If developers are from Mars and testers are from Venus, your database administrator is stuck in Saturn. By nature, the database—and specifically the data it carries—has to remain stable even as the application code on top of it is changing faster than Donald Trump’s staff.
When it comes to the speed of your release cycle, issues with your database are like potholes. You don’t see them up ahead, and you only feel the pain after the damage is already done. The least flexible layer in an application is its database, rendering it the weakest link in any agile development process.
Get Your Database Up to Speed
The right NoSQL database offers the following features that can speed up your release cycle without falling into a pothole.
It’s Schema-less: When you make a new build, or issue a new release, your code will change. Obviously, it will go through QA and check out. However, just because it’s working doesn’t mean it’s working correctly. You may have changed the types of data your application is accepting. You may have changed the way your app works with data. Your schema is the blueprint for how you accept data. For a relational database, you need one. The more complicated the schema, the harder it is to change.
A NoSQL document database is schema-less, offering you the ultimate flexibility and speed in how to rearrange the way you handle your application’s data.
Rapid Scalability: The moment your application is a success, expect greater load. Greater load requires more hardware to handle that load while maintaining peak performance. A relational database demands you scale up, investing large amounts in a new server. NoSQL solutions let you scale out, creating data clusters on commodity hardware.
NoSQL lets you add new nodes to your database topography in minutes, expanding your ability to process requests from users at optimum performance.
Immediate Adaptability: New code doesn’t only change the type of data you are working with; it also can change how you work with the data itself. New queries mean whenever a user clicks a button, your database will have to relearn how to sort your data to answer new requests for specific items or aggregated totals.
A relational database will join tables and scour the data row by row to get your users what they want. If the whole thing changes, the process starts from square one. A good NoSQL solution uses dynamic indexing. It means that it won’t perform a query until after it finds the right index. It will either use a pre-existing index, improve on one or create one from scratch that will be made available for future queries.
Such a system reduces the performance hiccup by releasing new code in that the more you use it, the better indexes are created to maximize the performance of the database. Your Agile DevOps team can release new builds every day and the database will be able to keep up.
Platform testing: Agile without testing is like a lunchbox without the apple. It may not be the most appealing part of the meal, but you gotta have it. The right database lets you make queries in test mode without touching the disk itself. The data in real-time is separated from what you are testing.
Due to its inherent flexibility, a NoSQL database lets you re-create whatever test scenarios you need and measure function and performance to see how every layer is working under the new changes. You can also do this fast, keeping your development process moving right until the end.
Technical support that doesn’t hold you back: One of the biggest pitfalls in Agile is when you hand the fate of your next release over to people who have no idea how urgent it is that you get the issue resolved now. Bad tech support can take an issue that shouldn’t slow you down and freeze you up for hours, even days.
The right NoSQL solution offers tech support with quick response time, and engineers who have experience developing the database itself. It is important that they know how the database works, and can do better by you than reciting a series of standard test scripts.
Databases can also notify you of underperformance or any indications that there are escalating problems that need immediate attention before they become full-fledged issues. Small features such as these save you time in having to resort to tech support in the first place.
There are always risks involved with making changes to your application. The risk databases pose is that some changes can shut down your database and paralyze your application. A NoSQL solution can reduce this risk, and even speed up areas of your DevOps process.