Companies have seen unprecedented change over the past year and a half, with IT teams trying to help businesses weather the storm by meeting customer demands for services and products to be delivered in new ways while adjusting to remote work. As more companies introduced hybrid approaches to their workplace, a particular trend began to emerge: DevOps adoption.
Many adopted DevOps to navigate the new landscape, boosting software delivery and operational performance with advanced application and database development practices. In fact, research from Redgate Software indicates that DevOps adoption reached its peak earlier this year, with 26% of enterprises leveraging DevOps across all projects—a significant increase from previous adoption rates.
Although not all companies have been quick to adopt for fear of disrupting existing workflows, a technical skills gap or lack of buy-in from management, there is a strong case to be made for why adopting DevOps practices, including for the database, can help businesses better manage the evolving tech environment.
Adopting Automated Deployments
Companies everywhere migrated databases to the cloud over the course of the past year, and that trend shows no sign of slowing. Analysts at IDC predict that by 2022 more than 90% of enterprises will rely on a mixture of on-premises/dedicated private clouds, multiple public clouds and legacy platforms to meet their needs. One of the best ways to help maintain that data is to implement DevOps processes for those databases and automate deployments. This provides a host of benefits, including:
- Preventing software errors: Manual database migrations often come with a host of errors that lead to downtime, rollbacks and rework. It’s far better to rely on an automated process that is robust and repeatable and can be implemented across all databases to ensure they’re updated in the same, reliable way.
- Staying in the loop: Knowledge of how to release updates and changes is often limited to a handful of people or even just one person. If, instead, it is part of the system and development process, it ensures everyone is in sync with updates and developments and allows anyone on your IT team to handle deployments.
- Guaranteeing quality and consistency: For companies with security and compliance concerns, the predictable and repeatable processes that automated database deployments introduce ensure nothing is left to chance, while providing an auditable record of exactly what was changed, when and by who.
Although the research shows 20% of companies cite cost as a roadblock to automation, avoiding automation will leave businesses at a disadvantage as they prepare for the coming year.
Creating Communities of Practice
When asked how they decide the strategic direction and planning for DevOps, the most popular answer from respondents was communities of practice. This concept was proposed for the first time in the early 1990s, and the practice has seen increased popularity among IT teams recently. It’s described as groups of people who share the same passions or concerns for something they do and often learn how to do that task better based on their regular, frequent interactions.
These various communities—regardless of whether in-person or virtual, given the current environment—help foster intrinsic motivation in employees and improve overall decision-making and encourage innovation. According to Redgate’s research, over a third of respondents noted that a community of practice makes decisions, provides recommendations or is consulted before DevOps strategies and planning are put into place. Another interesting point from the research is that the adoption of communities of practice correlates with company size. Enterprise and medium-size companies reported adoption rates of 38% and 36% respectively compared to only 28% adoption in small companies.
As companies grow and teams mature, these communities not only benefit the organization by bringing more diverse minds to the table when making decisions but benefit individuals by supporting development, enabling networking and improving recognition across the organization.
Managing Cross-Database Estates
Redgate’s research found that 70% of organizations now have more than one database management system in use, and 48% have teams working on three or more different databases. One possible reason for this is the increased adoption of cloud databases. With a large range of cloud databases and platforms in use, each offering different advantages, teams are now making choices based on specific use-cases. There was an increase in the share of respondents using cloud-native databases such as Azure Cosmos DB, MongoDB and Snowflake compared to last year, for example.
With cloud adoption accelerating due to the pandemic and the need for technologies that can be managed, operated and accessed remotely, the advantages of introducing DevOps processes to maintain database changes and ensure version control have never been clearer. Teams that have automation and advanced development practices in place can continue building and deploying software as smoothly as before the pandemic, even when working remotely.
Instead of working to build up processes and procedures, mature DevOps teams can focus their efforts on solving problems and ensuring higher quality of code, without the need for laborious manual tasks or code reviews that automated systems perform more reliably.
Making the Case for Database DevOps
When teams are physically separated, working disparate schedules and dealing with their own challenges at home, the more companies can do to reduce workloads and help them focus on value-added work creates a happier workplace and improves the chances for business success. The rise of DevOps for both application and database development helps mitigate many of the challenges organizations face as part of their digital transformation journeys. It’s going to help IT teams remain productive when working remotely and encourage them to explore new database platforms, both on-premises and in the cloud.
With remote and hybrid work the new normal for the future, companies that set their sights on adopting DevOps across the company will only see these benefits increase.