User Acceptance Testing (UAT)

Thursday, June 05, 2008 1:38 PM by nairdo

UAT for ArenaIf you're not familiar with a UAT environment, it's the place where your users can perform either formal testing or just simply kick the tires of the latest version of your system/application (depending on how formal your "testing" really is).  Most corporate environments have a UAT environment for their mission critical systems.

At our church our mission critical system is Arena.  Although it's not ideal that me, our staff, or any Arena customer are the ones to find a bug with the latest version of Arena, it is nice to have a chance of finding one before it goes live.  A UAT environment is also a great way to provide advanced training to your Power Users on features that will be in the upcoming release (like the training Austin Spooner does with his teams after their monthly staff meetings).

Now that we've virtualized our servers, creating a UAT system has become a bit easier and I finally created a more formal Arena UAT environment which even includes a recent copy of the underlying database.  I think I've come up with some faily simple steps that anyone can follow to create their own.

These steps basically create a replica of your production environment and then upgrade it to the latest version of Arena.

  1. Create a new virtual server.  We called ours UAT01.
  2. Install SQL Server 2005 with Reporting Services.
  3. Add a alias (CNAME) record to your DNS that points your test arena site (ArenaTest) to your UAT server (UAT01).
  4. Copy your Arena web folder from your production server to your new UAT server (ex. copy '\\ARENA\C$\Program Files\Arena ChMS\Arena' '\\UAT01\C$\Program Files\Arena ChMS\Arena').  You can do the same with your ArenaCheckIn web folder.
    1. Edit the copied web.config replacing your normal database server name with your UAT server (UAT01).
  5. In IIS on your production Arena server, save your configuration to a file.
    IIS - Save Configuration to a File...
  6. In IIS on your UAT server, create a new site or virtual directory from a file (that was created in previous step).
    1. You may need to verify that the web app is set to ASP.NET 2.0
  7. Backup your production ArenaDB from your SQL server and restore it to your UAT server.
    1. Before restoring your ArenaDB backup, you might also run Arena's SQLInstaller.exe which will can create a new, empty database.  I did it this way for a particular reason but I don't think you should need to do this.
    2. Depending on your situation, you may have an orphaned Arena login which you can fix in SQL Manager using:

      USE ArenaDB


      sp_change_users_login 'auto_fix', 'Arena'

    3. Verify that the database's Arena login is dbo for the new ArenaDB.
  8. At this point, in theory, you've made a copy of your production Arena environment.
    1. You might test by visting your UAT url (http://ArenaTest or http://ArenaTest/arena
    2. Disable your Arena->Shelby triggers in SQL Manager using: 

      USE ArenaDB;


      EXEC sp_MSforeachtable @command1="ALTER TABLE ? DISABLE TRIGGER ALL"


    3. Edit your Arena Organizations settings (under Administration) changing the value of your "CheckInUrl" and "ReportServerURL" settings to the new appropriate value.
    4. You might also want to take a "snapshot" of your virtual server so you can perform the next steps (the upgrade) over if necessary.
  9. Upgrade your Arena UAT to the latest version...
    1. Download and execute the latest version of ArenaSetup.exe
    2. Follow the steps in the wizard as necessary
    3. After the install disable the Arena Automation Agent and set it to manual startup (in Windows Services) or do whatever you want with it... just be careful what jobs you run since they could potentially be emailing people when you really don't want to.
  10. Almost done... replace your Arena header images with this new set here to avoid user confusion.
  11. Test your site and then let your power users know about it.


  1. This End Up Says:

    Even before the full release of our newly rebuilt website , it seemed like we were constantly deploying

  2. This End Up Says:

    Today marks the launch of our 5th Arena ChMS powered website. This time around it was more of a cosmetic

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