Getting what you want - means understanding the budget process
By Paul Murphy, author of The Unix Guide to Defenestration
If your working environment is anything like mine, here's never quite enough gear to do all the things you want to do and the test machine, if there is one, isn't yours alone. So what do you do? even if your boss is sympathetic and understands that what you learn playing in the sandbox will help the business run better, he's probably facing budget constraints that mean he can't authorize a machine just for you to experiment on.
Mnay of those constraints reflect the accumulated wisdom of accountants blindly applying lessons learnt in other areas to systems. You can't tell them that, of course, but you can take advantage of it by recognizing that application of the same ideas will probably have left the data center with a lot more flexibility in areas such as support and services expenses.
In many cases, therefore, what you want to ask for isn't a test environment matching your production 6800 or whatever you've got, because that's a capital expenditure. Ask, instead, for some spare parts to support your continuity plan and treat the fact that these come packaged in a 450 with an external array as a way of proving they work.