Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Jason Bloomberg, Greg Smith, Shelly Palmer, Fiona McNeill, Ian Khan

Related Topics: DevOps Journal, Java, SOA & WOA, Linux, Cloud Expo, Big Data Journal

DevOps Journal: 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.

Cloud Expo Breaking News
As more applications and services move "to the cloud" (public or on-premise) cloud environments are increasingly adopting and building out traditional enterprise features. This in turn is enabling and encouraging cloud adoption from enterprise users. In many ways the definition is blurring as features like continuous operation, geo-distribution or on-demand capacity become the norm. NuoDB is involved in both building enterprise software and using enterprise cloud capabilities. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Seth Proctor, CTO at NuoDB, Inc., will discuss the experiences from building, deploying and using enterprise services and suggest some ways to approach moving enterprise applications into a cloud model.
Until recently, many organizations required specialized departments to perform mapping and geospatial analysis, and they used Esri on-premise solutions for that work. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Dave Peters, author of the Esri Press book Building a GIS, System Architecture Design Strategies for Managers, will discuss how Esri has successfully included the cloud as a fully integrated SaaS expansion of the ArcGIS mapping platform. Organizations that have incorporated Esri cloud-based applications and content within their business models are reaping huge benefits by directly leveraging cloud-based mapping and analysis capabilities within their existing enterprise investments. The ArcGIS mapping platform includes cloud-based content management and information resources to more widely, efficiently, and affordably deliver real-time actionable information and analysis capabilities to your organization.
In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mark Hinkle, Senior Director, Open Source Solutions at Citrix Systems Inc., will provide overview of the open source software that can be used to deploy and manage a cloud computing environment. He will include information on storage, networking(e.g., OpenDaylight) and compute virtualization (Xen, KVM, LXC) and the orchestration(Apache CloudStack, OpenStack) of the three to build their own cloud services. Speaker Bio: Mark Hinkle is the Senior Director, Open Source Solutions, at Citrix Systems Inc. He joined Citrix as a result of their July 2011 acquisition of Cloud.com where he was their Vice President of Community. He is currently responsible for Citrix open source efforts around the open source cloud computing platform, Apache CloudStack and the Xen Hypervisor. Previously he was the VP of Community at Zenoss Inc., a producer of the open source application, server, and network management software, where he grew the Zenoss Core project to over 10...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mac Devine, Distinguished Engineer at IBM, will discuss bringing these three elements together via Systems of Discover.
Cloud and Big Data present unique dilemmas: embracing the benefits of these new technologies while maintaining the security of your organization’s assets. When an outside party owns, controls and manages your infrastructure and computational resources, how can you be assured that sensitive data remains private and secure? How do you best protect data in mixed use cloud and big data infrastructure sets? Can you still satisfy the full range of reporting, compliance and regulatory requirements? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Derek Tumulak, Vice President of Product Management at Vormetric, will discuss how to address data security in cloud and Big Data environments so that your organization isn’t next week’s data breach headline.
The cloud is everywhere and growing, and with it SaaS has become an accepted means for software delivery. SaaS is more than just a technology, it is a thriving business model estimated to be worth around $53 billion dollars by 2015, according to IDC. The question is – how do you build and scale a profitable SaaS business model? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Jason Cumberland, Vice President, SaaS Solutions at Dimension Data, will give the audience an understanding of common mistakes businesses make when transitioning to SaaS; how to avoid them; and how to build a profitable and scalable SaaS business.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridstore delivers vmOptimized™ Storage that self-optimizes to each application or VM across both virtual and physical environments. Leveraging a grid architecture, Gridstore delivers the first end-to-end storage QoS to ensure the most important App or VM performance is never compromised. The storage grid, that uses Gridstore’s performance optimized nodes or capacity optimized nodes, starts with as few a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Solgenia, the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Solgenia is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between personal and professional social, mobile and cloud user experiences, our solutions help large and medium-sized organizations dramatically improve productivity, reduce collaboration costs, and increase the overall enterprise value by bringing collaboration and infrastructure solutions to the cloud.
Cloud computing started a technology revolution; now DevOps is driving that revolution forward. By enabling new approaches to service delivery, cloud and DevOps together are delivering even greater speed, agility, and efficiency. No wonder leading innovators are adopting DevOps and cloud together! In his session at DevOps Summit, Andi Mann, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies, will explore the synergies in these two approaches, with practical tips, techniques, research data, war stories, case studies, and recommendations.
Enterprises require the performance, agility and on-demand access of the public cloud, and the management, security and compatibility of the private cloud. The solution? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Simone Brunozzi, VP and Chief Technologist(global role) for VMware, will explore how to unlock the power of the hybrid cloud and the steps to get there. He'll discuss the challenges that conventional approaches to both public and private cloud computing, and outline the tough decisions that must be made to accelerate the journey to the hybrid cloud. As part of the transition, an Infrastructure-as-a-Service model will enable enterprise IT to build services beyond their data center while owning what gets moved, when to move it, and for how long. IT can then move forward on what matters most to the organization that it supports – availability, agility and efficiency.
Every healthy ecosystem is diverse. This is especially true in cloud ecosystems, where portability and interoperability are more important than old enterprise models of proprietary ownership. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mark Baker, Server Product Manager at Canonical/Ubuntu, will discuss how single vendors used to take the lead in creating and delivering technology, but in a cloud economy, where users want tools of their preference, when and where they need them, it makes no sense.
The 15th International Cloud Expo has just expanded its conference program, to bring together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC at one location. Cloud Expo is the single show where delegates and technology vendors can meet to experience and discuss the entire world of the cloud. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to learn about the latest technology developments and solutions.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare Corporation, a leading enabler of smart connected systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Bsquare is a global leader of embedded software solutions. We enable smart connected systems at the device level and beyond that millions use every day and provide actionable data solutions for the growing Internet of Things (IoT) market. We empower our world-class customers with our products, services and solutions to achieve innovation and success.
SYS-CON Events announced today that NuoDB, Inc., the leader in webscale distributed database technology, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. NuoDB was launched in 2010 by industry-renowned database architect Jim Starkey and accomplished software CEO Barry Morris to deliver a webscale distributed database management system that is specifically designed for the cloud and the modern datacenter.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudian is a Foster City, Calif.-based software company specializing in cloud storage. Cloudian HyperStore® is an S3-compatible cloud object storage platform that enables service providers and enterprises to build reliable, affordable and scalable hybrid cloud storage solutions. Cloudian actively partners with leading cloud computing environments including Amazon Web Services, Citrix Cloud Platform, Apache CloudStack, OpenStack and the vast ecosystem of S3 compatible tools and applications. Cloudian's customers include Vodafone, Nextel, NTT, Nifty, and LunaCloud. The company has additional offices in China and Japan.