Network environments have become so complex that companies such as systems integrators, equipment manufacturers and enterprise organizations feel compelled to test their configurations and equipment in lab environments before deployment. Performance test labs are used extensively for quality, proof of concept, customer support, and technical sales initiatives. Labs are the perfect place to see how well something performs before it’s put into a production environment.
The primary challenge of running a test lab is the amount of time it takes to provision the test environments. A network lab infrastructure might include switches, routers, servers, virtual machines running on various server clusters, security services, cloud resources, software and so on. It takes considerable time to wire the configurations, physically build the desired test beds, login to each individual device and load the proper software configurations. Quite often, lab staffers spend more time on setup than they do on conducting actual tests.
Thanks to Linda Musthaler (see source)