DevOps Brings Pressure to Bear on Database Management

The rise of DevOps is starting to have a significant impact on the rate at which databases now need to be deployed and updated. A global survey of more than 2,000 developers, database specialists and IT leaders conducted by Redgate Software, a provider of tools for automating the management of databases, finds nearly half (49%) are now deploying database changes in production at least once a week or more.

Kendra Little, DevOps advocate for Redgate Software, said most of the changes are being driven by the adoption of best DevOps practices that are now having a cascading impact on other functions in the IT environment.

However, the survey shows the adoption of DevOps remains uneven. Only 18% of respondents said they have adopted DevOps across all projects, while 36% said they have adopted DevOps across some projects. Another 14% said they are at the proof-of-concept stage. Only 13% said their organizations have no plans to adopt DevOps at all. Survey respondents in the financial services and insurance industry sectors have the highest levels of adoption, with more than 77% of respondents saying their organizations are either in proof of concepts (16%), have adopted across some projects (41%) or have adopted across all projects (20%).

Progress appears to be rapid among those that have adopted DevOps. Well over a third (37%) report that only 1% or less of their deployments introduce code defects that require hotfixes. That compares to 30% for all other groups.

The survey also revealed that more than half of respondents (55%) perform most or all of their business-critical database deployments while their systems are still online, with 75% of that group reporting that 10% or less of those deployments caused defects that require hotfixes. Nearly half (46%) are also employing some of automation to deploy databases, according to the survey.

Nevertheless, the survey makes it clear challenges remain. Disruptions to existing workflows and business was cited as the top barrier to adoption (23%), followed by lack of skills (22%) and lack of alignment between developers and operations (16%).

Little said the survey makes it apparent that database management needs to become more aligned with the software development life cycle (SDLC) with organizations transitioning to DevOps. Over a quarter of respondents (26%) said it is still somewhat or very difficult to get code reviews for database changes. A further 16% said that no code reviews are done for database changes early in the development cycle.

Less clear is who precisely is managing the database. Developers in the Age of DevOps are exercising more influence over what databases are employed. However, Little noted that 43% of organizations still have a database administrator managing their databases. That compares to 34% that rely on developers and 21% that have a combination of both. Over time, Little said most organizations will continue to shift toward a combination of both. That, of course, will require a significant amount of cultural change within most IT organizations, where all too often developers have tended to view DBAs as a bottleneck to be eliminated whenever and wherever possible.

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