Results from the 2020 Liquibase Community Survey

Thank you to everyone who participated in our 2020 Liquibase community survey! Your feedback informs our roadmap and helps us build the best solutions possible to make database deployments faster, safer, and easier for everyone.

Without further ado, here’s what we learned in this year’s survey.

Who took the survey?

We had significant growth in overall participation this year (26%). The majority of respondents were once again software developers (53%) but the margin narrowed considerably when compared to the 2019 survey where they made up close to 70% of the respondent pool. Participation by DBAs grew from around 7% to 12% year over year. There was even greater growth in the DevOps cohort, who made up 19% of this year’s respondents and 12% in 2019.

We also saw a sizable shift towards newer users with more than 51% of 2020 respondents indicating that they had been using Liquibase for a year or less. Just 36% of respondents made up that group in 2019.

What we learned

Most teams are at least using some cloud

Most who are managing workloads in the cloud are using AWS. AWS DBaaS is flourishing (4 of the top 10 database platforms in terms of usage and growth are AWS Aurora & RDS offerings). In an effort to make Liquibase even more accessible to AWS users, we’ve added a Liquibase offering on the AWS Marketplace.

Open source databases are the most popular

In 2020, a majority of respondents are using Liquibase with open-source databases (Postgres, MySQL, and MariaDB) with Oracle and SQL Server rounding out the top 5:

When compared to 2019 survey it looks like Postgres & SQL Server have all of the momentum. SQL Server leads the way in terms of growth with 19% of respondents in 2020, up from 15% in 2019. Postgres usage grew from around 31% to 34% year over year. MariaDB held steady with around 8% of respondents reporting they used the platform each year. MySQL saw a modest decline from 20% to 18% year over year. Oracle posted the biggest decline, dropping from 26% in 2019 to 22% in 2020.

Quality releases are your primary goal

When asked to rate how important each of the above items was in using Liquibase, improving the quality of releases topped the list.

The most requested feature was integrated quality checks. Quality is top of mind! Other top requests:

  • Plugins for other automation tools
  • An automated changelog builder

Your favorite CI/CD tools

  1. Jenkins
  2. GitLabCI
  3. Azure DevOps
  4. GitHub Actions
  5. CircleCI

This year’s ranking of CICD solutions looks like last year’s on the surface with Jenkins and GitLabCI taking the #1 & #2 spots. But relative newcomers in the space have launched into the #3 & #4 spots while making a significant dent in the leaders’ margins, particularly Jenkins’s. While Jenkins was the solution of choice in 2019, used by an impressive 54% of respondents, 2020 usage has dropped to about 30%. GitLabCI dropped from 18% to 12%. Azure DevOps is used by about 11% of 2020 respondents and GitHub Actions is in use by 9%. Neither were reported in 2019.

The full Liquibase experience

Over the past year, we’ve been working on improving the experience for everyone who uses Liquibase. We asked what aspects of the experience you liked and what you didn’t so we can improve.

About the Liquibase product and community:

  • “Easy to work with and stable.”
  • “Very helpful in automation CICD process for databases.”
  • “Saves time converting one db schema to another.”
  • “Need more extensions/databases getting into licensed support.”
  • “Improve the PR handling time.”

About the supporting docs, courses, and website:

  • “Love the certification. The training brought up new ways to use the product.”
  • “Provide more videos on use cases and examples.”
  • “More best practices and templates.”

Takeaways from two years of surveys

Surveys are just one piece of the puzzle for determining what’s going on in the world. Relying on them to represent the whole truth is a pretty big mistake. That being said, they are a great tool for identifying possible trends and developing hypotheses that help you bring clarity to the big picture faster. After analyzing the 2019 & 2020 survey data, I’m testing the following ideas in community and customer conversations these days:

  1. Automating database releases is rising in priority and expanding in scope. The 2020 data shows YoY growth in overall survey participation, growing representation among non-development roles and a higher ratio of Liquibase newcomers to experienced users. This could indicate that more organizations are starting to use Liquibase and they are using it more broadly across their pipelines.
  2. There is a definite shift to open source and cloud database offerings. Cloud usage is absolutely growing. The growth of SQL Server and open source platforms may correspond to their prevalence in AWS and Azure. Oracle usage may be slipping because there are fewer options in those same cloud services.
  3. AWS reigns but Azure is growing quickly. We didn’t ask about Azure SQL in 2019 and I wish we had. The growth in SQL Server usage in 2020 could be explained by increased adoption of Azure SQL but we don’t have the data to confirm that. Should that bear out it, it looks as though Azure is becoming a force to be reckoned with.
  4. Integrated solutions are gaining in popularity. One need to look no further than the growth in all things Azure, the comparatively meteoric rise of GitHub Actions in the CICD tools space and the big decline in Jenkins usage to see that the interest in integrated solutions is growing.

We appreciate all the feedback you’ve given us by taking the survey. We’re always open to more ideas on how to improve your experience. If you have product feedback and want to share it with a Liquibase product manager, set up some time to chat.

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Pete Pickerill
Pete Pickerill
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