This article was originally published in the Winter 2018 issue of The Record. Subscribe for FREE here to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox.
If you know even a little about software development, you’ll probably be familiar with the word ‘DevOps’. It’s about software developers collaborating and cooperating with operations people to release software updates faster and with fewer errors.
Typically, it means automating many of the processes in the software development cycle and releasing small changes, often, so that new features move from the fingertips of developers into the hands of users faster. Name a big technology company and they’re doing it – and that includes Microsoft too. Donovan Brown, principal DevOps manager at Microsoft, refers to DevOps as “the union of people, process, and products to enable continuous delivery of value to our end users”.
All of that may be familiar, but now a new player has stepped onto the DevOps stage: the database.
Every year, the DevOps Research Association (DORA) produces the Accelerate State of DevOps Report. The 2018 report shows that the highest performing organisations which adopt DevOps release changes 46 times more frequently, have a change failure rate that is seven times lower and are able to recover from breaking changes 2,604 times faster. That’s quite something and a reason why DevOps is becoming so popular.
There’s a new insight in the 2018 report, however. For the first time, it calls out database development as a key technical practice which can drive high performance in DevOps.
The team at DORA included database development in their research for the latest report because it’s seen by many as a blocker to the frequent releases which DevOps encourages. Changes to front-end applications often mean changes to the database have to be made as well, but the database, regarded as the poor relation in software development, is often left out of the DevOps process.
To address this, the report investigated which database-related practices can help improve software delivery performance and availability. It revealed that high performing teams manage database changes in the same way as changes to the application. It also showed that integrating database development into software delivery positively contributes to performance, and changes to the database no longer slow processes down or cause problems during deployments.
So if you work for a company or organisation where technology is a key driver for your business, find out if the database is being included in any DevOps initiatives. If it’s not, you’ll be missing out on an advantage that your competitors may already by exploiting.
Mary Robbins is DevOps Product Marketing Manager at Redgate Software
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