DevOps is becoming a key element of business transformation for enterprises, as the speed of their development and release processes are critical to business success. But committing to embarking on a DevOps journey is just the first step. While some companies have been able to successfully embrace the culture change which underlies DevOps, others have experienced growing pains – especially when it comes to handling database tensions.
Applying DevOps principles to applications is becoming well understood, however there is a certain conceptual difference when applying these continuous pipeline principles to the database. Data stored in the database is not necessarily simple to restore or recover if any errors occur within the database. Database changes can also be difficult to test.
Other challenges which are generally faced when trying to incorporate database changes into your continuous delivery/deployment pipelines:
- Synchronising both database and application changes so that the database changes are integrated into the value stream and objectively deliver value to customers
- Building processes which align the potentially different cultures and mindsets of database developers vs application developers
- Ensuring the safety and accessibility of critical business data
Considering these challenges, it is logical for many enterprises to resist applying continuous delivery principles to the database. On the surface, manual review and execution of database changes may seem like the safer route to take.
However, the manual approach is usually very time-consuming. It will cause bottlenecks in your delivery pipelines and potentially hold back the benefits which can be seen in other aspects of your continuous processes. Customers and users are now expecting delivery of new functionality and features as soon as possible, and won’t give you any leeway for having slow database changes!
How to Apply Continuous Principles to the Database Safely
When embarking on a process to deliver database change continuously, the following criteria should be used to ensure that the resulting process reduces risk of manual errors and enables full automation. We recommend a specialised continuous delivery database tool, as it is extremely hard to achieve these with custom-built tools.
- Enforced source control: A source control management tool which is used from development right through to deployment ensures risk-free multi-stream change
- Release automation tools: Aligning database changes to application changes reduces deployment costs and allows consistent traceability between business value and database releases.
- Change verification process: Consistent verification of all database changes along with an application release will result in confidence that every single database change has been tested throughout the entire delivery lifecycle, will prevent unauthorized database changes and also produce a complete audit trail.
By following the above recommendations, it is possible to integrate database changes into your DevOps chain and practice continuous database delivery. The result is a joined-up continuous delivery process enabling controlled and secure database change integrated with your application delivery pipelines.
We’re happy to help guide you through tackling your database tensions – every step of your DevOps journey. Contact us to have a conversation with one of our experts today!