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How dbForge Schema Compare Helped the DevOps Engineers Resolve Their Work Challenges in Complex Environments  

Software tools are only as effective as their ability to address issues and professional challenges. In our previous articles, we discussed use cases where our tools helped our clients enhance workflows and increase productivity. Those tools have proved their value. This article further extends our success stories series.

Our current guest is a Principal DevOps Engineer at an enterprise company with over 1300 employees and a remarkable history of nearly 90 years on the market. Treating its profound traditions with all respect, this company is striving to ride the waves of progress and utilize all the possibilities that digital technologies offer. While the client has chosen to remain anonymous, they have allowed us to share their experiences.

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The Problem

The company has an in-house development department that focused on creating software for business use as swiftly and securely as possible. Consequently, the engineers adopted the DevOps approach as the most efficient method to facilitate the continuous development and delivery of their software.

However, this approach came with its own challenges – the company’s CI/CD pipeline was complex and demanding. It encompassed Development, Test, UAT, and Production environments, and required the integration of GitLab, TeamCity, and Octopus to streamline the 3-stage development process.

The source database (MS SQL Server is the provider) is housed in a local GitLab repository, where the Master must mirror the Production environment. Regular nightly checks are conducted to alert relevant developers of any discrepancies detected between the Master and Production.

The developers pushed changes through GitLab; TeamCity executed CI/CD builds and created the deploy and rollback scripts; Octopus was then utilized to deploy changes across the necessary environments. While the team managed to address these challenges with the tools at their disposal, they eventually reached a point where the current tools were insufficient. The development team members sought new solutions for the demanding tasks:

  • Matching the existing requirements of pushing and deploying changes
  • Maintaining complete synchronization between the Master and Production branches
  • Eliminating the need for generating complex SQL deployment scripts manually

The client took time to conduct some extensive research and experiments with several third-party tools before settling on Devart’s Schema Compare for SQL Server, a part of the comprehensive SQL Tools package (solutions designed to overcome nearly all database development and deployment challenges). According to our client, the decision to choose Schema Compare was due to its broad functionality and exceptional support.

The Results

It did not take long to validate that choice. The tools integrated seamlessly into the existing environment due to their robust compatibility features within the DevOps module. In particular, Schema Compare took over the task of generating both the deploy and rollback scripts for the team, allowing the developers to concentrate on more innovative and crucial features.

Following the trial period, our client was able to confidently state:

“Schema Compare is the lynchpin in our in-house developed completely automated CI/CD process for SQL Server database changes. It allows us to automatically generate deployments and rollbacks for releases, and keeps our Master branches [equal] to Production… It is an excellent product that meets and exceeds our needs in the SQL Server CI/CD space. It is as fast, safe, and reliable…”

One more significant factor in favor of the Devart tools was the quality of technical support provided by our company. The client emphasized the importance of quick and effective responses.

“…quicker support turnaround is an obvious win. To add to that, I feel like your support team knows me a little bit and doesn’t talk to me like I’m a new user. This offers more efficiency gains in that we can often get straight into the nuts and bolts of a problem without having to go through “Did you try the obvious things first?”

Now, our client is completely satisfied with all the workflows supported by Schema Compare. They strongly recommend Devart solutions to all specialists in need of reliable tools for database development.

The Tools

Let’s explore the features that impressed our clients the most.

Schema Compare – visualize differences

The Schema Compare tool presents the comparison results in a smart and clean graphical user interface (GUI). Users can apply various grouping and sorting options, view all discrepancies between object pairs and select individual or multiple objects for synchronization. In addition, the tool previews deployment scripts for any object in the bottom window of the GUI. After reviewing the comparison results, users can generate a comparison report and export it in multiple formats (HTML, XLS, and XML). For instance, the HTML report contains the details of the source and target databases, a list of all comparison results, comparison and synchronization options, deployment scripts, and warnings. These reports can be saved for future reference.

Schema Compare – support for .scomp files

The Schema Compare tool supports .scomp files containing the results of schema comparisons, and it is possible to manage those results directly in the document. The tool allows for filters, sorting, and grouping of objects, including, and excluding them from the file. It also displays the differences in data definition language (DDL) between corresponding objects. Working with such files in the tool is much simpler than writing complex commands. Furthermore, these .scomp files can be saved and reused. In particular, users can load settings for automating deployment routines through the command-line interface from these files.

DevOps Automation – a versatile module

The SQL Tools package includes the DevOps module, which enables users to combine several dbForge tools into a single toolchain. This toolchain is designed to build, test, and deploy databases safely and effectively. The Schema Compare tool is just one component of that toolchain, while the functionality of the DevOps Automation module covers all tasks related to building CI/CD pipelines.

Try SQL Tools for free!

If you are seeking powerful and reliable tools to enhance your DevOps jobs and all aspects of your work, the dbForge tools developed for SQL Server experts are the ideal choice. Besides Schema Compare which was highly evaluated by our client, the package includes solutions for effective database development, management, analysis, and administration. The entire toolset is available as a fully functional Free Trial, allowing you to leverage its capabilities for 30 days. This allows you to evaluate its performance and results under full workload conditions and achieve success in your work.

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Jane Williams
Jane Williams
dbForge Team