Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Kevin Jackson, Elizabeth White, AppNeta Blog, Liz McMillan, Harry Trott

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo

@DevOpsSummit: Article

The DevOps Database | Part 3

Applying Feedback Loops to Database Change Management

In the third post in this series, I’d like to talk about the Second Way of DevOps: Amplifying Feedback Loops.  Here’s a refresher on The Second Way from my introductory post in this series:

The Second Way: Amplify Feedback Loops – This Way deals primarily with facilitating easier and faster communication between all individuals in a DevOps organization.  The goals of this step are to foster better understanding of all internal and external customers in the process and to develop an accessible body of knowledge to replace the dependence on expertise scattered across individuals.

I’ve stated before in this series that Database Change Management poses a unique challenge when your organization is shifting to an agile development methodology and implementing DevOps patterns.  Unlike other areas of your application stack, responsibility for managing application schema straddles two groups operating under somewhat opposed expectations. The development group is on the hook for producing more and more business critical features and releases at an ever increasing rate.  DBAs are tasked with providing a secure, highly available data platform and protecting the integrity of the organization’s priceless data.  The rate of schema change required by development to satisfy expectations can run head long into a database change process that is deliberate and metered by necessity to avoid downtime and data loss.  In organizations where these two groups are isolated from each other, you have the makings of a bottle neck in your release process.

The solution to this problem is embodied by The Second Way of DevOps. Communicate early, communicate often, communicate broadly, and prepare for what’s ahead. The tricky part is implementing the solution in a way that’s meaningful to every stakeholder in an organization’s application group.  At Datical, we’ve spent just as much time on how we organize and present the data associated with application schema changes as we have on automating the deployment of these changes.  We’ve rallied around the following key concepts to bring the The Second Way of DevOps to Database Change Management.

Proactive, Predictive Change Analysis
In an organization where development works independently of the database group, truly understanding the impact a stack of SQL scripts will have on downstream environments is a tedious and time consuming task.  Before these changes can be promoted, target environments must be meticulously evaluated for conflicts and dependencies that will impact the deployment process.  This often involves manual reviews and comparisons of diagrams and database dumps of complex environments. Achieving a high degree of confidence in the success of the proposed updates is difficult because it is so easy to overlook something.  Datical has developed a patent pending simulation feature called Forecast that automates this process.  The Forecast feature builds an in memory model of the target environment, simulates proposed changes on top of that model, and warns of potential error conditions, data loss and performance issues without touching the target database.  Because there is no impact to target environments, database administrators can Forecast changes several times during the development cycle to get ahead of issues that would normally be discovered much later in a pre-release review.  Development gets regular feedback on the changes they are proposing and can address issues that arise during the initial development phase when it is easier and safer to resolve them.   The two teams are working in unison to ensure a safe database deployment that works the first time without surprises.

Always Remember Where You Came From
Database changes are usually designed to address the immediate goals of an organization.  Once one set of requirements has been satisfied by a release, the motivations for the design decisions made for that release generally fades away as new requirements come along and new business initiatives take center stage.  Comments in SQL scripts and on the database objects themselves can be helpful in determining why things are the way they are, but these traces of the past are scattered everywhere. Making sense of the whole is an exercise in archaeology.   This was one of the driving forces behind our model based approach to database change management.  Our model is architected to provide a living history of your application schema.  Individual changes are tied to the specific requirement and release that necessitated them.  This data lives in the model so the information you need to make intelligent design decisions is right in front of you when you need it.

Know Where You Are
By tying the business reasons behind each schema change in the model, this information can be tracked in each database instance as it’s updated and included in Forecast, Deploy, and historical reports.  Tracking the changes in each instance and providing detailed reports allows you to easily disseminate information, effectively gate deployment steps, and quickly satisfy audit requirements. When everyone in your organization has access to thorough accounts of the Who, What, Where, When, and Why of any single database change in any environment, everyone is operating on the same level and can more effectively work towards a common goal.

Know Where You’re Headed
The model also facilitates concurrent development on multiple releases of a project.  By tracking changes made for several different releases in a single model, the development teams working on these releases are able to collaborate and stay ahead of changes made by other teams that may impact future releases.  Developers are able to unify redundant changes and eliminate conflicting changes as they implement instead of spending time on redesign later in the process when time is scarce and the cost of change is high.

More Stories By Pete Pickerill

Pete Pickerill is Vice President of Products and Co-founder of Datical. Pete is a software industry veteran who has built his career in Austin’s technology sector. Prior to co-founding Datical, he was employee number one at Phurnace Software and helped lead the company to a high profile acquisition by BMC Software, Inc. Pete has spent the majority of his career in successful startups and the companies that acquired them including Loop One (acquired by NeoPost Solutions), WholeSecurity (acquired by Symantec, Inc.) and Phurnace Software.

@CloudExpo Stories
"Venafi has a platform that allows you to manage, centralize and automate the complete life cycle of keys and certificates within the organization," explained Gina Osmond, Sr. Field Marketing Manager at Venafi, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"We are a modern development application platform and we have a suite of products that allow you to application release automation, we do version control, and we do application life cycle management," explained Flint Brenton, CEO of CollabNet, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
We are always online. We access our data, our finances, work, and various services on the Internet. But we live in a congested world of information in which the roads were built two decades ago. The quest for better, faster Internet routing has been around for a decade, but nobody solved this problem. We’ve seen band-aid approaches like CDNs that attack a niche's slice of static content part of the Internet, but that’s it. It does not address the dynamic services-based Internet of today. It does...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
Internet-of-Things discussions can end up either going down the consumer gadget rabbit hole or focused on the sort of data logging that industrial manufacturers have been doing forever. However, in fact, companies today are already using IoT data both to optimize their operational technology and to improve the experience of customer interactions in novel ways. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, will share examples from a wide range of industries – includin...
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
Unless your company can spend a lot of money on new technology, re-engineering your environment and hiring a comprehensive cybersecurity team, you will most likely move to the cloud or seek external service partnerships. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Darren Guccione, CEO of Keeper Security, revealed what you need to know when it comes to encryption in the cloud.
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
"We are an all-flash array storage provider but our focus has been on VM-aware storage specifically for virtualized applications," stated Dhiraj Sehgal of Tintri in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
It's easy to assume that your app will run on a fast and reliable network. The reality for your app's users, though, is often a slow, unreliable network with spotty coverage. What happens when the network doesn't work, or when the device is in airplane mode? You get unhappy, frustrated users. An offline-first app is an app that works, without error, when there is no network connection. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bradley Holt, a Developer Advocate with IBM Cloud Data Services, discussed...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, director/senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Between 2005 and 2020, data volumes will grow by a factor of 300 – enough data to stack CDs from the earth to the moon 162 times. This has come to be known as the ‘big data’ phenomenon. Unfortunately, traditional approaches to handling, storing and analyzing data aren’t adequate at this scale: they’re too costly, slow and physically cumbersome to keep up. Fortunately, in response a new breed of technology has emerged that is cheaper, faster and more scalable. Yet, in meeting these new needs they...
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.