Environment strategy for ALM
To follow application lifecycle management (ALM) principles, you'll need separate environments for app development and production. Although you can perform basic ALM with only separate development and production environments, we recommend that you also maintain at least one test environment that's separate from your development and production environments. When you have a separate test environment, you can perform end-to-end validation that includes solution deployment and application testing. Some organizations might also need more environments for user acceptance testing (UAT), systems integration testing (SIT), and training.
Separate development environments can be helpful to help isolate changes from one work effort being checked in before it's completed. Separate development environments can also be helpful to reduce situations when one person negatively affects another while making changes.
Every organization is unique, so carefully consider what your organization's environment needs are.
You should answer questions such as:
- How many development environments do I need?
- More information: Environments overview
- How can I automatically provision environments from source code?
- More information: Microsoft Power Platform Build Tools for Azure DevOps
- What are the dependencies on my environments?
- More information: Multiple solution layering and dependencies
You should also answer the question, "Which types of non-development environments do I need?"
For example, in addition to your production environment, you might need separate test, UAT, SIT, and pre-production environments. Notice that, at a minimum, any healthy ALM practice should include using a test environment prior to deploying anything to the production environment. This ensures that you have a place to test your app, but also ensures that the deployment itself can be tested.
More information: Establishing an environment strategy for Microsoft Power Platform
Power Platform environments follow a specific service update schedule as environments are updated across the world. There are six stations in total that are primarily defined by geographical location. Service updates are applied in sequence for each station. So, station 2 service updates are applied before station 3. Therefore, it’s common for environments that are in different stations to have different versions at a certain point in time. For more information about the environment service update schedule, go to Released versions of Microsoft Dataverse
Solution import and environment version
When you have multiple environments in different regions, it’s important to understand the following when you import a solution:
- You can import a solution into an environment that is a newer version than the environment where the solution was exported.
- You can’t reliably import a solution into an environment that’s an older version than the environment where the solution was exported. This is because there might be missing components or required functionality in the older environment.
Example of successfully aligning environments with service update stations
Imagine that you have production environments in Canada and the United States. In that case, your development environments should be in North America (station 5) and not in Canada (station 2). Then, your development environments will always be the same or an earlier version than your production environments, which will curtail solution import version conflicts.