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Self-service vs. DCT developer experience

Data Control Tower now provides a central experience for developers. Whether a developer prefers to leverage Delphix via API, integration, or UI, DCT delivers the ability to quickly access data from any connected Delphix engine, and the common capabilities to drive application development and testing.

Previously, Delphix offered a local addon application called Self-Service (or Jet Stream) that was attached to applicable data engines. Self-Service provided an interface to access pre-provisioned datasets encapsulated in "Self-Service containers", which would be made available by admin configuration. 

Data Control Tower has taken the most common operations and use-cases, and has made this experience accessible to developers via API, integration, and UI. This article will describe the key use-case and operational overlap, as well as the differences between the local engine Self-Service experience and DCT's developer experience.

Key similarities

  1. Developer access to Delphix Data
    The DCT developer experience is geared toward driving access to data, with all of the same time-based operations to enable application development and testing. Operations (accessible via the API, integration, or UI) include refresh, rewind, start/stop, enable/disable, bookmark, bookmark share, and timeflow visibility/access. 

  2. Developer timeflow history
    A common UI benefit in Self-Service is the ability to visualize past timeflows (see Timeline history for more detail), which acts like a testing record. Every time a developer runs a test and rewinds/refreshes, that past test results are stored in Delphix as a timeflow. DCT has both API and UI instrumentation to make the visualization and curation of timeflows incredibly simple.

  3. Data-as-Code
    Developers can use DCT bookmarks to reference a point in time on a VDB (or group of VDBs) with a developer-set retention period and human-readable name. This is valuable for development teams as they evolve application code. Whenever a code change necessitates a new database schema, a developer can bookmark a VDB that is formatted to work with that particular code branch. This empowers development teams to always have access to a viable test data set for any and code branches of an application. 

Key differences

  1. DCT delivers a central interface powered by its converged architecture
    This means that developers have a single location to log into in order to access and manipulate their virtual data sets. 

  2. User experience
    The DCT developer experience UI has completely been reworked to make developer access to Delphix data easy and intuitive. This experience shows itself in three UI tabs, Active Timeline, Timeline History, and Bookmarks, that are located in each VDB's detail menu. This experience is meant to be used by all Delphix users (admins and developers, especially) and will be tailored to the individual based on the DCT Access Control system.

  3. No template/container model
    Previously, engine administrators needed to create templates encapsulating one or more related VDBs and provision new VDBs into a developer-accessible container. This model required manual administration that created bottlenecks for data access, which was especially prohibitive for automation use-cases. The benefit of this model was two-fold: first, containers represented a miniature sandbox for developers (using a Self-Service user role) and second, bulk operations could be performed on all container-grouped VDBs while maintaining referential synchronicity, a valuable attribute for integration testing. 

  4. DCT Access Control replaces the developer sandbox enabled by Self-Service containers
    Developers simply log into DCT and can view and act upon data that they are entitled to access with operations tightly bounded by their defined role. DCT's Access Control system has the ability to automate both user membership of access groups and entitlement access via attribute-defined scoped roles. In addition, roles can be customized in DCT such that granular permissions can be extended and restricted down to both access group and user levels. 

  5. DCT VDB Groups replace the Self-Service container grouping mechanism
    Currently only available via API, VDB groups enable the association of one or more VDBs for bulk operations while maintaining referential synchronicity.

  6. Time operations consolidation
    The developer experience UI consolidates the many time-based operations across Continuous Data and Self-Service (e.g. refresh, rewind, rollback, restore, reset, etc.) into a single operation; refresh. From the DCT UI, clicking refresh will take users to a contextualized screen that simplifies time operations by focusing on what timeline (and what time) the user would like to align to (parent, self, or relative). 

  7. No "branching"
    Branching in Self-Service introduced the notion of task-specific timelines, each with its own associated sets of timeflows. This was a concept that was heavily tied to the "template/container" model and is obviated by the DCT Access Control system that can enable gated provisioning access to a developer. If a new timeline is needed for a separate task, you can provision a new VDB. 

DCT has a Delphix-supported integration with ServiceNow, which is commonly used as a developer resource-request tool. Users can build custom developer-centric workflows with any operation currently instrumented through the DCT API layer.

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