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Level 2

FlexNet Operation Cloud - UAT Data Refresh????

We consider Flexera's decision to not refresh the UAT environment a devaluation of the service.

Here is some background and history on the topic:

We've been a long time user of FlexNet Operations Cloud - going back about 10-years when it was originally "Subscribenet"

Initially, when we subscribed, Flexera performed a refresh of the UAT environment every other month with the Production data.
This made it very convenient to use the UAT environment for its purpose - testing, as well as training users.

Somewhere along the line - Flexera changed this UAT refresh to once a quarter (every three months)
A little less convenient, but manageable.

In August 2014 Flexera made a decision to no longer refresh the UAT environment.
We discovered this when we initiated some testing in Q4-2014.
Flexera did not have the courtesy to proactively inform us of this change.
Only after our inquiry did they publish this in the January 2015 release notes.

Their reason, per discussions,
- there are Flexera customers who have features in development an the refresh makes it difficult to manage, and the FNO architecture is not capable to handle individual customer refreshes (like SalesForce.com provides)
- Flexera does not have the resources to do the refreshes.

Flexera has not provided a sanctioned method to refresh the UAT environment.
They've suggested writing Reporter reports to move the data from Production to UAT (however this has drawbacks as passwords get reset and not all FNO data is supported in Converter file templates.

We consider this decision to not refresh UAT a devaluation of the service as it transfers the burden of UAT refresh onto our resources.
It was part of FNO when we originally subscribed to the service.

Anyone want to see Flexera provide these UAT data refreshes?
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3 Replies
Level 2

I might agree with not providing refreshes as done in the past, as it would surely clobber something about to go into production, but I believe that there should be some sort of mechanism to request a refresh. Right now my UAT region is in a state that may have reflected Prod at some point in the past, but now is not usable...
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I think the ability to request a refresh would add a huge benefit to the product, one that has definitely been missed.  I too have been a user since the Subscribenet days.  Removing the UAT refresh completely does not seem to have provided any added any benefit from the User perspective. If it can't be completed on a regular schedule it would be nice to receive it on an ad-hoc request basis.

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The original decision to stop was primarily due to a few factors.  The biggest one was around the various ways our customers ended up using the UAT environment, where the refresh ended up causing more harm than good for those.  Around 2015 we also brought up a new FNO platform ( you may have heard it referred to as ALM), so there definitely was a resource crunch to managing these environments which would ultimately make the periodic refresh difficult to achieve, so the decision was to stop the refreshes as least in the way that it was done.

We did introduce a separate service called PCS (Production Copy Service) a few years ago, which basically does a refresh of production data into another UAT environment, separate from the standard one you are provisioned with.  

That said we've explored other ways to go about this, such as a more on-demand nature in the future.  Also moving to a 3-tier structure (or more), rather than production/UAT pairing.  Many of our customers also want a development site for doing integration work on a production type environment.   At least for the immediate term we will continue with the prod/UAT standard 2 tier approach, with an additional service offered for a refresh into a second UAT.