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We have used SP 2010 Foundation edition for a year, so I am quite new to SharePoint.

Mainly it is used for transferring registries from Excel's to SharePoint lists in order to add workflows, and other out-of-box SharePoint Foundation functionality.

Now we see, that in order to move with document management, we would need SharePoint Server version - to use document sets, managed metadata, out of box approval workflow etc. So I am responsible for business case preparation.

As I've been working with IT for more then 10 years, I strongly suggest to buy one more SharePoint server license for creating a test environment. I guess everybody understands why test environments are needed in general - reduce many different risks from contingency to security.

But what would be main reasons to have it for SharePoint? For example, why wouldn't it be possible to create just another Site Collection on the same server and test stuff there?

Also what about Managed Meatadata - is it possible to have "production" and "test" metadata on the single SP Farm?

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If you only need to test OOB functionalities that do not involve deploying custom solutions/features, then it may be viable to stick to just one SharePoint server installation and create a logical test environment by creating a new Web Application with a dedicated site collection and separated content db. This is obviously against the puristic test-stage-prod environment separation approach, but it's a cost-effective solution that your boss may like. Some of my customers are effectively using this approach and so far they are happy with it.

About Managed Metadata, you can have two different metadata term stores, one per site collection. A term store is stored within a Managed Metadata service and each metadata service is mapped to a web application with a dedicated database that stores the term store.

  • Thank you MdMazzotti for your deep and informative answer, I'm just wondering can it be said in simply words - that if we are start writing "code" then test environment is needed, if we are using only OOB features + SP Designer then it is enough to have one environment? I know that there is no yes/no answer, but my goal is to gather as many considerations as possible. Our next projects would be - Project Management Office and simple document management system. – Alvis Jan 13 '14 at 12:30
  • @Alvis well, mine is just a rule of thumb, but I would say yes, the reason being that with a coded solution/feature, you could easily create a disruption on the farm which would impact your production site collection. Let me stress again that the advice I gave in my answer is driven by pragmatism and not by best-practices – MdMazzotti Jan 13 '14 at 12:38

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