If you are like me, you don't have a lab that has a setup anywhere near what you would need to really mock your production environment. What this means is that you can and most always will run into issues that blindside you because you do not have the correct setup for testing.
These are scenarios that we all hope to avoid so we do our best to test thoroughly ahead of time.
As we know, it is impossible to test for every scenario in every environment -- that's what they made service packs, fixes, and updates for.
So, when you are setting up your SMS environment, you want to test the server to see if it can handle the network load, object throughput, memory utilization, etc. that it will be going through in the real world of your production environment.
I am going to discuss a few tools that you can use to test, monitor, and troubleshoot your lab environment.
The first tool that I use is the good old Performance Monitor that comes with the OS. I know a lot of people do not like using this because if you turn on tracing (logging), you can get huge files that are tough to ship and tougher to crack and read through. But, all of the information that you need is right there....it might be worth the hassle.
Being able to track memory and thread usage, CPU utilization, all of these things that are taken for granted can prove invaluable in tracking down and festering out issues.
The second tool is the Object Generator. The is in the Resource Kit (I think) and is detailed in the Resource Guide. Basically, it will create a load of objects and throw them at your server to see what will happen....Will it blow up? This is a great tool to test throughput and to see when you might get a bottleneck in your information processing.
Another useful tool is smsobgn.exe, which is detailed on page 414 of the Resource Guide. The last of these tools is uiload.exe, which simulates the load of multiple Administrator consoles on your server. While it does not seem like this would create a draw on your server resources, it does. This utility is described on page 413 of the Resource Guide.
If you have any other tools that you prefer, drop me a line and let me know about them.