The importance of monitoring is often left out of discussions about DevOps, but a Gartner report shows how it can lead to superior customer experiences.
The report provides the following key recommendations:
- Work with DevOps teams during the design phase to add the instrumentation necessary to track business key performance indicators and monitor business metrics in production.
- Automate the transmission of embedded monitoring results between monitoring and deployment tools to improve application deployments.
- Use identified business requirements to develop a pipeline for delivering new functionality, and develop monitoring to a practice of continuous learning and feedback across stakeholders and product managers.
While the report focuses on application monitoring, the benefits of early DevOps integration apply equally to database monitoring, according to Grant Fritchey, Redgate DevOps Advocate and Microsoft Data Platform MVP: “In any DevOps pipeline, the database is often the pain point because you need to update it alongside the application while keeping data safe. Monitoring helps database developers identify and fix issues earlier, and minimizes errors when changes are deployed.”
Optimizing performance before releases hit production
Giving development teams access to live monitoring data during database development and testing, for example, can help them optimize performance before releases hit production. They can see immediately if their changes influence operational or performance issues, and drill down to the cause.
Similarly, database monitoring tools can be configured to read and report on deployments made to any server and automatically deliver an alert back to the development team if a problem arises, telling them what happened and how to fix the issue.
This continuous feedback loop not only reduces time spent manually checking for problems, but speeds up communication between database development and operational teams. Most importantly, this activity all takes place on non-production environments, meaning fewer bad customer experiences when accessing production data.
This increased focus on monitoring is prompting many high performing DevOps teams to introduce third-party tools which offer more advanced features like the ability to integrate with the most popular deployment, alerting and ticketing tools.
A good example is the financial services sector. Redgate’s report revealed that 66% of businesses in the sector now use a third-party monitoring tool, outpacing all other sectors. And while 61% of businesses deploy database changes once a week or more, compared to 43% across other sectors, issues with deployments are detected faster and recovered from sooner.
The Gartner report states: “By enabling faster recognition and response to issues, monitoring improves system reliability and overall agility, which is a primary objective for new DevOps initiatives.”
Many organizations are discovering there are big advantages in including the database in the monitoring conversation as well.