Quest: crossing the DevOps database chasm

This is a guest post for the Computer Weekly Open Source Insider blog written by John Pocknell in his capacity as senior product manager at Quest.

Pockell has been with Quest Software since 2000, working in the database design, development and deployment product areas. He is now responsible for the strategy and roadmap of the Toad portfolio of products worldwide.

Toad Software is a database management toolset from Quest that database developers, database administrators and data analysts use to manage both relational and non-relational databases using SQL.

Pockell writes as follows…

Over the past few years, there has been a phenomenal adoption of open source databases among enterprises. In fact, Gartner forecasts that by 2018, more than 70% of new in-house applications will be developed on open source database management systems (OSDBMS) — and 50% of existing commercial relational database management system (RDBMS) instances will have been converted or will be in process.

A growing number of businesses are implementing heterogeneous, cloud-based databases to power business-critical applications in finance, CRM, HR, e-commerce, business intelligence and analytics and more.

In many cases, these critical applications are dependent on the database vendor and its related offerings, creating a vendor lock-in situation – right down to management and replication – that does not support a hybrid environment.

DevOps culture

DevOps establishes a culture and environment to build, test and release software in a rapid, frequent and reliable fashion by embracing Agile methodologies across the IT teams.

If application updates require changes to the database, however, the DevOps process often breaks down, because databases are historically developed and managed differently due to their complexity, development process and sensitive nature.

Database development also frequently lacks code testing and reviews, source code controls and the ability to integrate with existing build automation and release processes, which are critical to preventing errors impacting production systems.

DBAs need to consider adopting tooling that can help them navigate these potential pitfalls by breaking down the common barriers associated with deploying database changes alongside application changes in the DevOps workflow, by integrating those changes with the continuous integration and continuous delivery aspects of DevOps processes.

Sharpened proven tools

With proven tooling, DBAs can ensure they test the functionality of code to reduce defects during the automated build process; perform static code reviews, as well as integrate into popular tools such as Jenkins, Bamboo, and Team Foundation Server.

However, developers and database administrators may still have hesitancies about moving to a new platform.

The good news is that resistance to the OSDBMS amongst enterprise organisations is diminishing as CIOs and senior IT managers realise that it is a low-cost yet reliable alternative to the proprietary RDBMS, especially with the advent of better management functions and support.

In short, more enterprise organisations are taking OSDBMS databases such as MySQL and PostgreSQL seriously, so DBAs are less likely to face resistance internally.

At the heart of good database management is the ability to facilitate innovation and reduce the amount of time and resources dedicated to oversight and administration. For this reason, open source databases and DevOps have unleashed immeasurable performance increases for enterprise organisations across the globe, all while saving billions.

In order to embrace open source, DBAs need the tools at hand to ensure they do not become overwhelmed.