Server Environments

11 min readFeb 6, 2023
Adapted from photo by wocintechCC BY 2.0

When maintaining large software systems, you will likely have multiple environments with names like Prod, Staging, Dev, Eval, UAT, Daily, Nightly, or some remix of these names. To distinguish this type of environment from the dozen other things in software development that we give that same name, these are often formally referred to as Deployment Environments.

One question I’ve never been asked directly is: “What is an Environment?” This is surprising; because not understanding what Deployment Environments actually are is one of the most common pitfalls I see in my day-to-day work.

What is a Deployment Environment

A Deployment Environment is a consistently connected set of

  1. processes
  2. datastores, and
  3. any ecosystem around them (e.g., cron jobs, analytics, etc.)

making up a fully functioning software system.

This definition is quite intuitive, but the devil is in the details. In this case, that detail is the phrase “consistently connected”.

A Note

  1. In most architectures, processes are also known as services. In this context, any server-side program interacting with the rest of your system (e.g., an API endpoint, a Service that makes or receives RPCs, a…




Software Engineer living in Brooklyn, NY. MIT Computer Science S.B. ’13, M.Eng. ‘14. From Amman, Jordan. Interested in politics, current affairs, and technology