DevOps Solutions for Database Development Automation


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What is DevOps?

Database DevOps is a philosophy that comprises the following concepts:

  • automating the development, deployment, documentation, testing, and monitoring processes between software developers and operations engineers
  • integrating the development and operations processes to efficiently synchronize, validate, manage, and apply database changes

The Database DevOps practice is focused on improving the efficiency of database management. It helps with streamlining the process of deploying and improving databases by giving the ability to automate many aspects of the database lifecycle, thus speeding them up and simplifying them.

Therefore, DevOps is the best practice to unify development, operations, and quality assurance processes.

History

Patrick Debois, from Belgium, worked for the government on the Migration project. He was frustrated with the conflicts between the system administrator and the developers. To solve these problems and improve various processes, he studied the Agile methodology.

In 2008, Patrick went to the Agile conference where Andrew Shafer was a speaker. The conference was about Agile Infrastructure. At this conference, Patrick was the only person who attended that report.

Together with Andrew, they created the Agile Systems Administration Group.

In 2009, a conference called “O’Reilly Velocity 09” was held with the report: “10 Deploys a Day: Dev and Ops Cooperation at Flickr.” Patrick wanted to attend the conference personally and someone suggested that he should create the Velocity group in Belgium.

In the same year, he created a group named DevOpsDays with the #DevOps hash tag in Twitter.
After the DevOps concept developed, eventually people started applying the approach specifically to database development and changing it accordingly.

Definition

Database DevOps simplifies the process of delivering functional and versatile databases using the best practices and cultural philosophies. This can greatly improve the work of developers and system administrators.

The basic idea of DevOps is to join and share the development and operation processes to make them compatible and effective.

Basically, developers and system administrators need to work together on deploying a functional database.

Example

Any software company has a team of developers. This team needs to release new versions of software including patches, hotfixes, and more. When a new version is ready, the updated software should be uploaded to a server.

Deployment and update on the server require coordination with the operation team. The operation team are usually in agreement with system administrators and can have other duties and tasks, which can cause a delay in the deployment process. That’s why it’s necessary to integrate both processes and automate the tasks, including deployments.

DevOps solution

To do this and reduce the software delivery time, you would need the following:

  • Automation tools to keep track of changes in the software.
  • Automated testing tools.
  • Tools to automate configuration.
  • Tools to check the deployment performance.
  • Tools to automate documentation.
  • Tools to improve the software’s quality, including formatting and code development.

How can dbForge help you in the database DevOps process?

Let’s consider dbForge DevOps Automation solution and some dbForge tools for SQL Server that can be used to improve the DevOps processes for databases:

dbForge SQL Complete

When writing code, developers often need to get their thoughts across as quickly as possible to maintain effectiveness and productivity, all while keeping the code consistent and readable.

dbForge SQL Complete provides a wide variety of features for code autocompletion, formatting, and refactoring to greatly simplify the development process. These include an extensive set of code snippets, smart renaming of aliases and variables, highly customizable code formatting capabilities, data visualizer, and many more.

One of the most notable features in SQL Complete is the SQL formatting command line interface. With its help, SQL files and script folders can be formatted automatically as a continuous integration validation step.

dbForge Source Control

Every time the code is deployed, it is necessary to automatically verify changes in the source code.

With the dbForge Source Control tool, it is easier to monitor SQL script file changes and roll them back if some modifications affect the integrity of your database.

dbForge Source Control is an SSMS plugin that helps you with managing database changes in source control. You can view change history for an entire SQL database, commit your local changes to source control, make updates to your working copy by fetching the latest changes from the repository of the source control system, detect and resolve conflicts between versions, and much more. All of the source control tasks can also be automated through the command line interface.

The tool can link your databases to SVN, TFS, Git, Perforce, Mercurial, and SourceGear Vault.

dbForge Schema Compare

When you have multiple deployments, the database is constantly modified. In this case, it is necessary to see if new tables, views, or stored procedures are created or removed. With dbForge Schema Compare for SQL Server, you can compare two databases and easily synchronize them.

The tool allows you to work with live databases, backups, or snapshots and monitor changes in the production database. To view the changes, you can generate an HTML or Excel report with information about differences between databases.

Using this tool, you can automate the update process with the help of the built-in command line interface, speed up the software development, and simplify the operations to develop and deploy the product.

dbForge Unit Test

To improve the development process, a quality engineer often executes unit tests to verify that everything works properly in the code – especially after some updates are made.

dbForge Unit Test is the perfect solution designed to create, organize, and execute test cases in a few clicks. dbForge Unit Test is based on the open-source tSQLt framework allowing to use T-SQL for implementing unit tests. With dbForge Unit Test, you can simplify the usually manual and time-consuming process of unit testing, as it allows you to run multiple unit tests at the same time and provides a command line interface for automating and scheduling the process.

dbForge Data Generator

Before databases can be moved to the production environment, multiple tests should be performed to make sure that everything is working correctly. However, to do this properly, you should first fill the databases with test data.

dbForge Data Generator provides the ability to generate millions of rows of realistic test data for any type of database or table.

You can choose one of the 200+ built-in data generators tailored for various requirements. However, if none of them fit your needs, you can create a custom data generator.

Data generation tasks can also be scheduled and automated with the help of the command line interface.

dbForge Data Pump

Data Pump gives powerful capabilities for filling SQL databases with data from external sources and migrating data between systems.

The following data formats are supported:

  • Import: Text, MS Excel, MS Excel 2007, MS Access, XML, CSV, ODBC, DBF (FoxPro, dBase III, dBase IV, dBase 7), JSON
  • Export: HTML, Text, MS Excel, MS Excel 2007, MS Access, RTF, PDF, XML, CSV, ODBC, DBF (Foxpro, dBase III, dBase IV, dBase 7), SQL, JSON

With the help of specialized import and export wizards providing an extensive set of options, you will be able to accurately configure the import and export processes.

You can also create and save templates for import and export operations to simplify recurring tasks and then automate these tasks through the command line interface.

dbForge Monitor

In an Agile development environment, it is necessary to automate the deployment process. After deploying the software, you can run automated tests in your database and analyze SQL Server performance using dbForge Monitor.

This FREE plug-in for SSMS allows you to monitor SQL Server performance, CPU utilization, memory and disk usage, read and write latencies, deadlocks, transactions per second, and more.

With this tool, you can verify if changes in the code cause any problems to the performance. You can also easily check the environment properties in development and production, including SQL Server version, service pack, operating system version, collation, cluster use, and more. This tool can be used to analyze if there are any memory leaks, deadlocks, or other issues.

You can, for example, run unit tests with queries and monitor how this tool operates to check if performance is acceptable and detect the most resource-consuming queries that slow down the server activity.

dbForge Event Profiler

While dbForge Monitor has access to SQL Server and OS counters and registries, dbForge Event Profiler focuses on checking the performance of queries and stored procedures.

You can automatically run traces of T-SQL code and verify CPU time to analyze the trace results and save them to a file. This tool helps you detect long-running queries, deadlocks, and other performance-related issues with queries.

Compared to others, this tool has a great performance quality and consumes less resources to perform tasks.

Conclusion

As you can see, dbForge offers a great number of tools to automate the processes of developing software, comparing data and schemas, monitoring performance at different levels, testing changes in the code, standardizing and creating code, generating reports, and much more.

References

For more information about DevOps, please refer to these links:

What is DevOps? – In Simple English
DevOps Tutorial for Beginners
DevOps

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