Datical: Why DevOps is right for every organisation


For a concept which merges different stakeholders within a business, it is perhaps not surprising that recent research concerning DevOps shows a fractured landscape. 84% of respondents surveyed by Gleanster Research in August defined DevOps in a multiple choice poll as “developers and system administrators collaborating to ease the transition between development and production”, while 69% opted for “using infrastructure automation to facilitate self-service provisioning of infrastructure by development teams.”

As a result, with every company being different, DevOps might not be for everyone. But Robert Reeves, chief technical officer of database automation provider Datical, disagrees. “Is DevOps right for every organisation? Yes,” he tells CloudTech. “Because the alternative is silos, and those are wrong for every organisation.”

Reeves explains this is due to a change in employee mindset rather than anything technological – if there are role-based silos, a ‘not my job’ mentality pervades, as CloudTech writer David Auslander espoused in this publication earlier this month. “Every person’s job in an organisation is to control cost and increase revenue – period,” says Reeves. “The biggest hurdle is having siloed employees recognise that fact. If a DBA [database admin] has an issue with a SQL script, then it’s the whole team’s issue because the software is not being released.”

The end goal of DevOps, as Reeves puts it, is to “trivialise releases and make them a non-event.” Providing database automation therefore makes sense, he argues, to keep up with demand. “In the past, when we had one release a quarter, it made good sense to have the DBA review each database change and manually look at each script,” says Reeves. “However we now have hundreds of applications and organisations are releasing updates monthly.

“That means one release each quarter has now become 100 releases a month – DBAs absolutely cannot continue to manually review every change.”

Datical recently received series B funding to the tune of $8 million (£5.6m), saying the money will go towards further sales, marketing and support activities. The message is simple: database admins are no longer custodians of the database, and the traditional response to turn down change requests is causing a bottleneck.

Yet Reeves explains getting this message across, with customers including eBay Enterprise, Deloitte, and the state of North Dakota, is easier than one might think. “Our customers recognise database automation is a challenge because they have previously automated application code delivery,” he says. “That makes it clear that database change is by far the biggest choke point in application release cycles.”

Reeves argues that until companies get database automation and move through changes more quickly, the full benefits of agile and DevOps will not be realised. But going back to the Gleanster survey results – is there still a need for a unified message? “More people need to be educated, but I think the market will take care of that,” says Reeves.

“Companies will start to realise that DevOps provides innumerable benefits,” he adds. “Many Fortune 500 IT executives are well aware of the benefits of DevOps and they realise that those [who] adopt DevOps will see more success.”