If you are talking about software versions, do not forget about the Windows patch level, the AV control file level, etc, etc ad almost infinitum. Then we get into hardware versions - it is actually possible to obtain a working 10-year old server that has the same hardware build as the environment we are supposed to reproduce.
My understanding is that the law does not mandate us to record the exact details of the software used on our servers on any given day. Legal process may ask us to show to the best of our ability how a particular piece of software worked at a given point in time, but it does not ask us to do the impossible.
If a reconstruction of a crime, etc, is done, effort is made to use clothing, actors, etc that match as closely as known to the actual event. But very seldom does the legal process care if the the weather is a bit warmer,colder, cloudier, etc than the actual event. The same precedents have to apply in computing.
A legal adversary may try to get penalties applied if the requested environment cannot be reproduced en every detail. It is the job of your own lawers to show that reasonable care has been taken in reproducing the environment, and it is as close to the original environment as it is reasonable to be. If the opponent is not asking for every detail (including the hardware) they seriously weaken their case that you are negligent in what you have been able to do. Any judge worth their office will accept that people cannot do the impossible. If you have complied with standard practice in your industry then you have a strong defense.
You just need to convince your own lawers about all of this...
Original author: SQL Server FineBuild 1-click install and best practice configuration of SQL Server 2017 2016, 2014, 2012, 2008 R2, 2008 and 2005. 14 Mar 2017
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