No Excuse to Ignore the Database

I’ve been writing, talking, and practicing DevOps for nearly 20 years. It wasn’t called DevOps back then, but in the early part of this millennium, I worked in a software team that embodied many of the three ways of DevOps.  We made small changes, we worked rapidly in short cycles, we adapted to our business needs, and we released often.

And we included the database.

At the time, this was a small team of about 15, and I had good control of the database processes, able to influence, debate, and demand our developers improve their skills regularly. We didn’t think about the database as anything more than one more challenge to overcome in order to build and release our software rapidly. Others feel that way as well and the ACM notes that a SQL database is no excuse to avoid DevOps.

This articles covers many of the things I’ve been preaching for some time. We use automation, we adopt good techniques, we instill discipline in our work, and we continuously improve. The article provides a few techniques for using deploying database changes. I do think some of these are good ideas, but as with many things, the devil is in the details. This is a high level look at what you want to accomplish, but the actual mechanism for making changes will vary, depending on your environment.

My employer is constantly searching for ways to improve database development, and we follow many of these techniques in principle. We recognize that testing and deploying changes needs to be easier and more reliable. As we build solutions, I think we’ve helped customers in many ways, however, my fellow advocates and I continue to preach a few things not in the article.

First, we need to continue to improve our code skills, which include data modeling. Moving faster doesn’t mean we get to shortcut good design principles. Second, everyone working on software touching the database needs to work closely together. The data is the most important part of this process, and we can’t afford to let anything happen to it.

I implore you to become better code writers, better software developers, and better team players. I also encourage you to look at DevOps as a set of principles, not as something you buy or install. Like much of life, adopting DevOps is a journey, just like your work with SQL. I’m sure that journey isn’t complete.

Steve Jones

Note: Podcasts paused this week as I have construction taking place at the house and nowhere to record.

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Daily Coping 30 Jun 2020

I’ve started to add a daily coping tip to the SQLServerCentral newsletter and to the Community Circle, which is helping me deal with the issues in the world. I’m adding my responses for each day here.

Today’s Tip is to create a list of favorite memories you feel grateful for.

I have so many, but here are a few that I came up with off the top of my head:

  • Getting married
  • The births of my children
  • The death of my father
  • Starting SQLServerCentral over a phone call
  • Selling SQLServerCentral to Redgate
  • Completing a marathon
  • My first sabbatical
  • Playing baseball as an adult and hitting 3 HRs in a game
  • First day snowboarding with my brother
  • Flying overseas by myself at 20
  • Visiting Dunedin with my family
  • Going to a Yankees game in NYC
  • Finishing the first Harry Potter book with my oldest
  • White water rafting with family
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A Virtual Trip Down Under

I had a great holiday last week, getting away from my home for the first time in months. It’s been an extra strange time for me as I usually have a number of personal and business trips I’ve taken by this time, but with the pandemic, I’ve been at home, like most of you. However, we managed to find a campground open, and we packed up the family, dogs, and horses for a week in the South Dakota hills.

I’m back, and while I won’t be getting on an airplane, I am going to travel virtually to Australia this week for quite an action packed Redgate Streamed APAC Edition. I’m slightly disappointed that I won’t be able to shake hands with Troy Hunt, but neither will Damian Brady, Greg Low, or Hamish Watson. I was on stage last summer with those three, and I immensely enjoyed the experience.

This year we’re holding the event virtually in the Australia time zone, so I’ll be working late afternoon and evening my time for the event on Thursday, July 2. Time zones certainly get strange when I do things in Australia, and it’s the one place I’ve traveled where I feel really out of place when contacting this side of the world. The last time I was there, I watched my daughter’s evening volleyball game as I was eating breakfast.

I get to deliver a talk, and then I’ll settle in to watch everyone else and enjoy the other talks. All of these are expert software developers and data professionals, and I learn quite a bit from them on a regular basis. If you want to spend time later this week, register for the event and join me, wherever you are in the world. The one good thing with these virtual events is that we can attend them if they fit our schedule.

I’m excited to talk DevOps, software development, and, of course, security with the incredible Troy Hunt. This is an exciting week back for me, but also a busy one as I prep for a look at the software challenges down under.

Steve Jones

Note: Podcasts paused this week as I have construction taking place at the house and nowhere to record.

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Measuring Well Being

I need to write something more on this, but it struck me that this is something I wish previous employers had done, anonymously, and reported results back to others. I also with I had some data on how I look at things over time.

Here is my Thymometrics dashboard.

2020-06-15 07_39_08-Thymometrics _ Contribute

Today I got the reminder to fill this out and decided to reset the sliders. The left is my rating of this in my job and the right is how I feel. I often glance at these and adjust them, but periodically I reset them.

I look at this as a chance to take five minutes and take stock of where I am in my current employment.

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