Most IT Professionals agree that having a lab for proper testing and staging is crucial to a stable, successful Citrix environment. However, some may argue that labs are complicated, costly and seemingly unjustified. Although these may seem like valid points, the risk of having your production environment come crashing down due to an untested patch or software upgrade proves that it’s well worth the time and cost of setting up a lab.

A lab is a great tool to have at your disposal. You can use it to test a new software release or security patch or possibly a new printer driver that a client is requesting. Perhaps you just want an environment where you can learn more about the inner workings of Citrix, Web Interface or Secure Gateway. If you’ll be faced with upgrading your production environment to MetaFrame Presentation Server 3.0, it’s best to do a “dry run” in a lab before victimizing your production environment and possibly causing serious downtime.

Many times, people don’t build labs because there is no spare hardware, no space available, or simply no time to commit to assembling a lab. However, with the advent of server virtualization, building a lab can be accomplished with significantly less hardware and in a much shorter amount of time.

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