21 December 2017
21 December 2017

Introducing database automation with the SQL Toolbelt

For many companies, particularly those in the financial sector, a key technology consideration is risk management because if systems go down, it can cost a lot of money very quickly.

Take ABSA Bank, a subsidiary of the Barclays Africa Group. Serving customers in South Africa and Namibia, it provides retail, business, corporate, and investment banking, as well as wealth management products and services. Thousands of high-value transactions from major customers pass through its payment processing systems every day, none of which can fail or be delayed.

A 40-strong development team supports the systems and, to enable them to work faster and more effectively, the bank wanted to introduce DevOps for both application and database development, and automate processes where possible.

The aim was to give the development team end-to-end responsibility for the solutions they were developing, so that they could improve accuracy, reduce the time between releases – and minimize risk.

Goodbye manual database deployments

One of the biggest issues for ABSA Bank was deploying database changes. While they already used Redgate tools like SQL Prompt to improve coding, and the industry standard database comparison tool, SQL Compare, deployments were holding them back.

The process was manual and involved the teams compiling deployment scripts, saving them to a directory, and then handing them over to operations for review at deployment time. This typically took each developer two or three hours a week, and occasionally caused problems with deployments.

To improve the process, the bank wanted to move towards database automation by introducing continuous integration and automated deployments to match the practices used in application development.

Hello automation

Redgate’s SQL Toolbelt was a natural choice because, as well as containing tools the team were already familiar with, it plugs into Team Foundation Server and Visual Studio Team Services, which were in use for the applications.

The bank rolled out the SQL Toolbelt over a period of three weeks and saw an immediate advantage in that its introduction standardized the tooling in use across development and operations as well as application and database development.

Database changes are now checked into version control alongside those for application code. This triggers a continuous integration process which builds the changes to test everything is working as it should. If not, the build fails and the team receive feedback about what went wrong. This catches any errors early on in the process and stops them reaching the production environment.

Once tests pass successfully, a NuGet package is created and is automatically promoted across environments all the way to production, saving everyone hours and hours of time. Perhaps as importantly, it has also reduced deployment errors and given the development team – and ABSA Bank – confidence that their systems are safe when changes are introduced.

If you’d like to find out more about how ABSA Bank introduced database DevOps, read the case study.

If you’d like to discover how the SQL Toolbelt works, download a fully-functional, 14-day trial version.





Tools in this post

SQL Toolbelt

The industry-standard tools for SQL Server development and deployment.

Find out more

Share this post.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInTweet about this on Twitter

You may also like

  • Article

    Insert Statement Without Column List (BP004)

    Many production databases have failed embarrassingly as a result of INSERT code that omits a column list, usually in mysterious ways and often without generating errors. Phil Factor demonstrates the problem, and advocates a 'defense-in-depth' approach to writing SQL, in order to avoid it.

  • Article

    Database Delivery with Docker and SQL Change Automation

    Phil Factor demonstrates the basics of how to automate database builds into a Linux SQL Server container running on Windows, and then backup the containerized database and restore it into dedicated containerized development copies for each developer and tester.

  • Webinar

    How to extend DevOps practices to the database

    Including the database in DevOps initiatives greatly improves performance. In this webinar Arneh Eskandari will walk you through Redgate’s Database DevOps solution, showing reliable, scalable and repeatable processes for automating your database development and deployment

  • Article

    On Quickly Investigating a SQL Monitor Custom Security Alert

    Phil Factor offers a clever way to report on a SQL Server intrusion, with a query that shows a full narrative description of all the security-related changes that have been detected by a set of SQL Monitor custom metrics.

  • University

    Take the SQL Toolbelt course

    SQL Toolbelt includes all of the components that enable Database DevOps. This step-by-step guide takes you through the process right from being able to analyze the impact of database changes through to making those changes, source controlling them, deploying them out to your target environments, and finally monitoring and documenting those environments.

    Here you will see an overview of each tool and how it can benefit your organization, but be sure to check in the module description whether there is a full course available for the tool you are learning.

  • Forums

    SQL Toolbelt Forum

    SQL Compare, SQL Monitor, SQL Prompt, SQL Source Control, and other products from our SQL Server range.