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How to Automatically Create and Refresh Development and Test Databases using SQL Clone and SQL Toolbelt

In order to be able to deliver database changes more quickly, there are several tasks that must be automated. It can be a daunting job to ensure that the whole team has the latest database build when there is a proliferation of copies, and the database is big. Phil illustrates a solution by taking a set of Redgate tools to show how they can be used together, via PowerShell, to build a database from object-level source, stock it with data, document it, and then provision any number of test and development servers with the database build, taking care to save any DDL changes to the existing copies of the database.… Read more

Continuous Database Deployment with Confidence

To achieve gains from Database Lifecycle Management in general, and in Continuous Deployment in particular, it pays to aim for lightweight but consistent techniques and processes, refining them iteratively in the light of experience. Edward Elliott describes a Test-driven development process for developing SQL Server databases that worked for CD, based on a series of steps. Though the tools for CD may be necessary, they are not sufficient, without an effective structured process.… Read more

Personal Data, Privacy, and the GDPR

Now that there have been well-publicised examples of the awful consequences of data breaches and data misuse, there is increasing public pressure for legislation on privacy and personal data that has enough clout to prosecute serious offenders. In the vanguard has been the EU data protection regulation, soon to be succeeded by the GDPR. It defines IT practices for data that are likely to extend worldwide. William Brewer gives a rundown of what he sees as the implication for IT practice.… Read more

A DLM Approach to Database Testing

Database Lifecycle Management aims to make the development and modification of databases more predictable. Bugs are the source of more unpredictability than anything else, purely because it is so difficult to guess how long it will take to fix them. Good testing at all stages may take some time and effort, but it greatly reduces likelihood of the wildcard factor of the bug that is first detected during the deployment process; or worse, that gets into the production release.… Read more

Generating Plots Automatically From PowerShell and SQL Server Using Gnuplot

When you are automating a number of tasks, or performing a batch of tests, you want a way of automating the production of your plots and graphs. Nothing beats a good graphical plot for giving the indications of how the process went. If you are using PowerShell and maybe also SQL Server, it pays to use a command-line plotting tool such as Gnuplot to do all the hard work. It turns out to be handy for a range of data jobs, turning PowerShell into a handy data science tool.… Read more

Introducing DLM Techniques for a Multi-Database Multi-Server System

Although the techniques of Database Lifecycle Management can reduce the timescales for the delivery of new functionality to business systems, what if the database 'layer' consists of several large interdependent databases and data flows with replication and audit? Does DLM scale to this level of complexity? Margaret Cruise O'Brien starts a series of articles that describes the practicalities of improving DLM within an existing framework and team supporting a multi-database multi-server system, by describing some of the database management problems and solutions in an enterprise-scale database. … Read more

Working with the BigInt Type in Node and SQL Server

Node.JS and SQL Server are a good match for creating non-blocking, event-driven database applications. Though you can use ODBC or JDBC to communicate between the two, it is possible to run such applications on platforms such as Azure, Linux, OSX and iOS by using Node together with the JavaScript TDS library called 'Tedious'. 'Tedious' is a mature product but it is still possible to get things wrong in converting SQL Server datatypes such as BigInt to native Javascript data. … Read more

Planning for Successful Data Management

It is the data, in particular, that sets Database Lifecycle Management apart from the mainstream of application delivery. Data entities, and the way that organisations understand and deal with them, have their own lifespan. If we neglect the management of data, we risk disaster for the organisations that use it. If we take data management seriously, databases become a lot easier. … Read more

DevOps and Database Lifecycle Management

Database Lifecycle Management (DLM) aims to provide a roadmap of what is required, and when, to deliver and maintain effective databases that can respond quickly to business change. How does the DevOps movement, as it applies to databases, fit into this? William Brewer explains how DevOps provides the organisational change between delivery and operations to make important parts of the process easier to introduce.… Read more

SQL Server Database Provisioning

Database provisioning for development work isn't always easy. The better that development teams meet business demands for rapid delivery and high quality, the more complex become the requirements for the work of development and testing. More databases are required for testing and development, and they need to be more rapidly kept current. Data and loading needs to match more closely what is in production. Grant Fritchey explains.… Read more

Questions About SQL Server Security and Access Control You Were Too Shy to Ask

For many developers, database security and Access control is just something that gets in the way of development work. However, several recent security breaches have had devastating consequences and have caused a change in attitude about the value to any organisation of having database applications that meet industry standards for access control and security. The problem, however is in admitting that you have a problem and finding answers to those problems you are just too shy to ask in public. … Read more

How to Fix Ten SSDT Deployment Snags, With or Without ReadyRoll

Even a database development framework like Sql Server Data Tools (SSDT) doesn't get it right all the time, and there are ten deployment 'gotchas' in particular that can cause some head-scratching amongst developers to get right. From his unique perspective of creating a tool to make such deployments in SSDT less stressful, Dan Nolan discusses each pitfall and how to avoid it, whether you have ReadyRoll or not. … Read more

Master Data Services – The Basics

Master Data Services (MDS) is Microsoft's platform for supporting Master Data Management (MDM). A system like MDS, if properly maintained, gives organisations a powerful alternative to increasingly having to centralize databases as a way of preventing data from getting out sync or become inconsistent, and a reliable way of managing the flow of data through corporate IT systems. It makes microservice architectures realistic. Hari Yadav shows you how to get up and running with MDS. … Read more

Master Data Management (MDM) Using SQL Server

So many of the problems that organisations have with their IT applications are due to the struggle with data, in the absence of overall organization-wide control and supervision of data and its progress through the various parts of the organization. Master data management (MDM) offers a solution to the many data woes by controlling data change, It does it in an analogous way to Version Control, so that changes are cleansed, checked, tracked and audited, and any named version can be published to other services . Now Microsoft has an implementation as part of the data platform.… Read more

Web.config and Entity Framework Transformation Process

When it comes to releasing and delivering an Entity Framework application, you will be faced with the problem of deploying it to several delivery environments such as test or staging as part of the delivery pipeline. How do you cope with managing, error-free, all the environment-specific settings that are entailed? Why not use transformations? Sudha explains how.… Read more

Planning for a Successful Database Lifecycle

Although it is well-known that the best efforts of a development team can be derailed by mistakes in the architecture, design and general governance of a development project, few attempts have been made to describe what needs to be done to increase the chances of success in the development of a database application. William Brewer steps into the breach to itemise what a delivery team needs to succeed.… Read more

How to Build and Deploy a Database from Object-Level Source in a VCS

It is easy for someone who is developing a database to shrug and say 'if only my budget would extend to buying fancy tools, then I could start using version control when developing or maintaining databases'. Phil Factor sets out to show that there are ways of maintaining object-level source control for SQL Server databases just using what Microsoft provides, It may not be perfect, but there are ways of doing it whatever your budget.… Read more

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