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Source Control for Database Development

This month we reviewed Red Gate's SQL Source Control package (Managing the Changes to Database Design). I took the opportunity to talk to Stephanie Herr and David Atkinson, product managers for SQL Source Control, about the world that SQL Source Control competes in.

Peter Vogel: What's the market that SQL Source Control is part of? What are the main drivers in this market?
Stephanie Herr: SQL Source Control is an ALM (application lifecycle management) tool that's part of the general application development tools market. It enables engineers and teams to extend the good development practices that they already employ in their application development to their database development.

David Atkinson: Users fully understand the benefits of source control. But, until now, it's been a somewhat embarrassing fact for the industry that database development has lacked equivalent basic change management capabilities. SQL Source Control enables developers to use their existing source control tools (e.g. SVN, TFS, Vault or VSS) to support changes to their database design. It also allows database developers who are unfamiliar with source control to enjoy its benefits for the first time.

Because SQL Source Control provides an audit trail of who changed what, when and why, database administrators can have confidence when pushing changes up the development chain. This database development audit trail can also help with compliance requirements -- SOX and HIPPA legislation, for instance.

PV: SQL Source Control is sort of an interesting product because it's the intersection between your SQL Compare Tool and some source control management tool -- and that's ignoring its integration with SQL Server Management Studio. What made Red Gate decide that this was a product that needed to be brought to market?
SH: SQL Compare was primarily designed to promote changes to production databases, hence the detailed comparison results screen and the numerous confirmation dialogs. However we knew that many users also employ it within a development environment because of the lack of dedicated source control tools.

SQL Source Control specifically takes the perspective of the developer who wants to share changes made to their development environments and to have a way to get back to previous versions. The tool also allows a team to work collaboratively in sync by enabling members to track and manage their changes together without any manual scripting overheads.

Posted by Peter Vogel on 12/13/2010

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