DevOps Strategies: Data Management

DevOps Practices - Data Management

In the Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) framework data management is a Run (operational) activity that focuses on the execution of data-oriented architectures, policies, and processes. Note that the long-term planning efforts around data-oriented aspects of your organization are part of your Enterprise Architecture efforts. Similarly, development of the data-oriented aspects of your organizational eco-system is addressed by solution delivery teams.

Because data management is an important aspect of your Run endeavors it will be affected by your Disciplined DevOps strategy. Our experience is that in addition to the general DevOps strategies describe previously, there are several data management strategies that support DevOps:

  • Data and information guidelines. A straightforward way to promote greater consistency in the development and application of data and information sources is to have common guidance that teams will adopt and then follow. This guidance, including both standard policies and guidelines, will need to be defined, supported, and evolved over time in a collaborative and open manner.
  • Quality data sources. Your production data sources, including files, databases, and data feeds, should be high quality assets that are easy to work with. When it comes to data sources of record it is particularly important for them to be of high quality so that they are easy to work with and evolve. Unfortunately this is often little more than fanciful thinking in many organizations. With a Disciplined DevOps mindset teams realize that they should be very careful about increasing the technical debt within their data sources, and more importantly invest in the effort to pay down any technical debt that they find.
  • IT intelligence.  IT intelligence is the creation, support, evolution, and operation of  data warehouse (DW)/business intelligence (BI) solutions that support the management and governance of your IT efforts. From a Disciplined DevOps perspective this there are two important aspects of IT intelligence: development intelligence that provides insight into how delivery teams are working and operational intelligence that provides insight into what occurs in production. The automated team dashboards provided by many development platforms are a simple form of development intelligence, a more sophisticated (and useful) strategy is to combine information from various development tools to display it in an integrated dashboard for the team, and more sophisticated yet is to roll up/combine information from different delivery teams into a portfolio management dashboard. Similarly your operations team may have individual dashboards for each solution, they may combine information being generated by individual solutions into an integrated dashboard, and better yet share that information for an IT portfolio management view.

In the next blog posting in this series we will explore DevOps strategies pertaining to enterprise architecture.

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