“The essence of it is that there are developers and DBAs who want to make changes to their databases, and more importantly, they want to make those changes live. They’ve been doing that using our tools, and have been following this process. We’ve only realized recently what they’re doing is application life-cycle management, except for the database.”
(Related: A better way to look at databases)
Rees said that Red Gate’s tools can help a development organization get control of data management within its application life cycle. “It’s about source controlling the database. It’s about automating the updates. It’s about properly managing the release process, and having proper release management to get changes into production. Then it’s about monitoring what happens after the event.”
Thus, as developers have awakened to database management, Red Gate has awakened to how its customers are using its tools. “What we’re realizing now, over the last year or so, is that we have this complete story that our customers have been telling us over and over for years,” said Rees. “We used to sell these 1,500-point tools to the end user. Now we’re selling something that’s about changes in process, changes in how you work.”
That means Red Gate can no longer rely on single developers using a credit card to buy a tool. Instead, data management and the database life cycle have moved up the stack to become CIO-level concerns. Getting buy-in from that far up the chain can ensure that a new process and life cycle can be pushed out across the organization, not just into small pockets.
Ron Huizenga, data architect and product manager at Embarcadero Technologies, said that change management in databases is a great way to ensure changes don’t destroy essential information.
“We have database change-management tools, from the metadata approach, from the modeling approach, and the metadata artifacts,” he said. “It’s extremely important to be able to map out all of what that is.
“There’s also a difference in terms of the data content in those stores. And that’s where we really get into an enterprise data lineage. You may have a company that has employee data scattered across a number of different systems. How do we map that together, and how do we know if info is changing in its journey through the system?”
Embarcadero, he said, has tools that can tie different data store terms together. If one database refers to employees with the field “EMP” while another uses the field title “PEOP,” Embarcadero’s tools can be used to define these two different data columns as meaning the same thing, thus allowing for quick integration of data from disparate data sources.