This is a guest post by Gilad David Maayan.
Over the last decade, we have witnessed the growing need for quality, agility, and speed in the field of application code development. To meet this demand, organizations are adopting agile development methodologies to help them quickly deliver their products to the market.
In this guide, we offer seven tips on how to implement fast and agile database development.
Agile Database Development
Organizations use agile development processes to enable fast and flexible responses to changing requirements. The agile approach involves breaking the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) into small steps that can be repeated if necessary, as opposed to the traditional waterfall model, which is more rigid and linear. Software developers implement these principles when they make coding changes in a continuous feedback loop.
Benefits of agile processes include more efficient application code development, faster deployment, and higher quality products. However, many organizations fail to implement agile development methods across departments, creating a gap between the performance of different teams.
To bridge this gap and make the development process quicker and bring many agile practices beyond the application development, organizations have embraced DevOps and, more recently, DevSecOps. DevOps is the close collaboration between the software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops) teams. DevSecOps adds the security team into the mix.
One area that often remains overlooked in the agile process is database development. Database development teams typically work separately from other teams, employing manual techniques for tasks such as reviewing, validating, and deploying the code. This separation has made it difficult for organizations to extend agile and DevOps methodologies to database development.
Best Practices for Fast and Agile Database Development
Agile database development might seem complex, but adopting the right practices can help simplify and streamline the process.
Database version control
Use database version control tools to help manage changes to your database, and to gain better visibility into database dependencies. Establish a single standard so the deployment script can handle coding conflicts and generate an error-free script. You can automate the monitoring process to ensure that all database components are functioning properly.
Automate testing to ensure that new changes to the code don’t conflict with your earlier work, and to avoid human error. Execute tests early in the delivery pipeline and continue throughout the SDLC. Automated tests generate immediate and useful feedback on errors so developers can fix them quickly. Automation helps to accelerate delivery and allow developers to focus more of their time and effort into creating value.
Static code analysis
Review your code to check for coding errors, security vulnerabilities, and performance issues. Traditionally, developers would use a slow peer review process, but you can use static code analysis software to save time and make the process more agile. This can help you reduce unnecessary review cycles that generate more work and stress for your team, allowing you to deliver your product sooner.
Automating ALTER scripts for deployment
Automate the creation of ALTER scripts to shorten the development cycle. Don’t automate the code review step during deployment, as this is your last chance to catch flaws before they go into production.
Database Administrators (DBAs) collect code changes that have passed static code analysis and regression tests and write the scripts to commit them. DBAs can accelerate this process with automated tools and ensure that all the necessary changes are deployed to production.
Introducing DevSecOps to database development
Incorporate database development into a DevSecOps process to enable close and efficient collaboration. If you leave database developers out of the DevSecOps process, they can become an obstacle because the other teams rely on the database changes to continue their work. By integrating security into the development process, you can catch security risks sooner and manage frequent updates to the database.
Establishing efficient communication across teams
Build efficient communication channels between all teams involved in the development process. This encourages a culture of collaboration and improves overall efficiency. Good communication helps to reduce and resolve misunderstandings that can cause excessive work and delays.
Use a cloud platform to take advantage of the tools and automation capabilities. Cloud database services offer scalability and high availability, and can be easier to manage. In addition, committing changes to the build and testing them may be easier in a cloud environment.
Many organizations have successfully implemented agile development across much of the development process, but they remain reluctant to apply this approach to database development. This is perhaps because database development requires many manual operations, and companies fear that introducing agile practices will complicate the process.
However, expanding agile methodologies to database development is a logical step for companies looking to speed up the process of delivering to the market. In the race to meet the demands of a fast-paced software development market, companies often rush their database code reviews, with some even skipping it entirely.
With the right tools and practices, you can successfully introduce agile methodologies into your database development process to keep pace with the fast SDLC while maintaining quality and security.
Gilad David Maayan is a technology writer who has worked with over 150 technology companies including SAP, Imperva, Samsung NEXT, NetApp and Ixia, producing technical and thought leadership content that elucidates technical solutions for developers and IT leadership. Today he heads Agile SEO, the leading marketing agency in the technology industry.