <IP address> images.acme.com
Clear the browser cache and flush DNS on Windows/Mac and you are ready to test. This will confirm a fresh view based on the local DNS. This has no effect on the public DNS.
To confirm that we are serving the contents for you, you can view the HTTP response header (using the browser tools like Firebug, IE headers, Charles Proxy, or Fiddler) to confirm that objects are being routed through Instart. You should see something like the following in the header:
#----- <Customer name> -----# a001.example.inscname.net www.example.com a002.example.inscname.net images.example.com x-instart-cache-id: 5:6246235656887008991::1493892970 X-Instart-Request-ID:5343918169523053488:FWP01-NPPRY19:1422909593:21
|Note||The x-instart-cache-id is only present for cached resources; uncached resources will only have the X-Instart-Request-ID.|
When you have finished testing, remember to revert your changes in the test computer's hosts file!
Make your configuration changes in the staging environment
Once you have done set your test devices up with a DNS override, making changes in the staging environment is done just as you would in the production environment.
To configure performance and delivery:
- If you have the Performance & Delivery Rules builder (v2 configuration), see Configuring Performance and Delivery Rules in the Portal.
- If you do not have the Performance & Delivery Rules builder (v1 configuration), see Delivery and Performance Configuration – v1 Configuration Schema.
To add, edit or delete domains to the staging environment, see Configuring Properties and Domains in the Portal.
Network lists and security rules are not supported in the staging environment.
Use your test devices to verify the effect of changes
Use the browsers on the prepared test devices to view the effect of your changes. The DNS override described above tells the devices that requests for the usual domains of your site are routed to the staging environment. Without this, you would only see the production environment, where the changes you are testing do not yet exist.
Promote configuration changes to the production environment
Currently this requires contacting Support.
Viewing configuration change history
As in the production environment, you can view the changes that have been made to your staging configuration over time. You can track the version, date, a description, and who made each change. You can also view any individual configuration, and compare any two configurations with a diff display.
To view changes made to your staging configuration through the portal, click the Change History tab:
To download a copy of the change history, click Export Change History (CSV).
To view a previous version of the configuration file, check the Select box of the version you want to view and click View Configuration.
To compare the current configuration against a previous one, check the Select box of the item you want to compare and click Compare Configurations. Additions are highlighted in green, deletions are highlighted in red:
You can download the diff by clicking Export Diff.