The State of Database Deployments in Application Delivery 2019
August 01, 2019

Robert Reeves
Datical

For most organizations, the ongoing management and deployment of database changes are by far the slowest and riskiest part of the application release process. Why? Most of these changes are performed manually by database administrators (DBAs), who spend countless hours to create, review, rework, and deploy database changes in support of rapid application delivery. This creates a huge bottleneck for the overall release process, as database changes happen every day.

For the second year in a row, Dimensional Research conducted a survey of application developers, application release engineers, enterprise architects, and DevOps engineers, in order to determine the state of database deployments in application delivery, how big of a problem database deployments are for today's enterprises, and more. The professionals surveyed are the people on the front lines of database release issues. They work on mission-critical applications at enterprises for applications you use every day. It's a tough job balancing the pressure — 90% report they are feeling pressured to releaase database changes faster, while minimizing potential downtime and guarding against security issues.

Here are the key findings of the The State of Database Deployments in Application Delivery survey.

Database Deployments Continue to be a Software Delivery Bottleneck

More than 90% of application stakeholders try to accelerate the deployment of database schema changes. However, this is a demanding task, as it frequently involves spending hours, sometimes days, manually reviewing database change scripts line by line. Ninety-two percent say it is difficult to accelerate the database deployment process, showing no improvement from last year's survey.

Whether teams are fixing a bug, solving performance issues, or deploying a new application feature, a good portion of application changes touch the database — in fact, more than half (57%) of all application changes reqquire corresponding database changes.

Accelerating Database Releases Are Most Difficult for Those with the Fstest Release Cycles

Through movements such as Agile, DevOps, and Continuous Delivery, teams are able to dramatically increase the speed of their release cycles. This trend is expected to continue into the future. Yet even with these improvements, most application teams (90%) report that they face pressure to release applications more quickly. Those with the fastest release cycles are finding the most difficulties in accelerating the database release cycle. Close to half (46%) of those that release daily or weekly say it is extremely or very difficult to accelerate the database release process.

Applications are being released faster than a year ago. This pressure continues with a clear increase in the frequency of applications release schedules. According to stakeholders, 43% are releasing applications daily or weekly, a notable increase from 35% a year ago.

Neglecting the Database Deployment Process has Significant Business Impacts

Database change errors continue to cause production issues. Enterprises rely on mission-critical applications and their interconnected databases to run the business and drive the customer experience. While database professionals are incredibly diligent in preserving the integrity of business data, sometimes database change errors creep into production, resulting in application crashes, application performance issues, downtime, and other problems. Eighty-four percent of application development stakeholders state they have experienced serious production issues because of database change errors.

Automating Database Deployments has Tremendous Value

While the database deployment process is often considered the most frequent source of bottlenecks and risks to the application release cycle, there are ways to deliver error-free application experiences faster without increasing risk.

Using automated database deployment solutions, teams can automatically enforce standards and ensure compliance, as well as simulate the impact database schema changes will have on production before they are deployed. These solutions can enable teams to confidently review, validate, and deploy database schema changes faster while helping to prevent database errors and application outages. Ninety-two percent of application stakeholders said automating database deployments would accelerate the overall application release cycle.

Brace Yourselves - Database Automation Is Coming

Database automation can sound a bit scary to professionals whose job is to guard against threats to one of their company's most prized possessions: data. It's good to be guarded, but as this study shows, the database is the next area of focus in the quest to move application releases faster. It's not possible to squeeze any more productivity out of teams without using the right kind of tools along with an updated process.
 
There's still a lot of work to be done around the database. Automation helps with the tedious, manual tasks so database developers and DBAs can bring even more value in other ways. For motivated and dedicated database developers and DBAs, database automation opens up a lot more opportunities to focus on the cutting edge instead of the mundane. Data is the future! It's amazing. Don't spend it scanning logs and reworking database changes over and over again.

Robert Reeves is CTO and Co-Founder of Datical
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