Welcome!

Big Data Journal Authors: Roger Strukhoff, Carmen Gonzalez, Esmeralda Swartz, JP Morgenthal, Lori MacVittie

Related Topics: DevOps Journal, Java, Virtualization, Cloud Expo, Big Data Journal, SDN Journal

DevOps Journal: Article

The DevOps Database | Part 2

Applying Systems Thinking to Database Change Management

In my first post in this series, I discussed the underpinning principles of all DevOps patterns as eloquently stated by Gene Kim, author of "The Phoenix Project."  In this post I'd like to dig a little deeper into The First Way.  As a refresher:

The First Way: Systems Thinking - This Way stresses the performance of the entire system of value delivery.  Instead of becoming laser focused on the part of the process for which an individual or team is responsible, the individual or team works to understand the entire process from requirements generation to customer delivery.  The goal is to eliminate the delivery impediments that arise when a project transitions from one isolated silo to another.  Understanding the entire system allows business, development, and operations to work towards a common goal in a consistent manner.

When we started Datical, our first step was to perform extensive market validation.  We quickly learned that database schema management was going to be tough nut to crack. In the scores of conversations we had with people throughout the ALM spectrum, we learned that the process for managing and updating the database schema that supports an application was at best murky and at worst a black box.  So how do we elevate a process owned and understood by a few people in an organization to the level of visibility required to understand that process as part of a larger system?

What follows is a list of concepts pertaining to System Thinking that we've rallied around in providing our database change management solution Datical DB. Instead of the black box, database change management can become a transparent and flexible part of your value delivery system.

Start With Reality
When beginning a new project based on previous development, don't rely on a stack of SQL scripts on a file server or even in a source code control system. As you know, databases evolve over time and sometimes out of process changes happen.  When a database schema is modified to resolve an error condition or performance degradation, these alterations are usually handled in a support ticketing system.  You can never be certain that they were added to the stack of scripts used to build out a fresh environment.  In light of this, any database change management solution should start by generating a baseline from the working system: your production schema.  This ensures that design and development activity are taking into account not only those schema objects generated in Dev, but also those which originated in other stops in the system.

Don't Script! Model!
To keep this blog post short(er) I'll point you now to a blog post I wrote a few months ago on modelling vs. scripting.

Version Twice, Deploy Once
The first level of versioning any database change management tool should provide is versioning of the gold standard. Versioning the scripts or model that you use to build a fresh database instance for your application provides a ton of benefits.  You can track how your schema has evolved over time and across releases, you can tightly couple a schema definition to the version of the application it supports using the same branch/tag/merge workflow that you use for your application code, and you can quickly stand up a new database instance that you know is correct for any released version or experimental branch you are working in.  The second level of versioning takes place in each database instance.  Tracking the version of the schema deployed on a specific instance makes deployment and troubleshooting much easier.  Will this application build work with the schema on this instance?  What changes need to be applied to this database to catch it up to the latest version?  Were the right changes applied to this test database to validate a closed defect?  If you are tracking the individual changes applied in a database and the impetus for those changes, these questions can be answered quickly and easily.

Unify Your Modes of Delivery
We've found that a lot of uncertainty was generated when database updates were handled by several individuals using their own tools and methods to affect the required changes.  To remove this uncertainty, all database change must be executed using the same tools and processes across departments and individuals.   The tricky part: a continuous integration system has different requirements than a developer working iteratively or a DBA processing a batch of changes in a headless environment during a maintenance window.  In order to unify your database change process, the solution you use should be accessible to all of these individuals while maintaining the consistency of deployment activities.  That's why Datical DB provides a rich GUI experience for developers that helps them craft & deploy changes in dev environments; tight integrations with popular build and release automation frameworks that preserve the frameworks' workflows while providing Datical DB functionality; and a command line interface that allows users in headless environments to deploy changes in the exact same manner that the GUI or a 3rd-party integration would.  By unifying the modes of delivery you are constantly testing your release practices. By the time the production push rolls around, your system works.

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.

@BigDataExpo Stories
Samsung promises to be one of the 800-pound gorillas of the IoT, if its success in recent years with Android devices and other consumer electronics is any guide. Showing its willingness to be a big IoT player, the company recently acquired SmartThings, a recent startup that's developed an open smarthome appliation that currently supports 1,000 devices and 8,000 apps. SmartThings will now work under the auspices of Samsung's Open Innovation Center (OIC). SmartThings Founder and CEO Alex Hawkinson...
As Platform as a Service (PaaS) matures as a category, developers should have the ability to use the programming language of their choice to build applications and have access to a wide array of services. Bluemix is IBM's open cloud development platform that enables users to easily build cloud-based, creative mobile and web applications without having to spend large amounts of time and resources on configuring infrastructure and multiple software licenses. In this track, you will learn about the...
General Electric (GE) has been a household name for more than a century, thanks in large part to its role in making households easier to run. Starting with the light bulb invented by its founder, Thomas Edison, GE has been selling devices (“things”) to consumers throughout its 122-year history. Last week, GE announced that it is officially leaving that job to others. While the lighting division will stay, GE will now turn its attention to selling industrial machinery and analytics as a service t...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, will discuss how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money! Speaker Bio: ...
How do you know when a technology has become mainstream? A good clue may be when politicians start talking about it on the campaign trail and with mainstream media. David Cameron, the UK prime minister, was the latest, indicating that the world was now on “fast-forward” with the Internet of Things (IoT) ushering in the new industrial revolution. No mention of IoT targeted at the masses would be complete without the clichéd example of the communicating fridge. While it is easy to get caught up in...
Machine-to-machine (M2M) technology and the resulting Internet of Things are leading us inexorably toward everything-as-a-service (XaaS). As more things get connected, the range of service opportunities expands. And as those services are presented online, they become available for use, re-use and re-purposing. At first thought, the idea of more connected devices suggests simply that there will be more devices around, and as such, more products for manufacturers to make and sell. That’s true, bu...
Samsung VP Jacopo Lenzi, who headed the company's recent SmartThings acquisition under the auspices of Samsung's Open Innovaction Center (OIC), answered a few questions we had about the deal. This interview was in conjunction with our interview with SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson. IoT Journal: SmartThings was developed in an open, standards-agnostic platform, and will now be part of Samsung's Open Innovation Center. Can you elaborate on your commitment to keep the platform open? Jacopo Lenzi: S...
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.
SAP is delivering break-through innovation combined with fantastic user experience powered by the market-leading in-memory technology, SAP HANA. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce, SAP, will discuss how SAP and partners provide cloud and hybrid cloud solutions as well as real-time Big Data offerings that help companies of all sizes and industries run better. SAP launched an application challenge to award the most innovative SAP HANA and SAP ...
In her General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing, at Verizon Enterprise, will focus on finding the right mix of renting vs. buying Oracle capacity to scale to meet business demands, and offer validated Oracle database TCO models for Oracle development and testing environments. Anne Plese is a marketing and technology enthusiast/realist with over 19+ years in high tech. At Verizon Enterprise, she focuses on driving growth for the Verizon Cloud pla...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Verizon has been named "Gold 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. Verizon Enterprise Solutions creates global connections that generate growth, drive business innovation and move society forward. With industry-specific solutions and a full range of global wholesale offerings provided over the company's secure mobility, cloud, strategic network...
SimpleECM is the only platform to offer a powerful combination of enterprise content management (ECM) services, capture solutions, and third-party business services providing simplified integrations and workflow development for solution providers. SimpleECM is opening the market to businesses of all sizes by reinventing the delivery of ECM services. Our APIs make the development of ECM services simple with the use of familiar technologies for a frictionless integration directly into web applicat...
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic...
Cloudwick, the leading big data DevOps service and solution provider to the Fortune 1000, announced Big Loop, its multi-vendor operations platform. Cloudwick Big Loop creates greater collaboration between Fortune 1000 IT staff, developers and their database management systems as well as big data vendors. This allows customers to comprehensively manage and oversee their entire infrastructure, which leads to more successful production cluster operations, and scale-out. Cloudwick Big Loop supports ...
Software AG helps organizations transform into Digital Enterprises, so they can differentiate from competitors and better engage customers, partners and employees. Using the Software AG Suite, companies can close the gap between business and IT to create digital systems of differentiation that drive front-line agility. We offer four on-ramps to the Digital Enterprise: alignment through collaborative process analysis; transformation through portfolio management; agility through process automation...
Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Bitium was founded by Kriz and Erik Gustavson. The 1,500 cloud-based application using Bitium’s analytics, app management, and single sign-on services include bug trackers, customer service dashboards, Google Apps, and social networks. The firm states website administrators can do multiple tasks online without revealing passwords. Bitium’s advisors include Microsoft’s former CMO and the former senior vice president of strategy, the founder and CEO of Li...
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, will address the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. How important are public, private, and hybrid cloud to the enterprise? How does one define Big Data? And how is the IoT tying all this together?
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, da...