Welcome!

Linux Authors: Pete Pickerill, AppDynamics Blog, Carmen Gonzalez, Trevor Parsons, Sematext Blog

Related Topics: DevOps Journal, Java, SOA & WOA, Linux, Cloud Expo, Big Data Journal

DevOps Journal: Article

The DevOps Database | Part 3

Applying Feedback Loops to Database Change Management

In the third post in this series, I’d like to talk about the Second Way of DevOps: Amplifying Feedback Loops.  Here’s a refresher on The Second Way from my introductory post in this series:

The Second Way: Amplify Feedback Loops – This Way deals primarily with facilitating easier and faster communication between all individuals in a DevOps organization.  The goals of this step are to foster better understanding of all internal and external customers in the process and to develop an accessible body of knowledge to replace the dependence on expertise scattered across individuals.

I’ve stated before in this series that Database Change Management poses a unique challenge when your organization is shifting to an agile development methodology and implementing DevOps patterns.  Unlike other areas of your application stack, responsibility for managing application schema straddles two groups operating under somewhat opposed expectations. The development group is on the hook for producing more and more business critical features and releases at an ever increasing rate.  DBAs are tasked with providing a secure, highly available data platform and protecting the integrity of the organization’s priceless data.  The rate of schema change required by development to satisfy expectations can run head long into a database change process that is deliberate and metered by necessity to avoid downtime and data loss.  In organizations where these two groups are isolated from each other, you have the makings of a bottle neck in your release process.

The solution to this problem is embodied by The Second Way of DevOps. Communicate early, communicate often, communicate broadly, and prepare for what’s ahead. The tricky part is implementing the solution in a way that’s meaningful to every stakeholder in an organization’s application group.  At Datical, we’ve spent just as much time on how we organize and present the data associated with application schema changes as we have on automating the deployment of these changes.  We’ve rallied around the following key concepts to bring the The Second Way of DevOps to Database Change Management.

Proactive, Predictive Change Analysis
In an organization where development works independently of the database group, truly understanding the impact a stack of SQL scripts will have on downstream environments is a tedious and time consuming task.  Before these changes can be promoted, target environments must be meticulously evaluated for conflicts and dependencies that will impact the deployment process.  This often involves manual reviews and comparisons of diagrams and database dumps of complex environments. Achieving a high degree of confidence in the success of the proposed updates is difficult because it is so easy to overlook something.  Datical has developed a patent pending simulation feature called Forecast that automates this process.  The Forecast feature builds an in memory model of the target environment, simulates proposed changes on top of that model, and warns of potential error conditions, data loss and performance issues without touching the target database.  Because there is no impact to target environments, database administrators can Forecast changes several times during the development cycle to get ahead of issues that would normally be discovered much later in a pre-release review.  Development gets regular feedback on the changes they are proposing and can address issues that arise during the initial development phase when it is easier and safer to resolve them.   The two teams are working in unison to ensure a safe database deployment that works the first time without surprises.

Always Remember Where You Came From
Database changes are usually designed to address the immediate goals of an organization.  Once one set of requirements has been satisfied by a release, the motivations for the design decisions made for that release generally fades away as new requirements come along and new business initiatives take center stage.  Comments in SQL scripts and on the database objects themselves can be helpful in determining why things are the way they are, but these traces of the past are scattered everywhere. Making sense of the whole is an exercise in archaeology.   This was one of the driving forces behind our model based approach to database change management.  Our model is architected to provide a living history of your application schema.  Individual changes are tied to the specific requirement and release that necessitated them.  This data lives in the model so the information you need to make intelligent design decisions is right in front of you when you need it.

Know Where You Are
By tying the business reasons behind each schema change in the model, this information can be tracked in each database instance as it’s updated and included in Forecast, Deploy, and historical reports.  Tracking the changes in each instance and providing detailed reports allows you to easily disseminate information, effectively gate deployment steps, and quickly satisfy audit requirements. When everyone in your organization has access to thorough accounts of the Who, What, Where, When, and Why of any single database change in any environment, everyone is operating on the same level and can more effectively work towards a common goal.

Know Where You’re Headed
The model also facilitates concurrent development on multiple releases of a project.  By tracking changes made for several different releases in a single model, the development teams working on these releases are able to collaborate and stay ahead of changes made by other teams that may impact future releases.  Developers are able to unify redundant changes and eliminate conflicting changes as they implement instead of spending time on redesign later in the process when time is scarce and the cost of change is high.

More Stories By Pete Pickerill

Pete Pickerill is Vice President of Products and Co-founder of Datical. Pete is a software industry veteran who has built his career in Austin’s technology sector. Prior to co-founding Datical, he was employee number one at Phurnace Software and helped lead the company to a high profile acquisition by BMC Software, Inc. Pete has spent the majority of his career in successful startups and the companies that acquired them including Loop One (acquired by NeoPost Solutions), WholeSecurity (acquired by Symantec, Inc.) and Phurnace Software.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
The BPM world is going through some evolution or changes where traditional business process management solutions really have nowhere to go in terms of development of the road map. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Kyle Hansen, Director of Professional Services at AgilePoint, shows AgilePoint’s unique approach to dealing with this market circumstance by developing a rapid application composition or development framework.
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, at more than US$500 billion, and ranks 23rd in the world. A recent re-evaluation of Nigeria's true economic size doubled the previous estimate, and brought it well ahead of South Africa, which is a member (unlike Nigeria) of the G20 club for political as well as economic reasons. Nigeria's economy can be said to be quite diverse from one point of view, but heavily dependent on oil and gas at the same time. Oil and natural gas account for about 15% of Nigera's overall economy, but traditionally represent more than 90% of the country's exports and as...
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
"At our booth we are showing how to provide trust in the Internet of Things. Trust is where everything starts to become secure and trustworthy. Now with the scaling of the Internet of Things it becomes an interesting question – I've heard numbers from 200 billion devices next year up to a trillion in the next 10 to 15 years," explained Johannes Lintzen, Vice President of Sales at Utimaco, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...