Sitecore Experience Platform(XP) provides a complete suite of content management & digital marketing tools which allows enterprises to build, manage and deliver personalized content at scale. The platform is backed by a rich data layer which provides a 360 view of customer data & actionable machine learning generated insights.
Sitecore XP platform features are supported by, at the very least, 12 application roles along with databases & search indexes. For implementations that handle large volumes of content, geographically distributed content & marketing users and/or large number of site visits, Sitecore can be deployed in an XP Scaled topology which allows the flexibility to vertically & horizontally scale these roles to meet the business demands.
Challenges in Deploying Sitecore XP on Virtual Machines
In order to deploy the XP scaled topology On Prem or on virtual machines, Sitecore provides an Installation framework along with web deploy packages & configuration files which serve as a starting point to any deployment. While this is a great option to get started with Sitecore deployments there is quite a bit of work to do, to setup a production grade scaled environment.
Some of the common questions that come up are:
- How can the infrastructure be scripted to account for reliable spin up of production & non-production environments?
- What is the approach to structuring the infrastructure creation templates to ensure that production environment is highly available & scalable?
- How can environments be scripted in a way that they can be torn down along with all their dependencies, if not in use?
- What are some of the additional services that need to be enabled during environment creation to ensure adequate maintenance & tuning of the platform?
Tackling these questions can be time consuming & takes away focus of technology teams from building features/websites on the platform. However, for customers that are looking to deploy Sitecore on AWS Cloud there is a faster way to spin your environments and accelerate your infrastructure buildout — AWS QuickStart for Sitecore XP 9.3.
What is AWS QuickStart for Sitecore XP 9.3?
AWS Quickstart for Sitecore XP 9.3 is an accelerator that deploys each Sitecore XP platform in a high availability architecture. Each Sitecore XP role is deployed in an auto scaling group and the content & customer data is persisted in Amazon RDS.
Here is a breakdown of the different AWS services used and the purpose they serve in deploying Sitecore XP on AWS:
Key Considerations when using AWS QuickStart for Sitecore 9.3 XP
AWS Quickstart for Sitecore 9.3 can be customized/extended by downloading the templates from the shared repository. When using the AWS QuickStart for Sitecore 9.3 XP the following considerations will help plan activities related to infrastructure enablement:
Reference Workflow for Provisioning Sitecore XP with QuickStart
In-order to manage Sitecore 9.3 XP infrastructure and handle customization that is required as a result of the considerations mentioned above, it is important to embrace the Infrastructure as Code approach to maintain consistency.
The following diagram represents a reference workflow that a team at Slalom Consulting used to create & maintain a Sitecore XP Scaled environment bootstrapped using AWS QuickStart, for a large scale client implementation:
Jenkins invokes Terraform planning & application of cloud & monitoring resources. Sitecore XP 9.3 is templated in CloudFormation which is triggered and managed by Terraform. Post provisioning scripts update the deployment targets & variables in Octopus.
AWS QuickStart for Sitecore XP 9.3 is an effective accelerator to enable orchestration of a scaled Sitecore 9.3 XP platform. The capabilities of the Quickstart coupled with some of the considerations highlighted above can help plan, estimate the cost & effort involved in spinning up predictable Sitecore XP environments & automating your infrastructure setup & tear-down activities.