DevOps for the database – the inside story

state-of-database-devops-surveyLots of people talk about DevOps lots of the time. No surprise there. It’s seen as the route to speed up the software delivery cycle, while at the same time improving the efficiency and quality of the development process.

But how many companies out there are actually doing DevOps? What are the obstacles to adopting it? And where does the database fit into the picture?

To find the answers to questions like these, Redgate conducted a DevOps for the database survey amongst SQL Server professionals. Over 1,000 people participated from companies across the globe, more than half of which had more than 500 employees. They spanned a range of industries from financial services to healthcare, and the respondents included database administrators, IT directors and developers.

The results provide a detailed snapshot of the current state of DevOps, and offer an enlightening glimpse into the challenges DevOps for the database presents.

The full report is being prepared, but it’s worth highlighting the answers to those three key questions that were asked earlier.

How many companies are doing DevOps?

47% of respondents to the survey have adopted DevOps practices across some or all of their IT projects, demonstrating that DevOps is becoming more mainstream. Interestingly, only a fifth have no plans to start applying DevOps practices across their software delivery process in the next two years so, in a very short time, the majority of companies will have made the shift.

What are the obstacles?

Yes, DevOps is being taken up, and at a rapid pace, but the move is throwing up its own problems. A key obstacle to implementing DevOps, for example, is a shortage of appropriate skills. Despite lots of articles, opinion pieces and talk about DevOps, real knowledge on the ground is in short supply.

Quite simply, there aren’t enough people in teams with the experience of introducing, implementing and practicing DevOps, highlighting a need for more training.

Alongside this, there is a lack of alignment between development and operations teams to overcome. In most organizations, the two teams have always been separate so it is not surprising they have developed completely different ways of working.  Agreeing on common processes and practices will be needed before they can move forward with DevOps.

What about the database?

Integrating database changes into the DevOps process is also seen to be a challenge. One of the major hurdles is synchronizing application and database changes, while another is overcoming the different approaches that application and database developers take. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the third biggest concern is preserving and protecting business-critical data.

That’s not the end of the story

As can be seen, DevOps is moving rapidly into the mainstream and the majority of companies are looking into how they can align teams and processes.

The complete survey went into a lot more detail about how frequently database changes are deployed, the drawbacks of traditional siloed database development practices, and the main drivers for automating the delivery of database changes as part of a wider DevOps process. As such, it will offer companies and organizations who want to adopt DevOps for the database a unique insight into the common challenges – and opportunities – ahead.

The State of Database DevOps survey will be published in the New Year, at which time I’ll take a deeper look into it and discuss what it means in practical terms for those who want to stop talking about DevOps for the database and actually start doing it.

In the meantime, why not find out more about the benefits of extending DevOps practices to SQL Server databases?