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staging environment discussion

So as many of you have seen in the commits lists, the staging environment
is coming along and getting built.  I've hit a policy issue and so I
thought instead of just doing this in a black hole.  I'd discuss it.

The way I see it there are two ways to do staging environments.  For those
of you unfamiliar with staging the general idea is to have an environment
as close to production as feasible.

1) use identical configs with only minor changes and use /etc/hosts to
fake things to point where you need them.  Not always possible but
generally good where you can do it.

2) use different configs in production and staging.  The differences being
able to redirect things, using different usernames, passwords, hostnames,

Each has pros and cons.  Right now I'd like to do 1) but I don't think its
possible.  2) is going to require a lot of focus.  For example... we won't
be able to just git merge from staging to production as we could with 1).

Security's only an issue in that we don't want people making changes to
production data from staging and vise versa.  The same people will have
the same access to both of these environments without exception.

I'm going to continue to think about this.  I've had staging environments
in the past.  Both went with option 2).  But still.  I'd like to hold this
discussion so discuss.


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