Delphix CEO: Why database virtualization matters

Creating a copy of a core database is typically a painful job. The CEO of Delphix, a database virtualization startup, claims it doesn't have to be that way

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Another thing that we help you do is create virtual copies from virtual copies. Sometimes, if I'm in QA, I don't want a fresh copy from production. I need the developer's copy because I'm testing the developer's code and it goes with the schema changes in the database. This virtual copy from virtual copy is another feature that nobody would think about except at our tier and with this kind of software. I can create five virtual copies of your environment, and we can enable five different testers to do whatever they want to it.

Knorr: It sounds similar to snapshots at a backup level, as if you're doing continuous versioning of these various environments, except you may have all kinds of permutations going at once. It sounds pretty complex to manage.

Yueh: One of the core principles that we believe in at Delphix is delivering enterprise-class products with consumer-grade interfaces. You can literally, with our product, provision a 10TB database and refresh it in as little as three clicks in our Web interface.

Knorr: Well, it's interesting when you consider this in the context of the devops trend. Devops doesn't really address the database layer.

Yueh: When you roll out devops, they all want to get to faster builds of the databases in those environments. Eventually you hit -- oh, all my data is stuck in these Oracle databases. How do I get agility around that?

Knorr: I mean would you solve that in two phases? In other words, ops would say: OK, we're going to virtualize these data sets, we'll set it up for them so that they're continually refreshed or whatever, and then dev can come in and self-provision from there.

Yueh: Yeah, you can absolutely set it up that way, although most of our customers still control it from the IT ops database team. But some of them, like Staples, they go all the way to self-service, in which case the developers create the environments they want. The product gives you the user's role and privileges to enable either way -- central control or full self-service.

Knorr: Do you see things trending more in that self-service direction on the dev side?

Yueh: I think self-service is really the huge overriding trend ... enabling developers, business analysts, data analysts to have self-service access. But I think the first step for a lot of organizations in rolling out a product like this is to still allow IT to control it for the first phase -- until IT feels comfortable and knows how to manage it. Eventually, they'll just enable more and more services from us, but I see it kind of as a couple-step journey.

Knorr: Does that drive your product development, that long-term vision?

Yueh: Absolutely. Because we're very focused on creating self-service interfaces that are just specifically for developers or specifically for data analysts. And you have to think about -- what are the actions that each of these individuals need in their world? Because they don't all need the same things. The developers really need the rollback feature because they'll mess up their data environments with their QA tests or their unit testing.

Knorr: That's their job.

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