The challenge of preparing and obtaining test data to be used in test and development environments

Preparing or obtaining test data to be used in development work or for testing purposes in a test or development environment clearly is a challenge especially within the several private and public sector organisations who still use legacy mainframe based applications for all manner of transactions, marketing sales, after sales, customer/client relationship management and processing the various services provided to the public etc.

Mainframe operating systems mainly developed by IBM include the following; z/OS, z/VM, z/VSE, and z/TPF and host mainframe based applications which use Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS) to store data such as Oracle (which uses Oracle Tuxedo to integrate with mainframe based applications) and DB2 which can run on all the mainframe platforms above, on Linux/Unix and on Wintel Platforms.

There is clearly a challenge in obtaining test data which can become quite a costly exercise. The standard method that seems to be widely used, is to obtain or prepare such test data from production backed up records or sources.  The full production data set is restored into a target test environment database, which is unnecessary and a very costly exercise, as only a small data set may be required for functional testing and development work.


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