What’s So Important about Database Release Automation Tools?

Database automation tools are no longer a “nice to have” in the age of DevOps. Instead, data automation tools have become a must from a time-to-market perspective, as the numbers clearly show: 85% of enterprises and 75% of SMBs are already implementing DevOps and automation tools in their drive for development efficiency.

“Enterprise DevOps adoption isn’t mandatory— but neither is survival.”

Gene Kim, The Wall Street Journal, CIO Journal, May 22nd, 2014


Some believe that application release automation tools are enough to prevent failed deployments and eliminate the loss of hundreds of hours spent while troubleshooting failures. But, because application release automation mainly focuses on application code, and doesn’t provide a comprehensive solution, enterprises need to go a step further and get database automation testing tools.

Database Release Automation Tools Are Essential!

The database behaves differently than application code because it holds persistent data which cannot be replaced, in contrast to compiled code. When enterprises ignore the challenges that are specific to databases and neglect the use of database release automation tools, broken deployments can result. Even worse, once a release is broken, failures originating in the database can be much more difficult to fix, and downtime can become much more significant. That means lots of money down the drain—namely, an average of $300,000 per hour.

Database release automation tools specialize in preventing exactly these problems, but still enable a company to run fast. Different database automation tools work according to varied philosophies and methods, mainly related to state/transition-based releases. Each approach has its drawbacks and challenges, so it is critical to pick the right tool for the job.

Any database release tool should follow essential DevOps concepts and best practices, like ‘build once deploy many’ and ‘deploy the same way across all environments’. They must guarantee that configuration drift is detectable, and that deployment is executed in the same way each time to achieve a consistent and repeatable process.

Database release automation

Open Source vs. Licensing

Database automation tools are available both as open source and commercial solutions. Popular open source database automation testing tools include Liquibase and Flyway. Although a free database release automation tool seems like a good idea, it may prove to be a challenge in the long run.

Open source infrastructure requires implementation projects, customer time and focus, and continuous maintenance. This is not a one-time thing. It is actually an ongoing process that evolves with automation changes. The effort that your organization must invest to ensure functionality for a free database release automation tool might cost more in labor than a commercial solution.

Another factor to consider is that popular open source programs tend to be components of a complete system, not end-to-end solutions. They offer basic functionality, which is often insufficient for enterprises. In contrast, commercial solutions are constantly evolving due to interaction with customers who keep benefiting from improvements without having to deal with shortcomings. This is as opposed to how open source initiatives deal with problems: periodic upgrades and forums.

In short, a licensed database release automation tool, in most cases, will be less expensive due to the development and maintenance costs of open source.

Commercial Database Release Automation Tools

Commercial database automation testing tools have many advantages. Knowledgeable support staff and a reliable address for a quick response when any problem arises are extremely valuable. They mean that an organization’s technical staff can work on core business applications instead of dealing with problems from open source software. Similarly, frequent upgrades often take care of many bugs and deficiencies.

Customers of licensed data automation tools also get more bang for the buck through elements like ongoing training as well as better security and reliability. Additionally, numerous features such as risk management, access restrictions, policies, auditing functions, and drift detection are usually included in a quality solution. It all boils down to a transparent cost which allows a more informed decision when deciding on the optimal database automation testing tool.

Choosing the Right Tool

Start discovering the enterprise level database release automation tool that’s right for your organization. DBmaestro is the data automation tool of choice for many of the world’s top firms across various industries—maybe it should be your choice as well.

Contact DBmaestro to learn more