During the last technical workshops done for Microsoft in Finland and Norway, I’ve discovered that many partners are doing (together with the customer) a lot of load testing and performance testing for their solutions and for the standard application in the online sandbox environment.
Testing applications in the sandbox environment before moving them to the production environment is a good thing and in my opinion is something that should always be done: as a partner, you install your apps in an online sandbox, your customer validates the customizations and the features and then, when approved, you move your app to the production environment.
But what about load testing or performance testing? This is not a common practice (not many partners do that so chapeau if you’re doing these activities) but if you’re doing these testing activities for your apps in the online sandbox environment, please remember that results are not true.
On the Saas architecture, a sandbox environment is different from a production environment. A sandbox environment runs on a service tier different than the production environment (so different hardware, different resources, different database type, different disk type and so on), they only shares the sign-in process and nothing more. Sandbox are designed for development, debugging and testing purposes but not for comparing performances with a production environment.
If you need to do performance and load testing of your applications before moving them to the real production environment and you want 100% accurate results (real simulation with production), I think that you should create a new production environment for this scope with the same application version and localization of the main production environment:
then start your testing on this newly created environment.
When you’re satisfied and you’ve tuned up your solution, you can then move it to the main production environment. Don’t stress the sandbox please
P.S. Remember that until today you can create 3 production environments and 3 sandbox environments, 80GB maximum each (if you need more, ask Microsoft with a support ticket).