You may apply custom database tables sometimes when you need to handle data that does not conform with the provided Optimizely table structure.
When you create a new Optimizely Content Management System (CMS) site from the Optimizely Visual Studio integration, it automatically creates the database using the Optimizely schema. Each version of the database schema targets a specific version of the product. Optimizely CMS supports several SQL Server high-availability options for availability and performance of the database, which include fail-over clustering and database mirroring.
When upgrading, never directly access the tables or stored procedures in the database, or create custom tables that interfere with the tables created by Optimizely. Instead, always use the documented API, to avoid backward compatibility issues on database level.
## Manage custom tables
If you need to use custom database tables for your implementation in Digital Experience Platform, you have the following options:
Use an [initialization module](🔗). The initialization module should take a dependency to _EPiServer.Web.InitializationModule_, so the Optimizely automatic schema updates can run. In the module, you can use migration tools such as [Fluent Migrator (GitHub)](🔗) for altering database schemas.
Use [Entity Framework Code First Migrations (MSDN)](🔗) to migrate databases.
You can access custom tables only using the standard connection string (that is, `
EPiServerDB`). If you need custom metadata for entity framework, consider using the [connection builder](🔗) referencing the standard connection string.
Adding Custom Application Settings and/or Custom Connection Strings is supported only through client code. Optimizely DXP does not support custom settings within the Azure Portal.
## Related topics
[Installing database schema](🔗)
[Automatic schema updates](🔗)
[Creating an initialization module](🔗)