The State of Database Deployments in Application Delivery
April 04, 2018

Robert Reeves
Datical

In order to satisfy the increasing number of customer demands, persistent competitive pressures and constant market changes, companies are working quickly to release new application features. Many development organizations rely on DevOps, Agile and Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) practices and tools to speed up application delivery. However, shorter release cycles and faster application development also mean more frequent database schema and logic changes. Though the application release process has been fast-tracked through modernization and automation, the database deployment process has been forsaken.

Database administrators (DBAs) spend countless hours and days manually reviewing database changes, script by script. By employing a slow, manual, error-prone process to update the database, application delivery is slowed down no matter how much the rest of the application release process is sped-up. This bottleneck has a significant impact on the business.

So, how much of a problem are database deployments for today's enterprises? In order to answer this question, Dimensional Research conducted a survey, with more than 300 application development stakeholders, with the goal of capturing hard data on their real-life experiences. Below are the key findings of The State of Database Deployments in Application Delivery survey:

Challenges created by database deployments

Faster application deployment and shorter release cycles means that database changes must be pushed out at a faster rate while maintaining quality and safeguarding company data. When application release stakeholders working at large companies were asked about their database deployment process, 96 percent say they need to do it faster. However, this is challenging. Most (86 percent) report that deploying quickly is difficult to do. 40 percent of respondents characterize their challenges as either "extremely" or "very" difficult.

Database changes must be re-worked multiple times to get applications production-ready

The survey asked stakeholders about the last 10 times they made application changes in order to quantify how many application changes require corresponding database changes. An overwhelming majority (71 percent) claim that at least half of all significant application changes also require changes to the database. What's even more notable from a productivity standpoint is that most database changes are not one and done. In fact, 91 percent of stakeholders say they have to re-work database changes multiple times to get them production-ready.

As application release cycles get faster database deployments get harder

Enterprises today are under pressure to accelerate application delivery regardless of industry or company size. A majority of application release stakeholders (90 percent) say they face pressures to release applications more quickly to respond faster to customer demands and market changes.

In terms of the application release process, database deployments are frequently highlighted as a common bottleneck in software delivery. But what is even more interesting is that the database release process becomes more of a bottleneck as release cycles tighten from months to weeks. More than half (57 percent) of application release stakeholders say that database releases create bottlenecks for application release cycles that are days or weeks in length.

Database deployment automation accelerates overall application release cycles

While application releases are largely automated and moving at rocket speed there is hope for database releases. Database release automation can help enterprises shorten the time it takes to deliver application updates to market while eliminating the security vulnerabilities, data loss and downtime associated with today's database deployment processes.

When asked about automating the database deployment process, 99 percent say it would be advantageous to their development organization. In addition, an overwhelming majority, 91 percent, say database deployment automation would accelerate their overall application release cycles.

Robert Reeves is CTO and Co-Founder of Datical

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