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Discussion on: How do you update backend web services without downtime?

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Adam Bullmer

Yikes, 15 year old software? That sounds rough. If the service can't be interrupted, I've seen the staged release work well:

  1. forwards compatible DB alter
  2. Ship code to read/write from both places (gross, but it's going away)
  3. Any data migration necessary (no alters allowed here)
  4. Update code to stop looking in the old place
  5. Confirm everything is working as planned and blank out the old data, or alters to clean up your schema.

Step 2 is the hardest because there's a lot of options of how you can handle this. I've personally had my software write to 2 different places, ran a migration to move the old data to the new place, and then updated the service again to only read/write from the new place.

Hopefully you're sourcing see good ideas from the communuty suggestions, these have all been good ideas if they solve your problem effectively.

I also can't stress enough the importance of DB backups, testing that your theory of deploys works at every step in a non production environment, and having your plan written down and reviewed by your peers. DB alters in prod are hard, and carry a lot of risk if something unexpected happens.