Database Automation for DBAs and DevOps

DevOps is changing the culture of IT. This movement is bringing application development and operations teams to the same table. Together, they are working to overcome all of the challenges facing the entire application delivery process.

However, while speed to market is important, businesses can’t forget about the internal implications of accelerated release cycles. With that in mind, there is one empty seat within the “DevOps Inner Circle:” the database administrator (DBA).

DBAs hold the keys to the database and the data within it, a business’s most important asset. But DB change innovation has not kept pace with agile development methodologies and database DevOps tooling that enable continuous delivery of software updates and changes. Many enterprises are still updating databases the same way they always have:

  • Manual script review
  • Manual validation
  • Manual execution
  • Individual specialized initiatives

As a result, application release cycles always slow down at the database release process and businesses struggle to keep up with customer demand. Because of this, it’s time databases and DBAs become part of DevOps and start leveraging database continuous delivery to meet demands and deliver more features. Including DBAs and database automation in DevOps can create better, more efficient teams and save time and money. DBAs can even help companies create better solutions for their customers’ needs or their own. And, by augmenting processes with database automation, DBAs and development teams can work better (and faster) than ever before.

Bring DBAs into DevOps

Before database automation, DBs delivered by developers needed to be review and validate to ensure compliance to technical, business and regulatory standards. Now, DBAs cannot stand against the deluge of change requests necessitated by accelerated application release cycles. Inviting DBAs into the DevOps Inner Circle allows teams to consider the implications of new application changes and updates across the entire technology stack.

One of the founding principles behind DevOps is the breakdown of silos between development and operations teams. Product managers can easily translate customer needs. They can then give that feedback to developers in a way they understand—using epics and themes, for example. This puts everyone on the same page so that application updates or changes can be quickly coded, tested and delivered.

But before application updates can be released to users, they have to be translated into the changes that will update the database. This is where the DevOps breakdown occurs. DBAs often have to rely on manually intensive, timeworn, error-prone processes and methods to make sure the right changes are made to the database.

By inviting DBAs into DevOps, DB updates that could “break the build” (think inserting a new column with a default value when the row count exceeds a million) can be found and fixed before the change reaches the database.

Having DBAs involved in release cycles sooner can also help ensure developers are coding with corporate compliance in mind. This makes changes to the database smoother while adhering to guidelines that DBAs have typically policed.

Breaking down silos and making teams more aware of catch-points in the release process lets them expect and avoid database issues. This means faster releases and fewer headaches for everyone.

Database Automation and DevOps

Faster release cycles are good for business, and not just because they get applications in front of end users sooner. Continuous delivery cycles are designed to cut down application development cost and man-hours. But, while development timelines get shorter, the workload and time for database deployments get longer.

Enterprises can have many database configurations, so each change needs to be checked for compatibility. As the complexity of data repositories grows, so too does the time it takes to review and approve changes. In a recent IOUG survey on database manageability, 41 percent of respondents said changes took a week or more to approve. With multiple change requests coming to DBAs each day, it’s clear that sheer manpower can’t keep up with continuous delivery forever. Relief for DBAs is nonexistent without database automation.

Database automation software can protect against any unwanted outcomes. DB automation can help forecast the impact application changes will have on the database. With this information, DBAs can use those forecast reports to quickly discover issues instead of taking days to find them.

As part of a DevOps team, the DBA equipped with reasons for database automation can do more than save time and headaches for themselves. Protecting against errors that could break the build saves teams from spending time to find and fix the source of a breakdown, and also saves a business from losing revenue while the fix is made. Plus, automating tasks for DBAs in the DevOps inner circle gives them more time and space for innovation.

To learn more about the DBA and their role in DevOps check out our white paper: The DBAs Role In DevOps.

Seeing is believing.