Key insights from the 2021 State of Database DevOps survey

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This is the fifth year that Redgate has surveyed IT professionals about their organization’s DevOps practices. Each year, the number of respondents increases, reaching 3,200 submissions this year. An interesting new topic to consider this year is how the Covid-19 pandemic affected DevOps practices.

Here are the some of the key insights found in the report:

Among software delivery performance clusters, Elite and High performing groups are more likely to have implemented DevOps and database DevOps practices.  

The performance metrics used to classify performance clusters were defined in the 2019 Accelerate State of DevOps Report. The Elite group had the highest rate of DevOps adoption at 43%, correlating high performing organizations with DevOps. On the other hand, the Elite group was also the highest group to have no plans to adopt DevOps over the next two years at 15%. The lowest performing group reported 20% DevOps adoption and 10% with no plans.

On average, Elite performers are considerably faster in delivering database changes 

Over 30% of Elite performers report multiple database deployments per day. That’s more than twice the rate of any of the other groups. The next group, High performers, were most likely to report that they deploy databases changes once per week.

While frequent database changes may make DBAs nervous, small frequent changes are less likely to fail than large infrequent changes. Even though Elite performers report the most frequent changes, they also report the lowest percent of deployments requiring a hotfix of any of the groups. Even though Elite performers report the most frequent changes, they also report the lowest percent of deployments requiring a hotfix of any of the groups. Elite performers also report that they are more likely to follow best practices, automate processes, and use tools.

Cloud adoption showed a drastic acceleration with only one in five respondents saying they are hosting databases only on-premises. 

Only 20% of respondents reported that they were all on premises in this survey with 15% reporting that they were all cloud. Smaller companies were more likely to be all cloud at 25% as were Elite performers at 22%.

We saw a significant rise in estates with diverse database technologies, from 61% in 2020 to 70% in 2021, with 48% having three or more different databases in use. 

Among the respondents, over 80% used SQL Server which was by far the largest reported. However, while proprietary databases are still popular, NoSQL and cloud databases are being adopted more frequently each year.

Overall, the Covid-19 pandemic has had only a moderate impact on performance and productivity for most IT teams. In fact, with remote working, individual productivity has actually improved for the majority (63%). 

Many organizations had to switch to remote working without much notice. It’s possible that many IT individuals saw improved productivity since they may have already been set up with laptops and VPN access due to on-call support. Others may have seen less productivity due to kids’ remote schooling and decreased ability to collaborate with team members.

The large majority of respondents (68%) expect the budget for database management and tooling to stay at least the same or increase in the next 12 months, indicating the importance of it within the overall IT strategy. 

Lack of budget is mentioned in the report as a barrier or challenge to implementing DevOps. On the other hand, 68% of respondents state that budgets for database management and development will stay the same or increase in the next year. That’s good news as tooling is critical for DevOps.

Thank you to those of you who participated in this year’s survey. You can download a copy of the report here.

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About the author

Kathi Kellenberger

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Kathi Kellenberger is a Customer Success Engineer at Redgate and a former Microsoft Data Platform MVP. She has worked with SQL Server for over 20 years and has authored, co-authored, or tech edited more than 20 technical books. Kathi is a volunteer at LaunchCode, the St. Louis based organization providing free training and paid apprenticeships in technology. When Kathi isn’t working she enjoys spending time with family and friends, cycling, singing, and climbing the stairs of tall buildings. Be sure to check out her courses on Pluralsight.

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