Key Findings from the 2020 Database DevOps Survey

Each year Redgate Software runs a survey to learn more about how organizations practice DevOps, especially when it relates to the database. This year, over 2000 individuals responded, and they are from diverse industries and company sizes.

The key findings in the report are:

  • Frequent database deployments are increasing: 49% of respondents now report they deploy database changes to production weekly or more frequently.
  • Frequent deployers who use version control report lower production defect rates.
  • Respondents who report that it is easy to get a code review for database changes report lower production defect rates and lower lead time for change deployment.
  • Although 38% of responders report the use of Change Approval Boards, we see no evidence that Change Approval Boards lower code defect rates, only that they increase lead time for changes.
  • Respondents who reported that all or nearly all their database deployments take place with the system online also reported lower lead time for changes and lower defect rates.
  • 60% of Enterprise respondents believe the move from traditional database development to a fully automated process for deployment can be achieved in a year or less. 66% in non-Enterprises believe this can be accomplished.

As I read through the report, one thing stood out to me: organizations who deploy more frequently have lower defect rates. In fact, “37% of those who have adopted DevOps across all projects report that 1% or less of their deployments introduce code defects which require hotfixes, compared to 30% for all other groups.”

When there is a defect in software, it’s usually easy to rollback changes. Maybe services must be reconfigured, or files replaced. Deployment issues with databases are much more critical and difficult to resolve. Typically, you can’t just do a restore of production because of data loss, and the database will not be available during the restore.

Instead of massive changes every few weeks or months, small changes are deployed frequently with DevOps. Frequent database changes do sound intimidating, but because these are small changes, there is less of an impact on stability. And that reported decrease in defect rates from 30% to 1% is impressive!

Even if your company is not “all in” yet, there are things you can do. Make sure that you are using source control to keep track of database changes. Begin automating database deployments to dev and other non-production environments. Make an effort to communicate with other teams to break down those silos.

There’s a lot to learn from the report, and I hope you take a look and consider participating in next year’s survey.

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