Continuous delivery brings big business benefits to application development – it’s time to give the database the same benefits, says Simon Galbraith, chief executive and co-founder of Redgate
Microsoft’s recent announcement that Windows 10 will be the last big-bang release for the operating system was a surprise to many. But what on Earth is going on? Why have they suddenly turned round and decided to upgrade their software with a series of frequent updates instead?
The answer is a term not many chief executives will be familiar with, but an important one nevertheless: continuous delivery.
Continuous delivery for software applications means that new features can be released faster and companies can be more competitive. Although it requires a change in processes and an investment in the tools that make it possible, the return on investment is high – and proven.
The 2014 State of DevOps Report from Puppet Labs found that high-performing IT organisations that use practices such as continuous delivery are twice as likely to exceed their profitability, market share and productivity goals.
WHAT ABOUT THE DATABASE?
A stumbling block many organisations find in their pursuit of continuous delivery is the database. Databases hold critical information and their stability is vital to the bottom line. Often they’re tied into those same applications that can gain from continuous delivery, but they’re seen as too risky to include in the process.
In fact, the DZone Guide to Continuous Delivery 2015 showed that while 61 per cent of companies have already implemented continuous delivery for their applications, it falls to half that number when it comes to the database.The result? Application development is faster, smoother and more cost effective, while database development lags behind.
Clients such as Yorkshire Water are seeing a return on investment of 700 per cent after investing in continuous delivery for their databases
At Redgate, we’ve been working on a way to resolve the issue with a Database Lifecycle Management (DLM) solution: one that brings all the advantages of continuous delivery to the database, while protecting the data at the same time.
We have some pedigree here. Our tools are already used in more than 90 per cent of Fortune 100 companies, and are trusted in areas such as finance, healthcare and manufacturing, where performance and reliability are not optional.
It’s working too. Clients such as Yorkshire Water are seeing a return on investment of 700 per cent after investing in continuous delivery for their databases.
Similarly, StateServ, a medical equipment supplier with customers across the United States, has adopted Redgate’s SQL Source Control and SQL Compare to reduce the time it takes to release new versions of its website by 50 per cent.
Property services provider Move With Us has also adopted these tools to reduce the cost of releasing database updates by 97 per cent. As Anthony Hall, IT operations manager, says: “We spend less time deploying and more time developing better software, which keeps us ahead of our competitors. It results in a product that more closely matches what the customer wants, at a cheaper price. That equals happy customers, a happier development team and bigger profits for the company.”
I love comments like that. It demonstrates that all the effort we’ve put into developing our tools and the DLM process to go with it is paying off. Not for us – for our clients.
By aligning the continuous delivery of the application with the continuous delivery of the database, a company will inevitably see increased productivity, reduced risk and higher quality end-products. This suddenly means that your technology becomes a strategic advantage, as opposed to an unpredictable risk, and can be used to deliver real financial benefits to the business.
KEEPING DATA FLOWING FOR YORKSHIRE WATER
Yorkshire Water manage the collection, treatment and distribution of water in Yorkshire, supplying around 1.24 billion litres of drinking water daily. At the same time they collect, treat and dispose of about one billion litres of waste water safely back into the environment.
As might be imagined, their applications and databases are diverse and technically challenging, and deploying changes to the databases used to be manual and time consuming. The company turned to Redgate’s database development tools to automate the changes, saving time as well as avoiding errors.
Using SQL Source Control and SQL Compare, they achieved every aim. In 25 days, they moved their first project from a manual deployment process to full automation and it now takes half a day to start auto-deploying a new project.
As software development team leader Carl Davison says: “It’s now a minor overhead to deploy. We predict the return on investment to be in the order of 700 per cent over the next five years. We can deploy database changes as soon as the business needs them, without delays or problems.”
Redgate Software, Newnham House, Cambridge Business Park, Cambridge, CB4 0WZ