I've been assigned a project where we have an active secondary environment that I'm confident that Availability Groups would address but have some questions that I hope someone can answer for me.
The situation :
I'm trying to resolve isn't the standard business continuity or disaster recovery but to expedite the release of an upgraded (schema changed) environment.
Currently the databases/UI/cubes that support our customer facing systems get an new release every 8 weeks and on that release weekend it will take 24 hours to apply new schema, apply data backfills, and to do system maintenance like rebuilding index and restarting servers.
The hope is to have a duplicate environment that we could update prior to the release date and 'swap' over minimizing the downtime to our customers. I'm primarily concerned with having a form of replicated databases that stay current with regards to data but that the secondary could have schema modifications made to it and I'm not sure if Availability Groups are the best answer for that.
Besides re-architecting the environment is there another technology I should consider to address my need to have 'hot swap' secondary environment that can be upgraded?