DATABASE Backward & Forward Compatibility on cloud


  • "You should never tie database migrations to application deploys or vice versa. By minimising dependencies you enable faster, easier and cleaner deployments."
  • "Backward compatibility with older versions of a database schema is typically something to avoid, and hacking your Data Access Layer to support multiple schema versions feels like a design smell."
  • "Forward compatibility is tricky because you have old code running that now need to handle a new use-case it was not designed to handle when it was initially written."
Proposed solutions

1. Migrate data to catalog

Persists data in catalog structure.


  • Time
  • Money
  • ALL code has to be backward AND forward compatible.
  • Not all metadata is in catalog structure

2. table versioning

Create a copy from original table with the new changes.


  • Legacy Code
  • Complexity on our code
  • Database chaos
  • Time

3. single data access service

All data should be persisted and loaded using a single service. This service should handle database schema changes and deliver data according the version of the client.

  • Backward compatibility: use default value in case the clients have not been deployed yet and do not send the new field.
  • Forward compatibility: Old service versions have to ignore unknown fields and parameters, the services are resilient to API extension.


  • Change current architecture
  • Time and cost
  • Performance


  • Every change you make must be backward compatible with the rest of the system.
  • A cleaner solution is to ensure that your code is always running against the version of the schema which that code has been written for.
  • Store every change in the database schema
  • SQL script files for downgrade and upgrade
  • Every SQL script file must be immutable after it is deployed to production or staging environment.
  • All changes in the database’s schema and reference data have to be applied through the scripts. Neither of them can be applied manually.
  • Autotesting

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