Category Archives: Devops

Test and demo environments in an instant: How to pre-provision content to the master and web database in Sitecore containers in 5 simple steps

In our company, we use Unicorn for content serialization, in order to be able to deploy “applicative” content like templates across our environments. For dev and test, we also provide content that we use for regression testing in these environments; we don’t (want to) sync our production content to these environments. We also had the wish to spin up environments upon request, with all of this content available in an instant, for example to validate pull requests. With 20000 yml files, the synchronization process takes at least 45 minutes: this takes way too long for a fast regression test and doesn’t fit in a fast “shift left” strategy. With the introduction of containers, things have changed, as full pre-provisioned environments can be spinned up in literally minutes.

Note 1: My current opinion is that this is not a feasible way to deploy content into production!
Note 2: I recently found out that this is the same approach as the demo team uses to provide their Lightroom demo

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Enabling the application map in Application Insights for Sitecore to monitor your Sitecore infrastructure and webclients

In the out of the box configuration for Sitecore on Azure, application insights has been enabled by default. However, this configuration is optimally configured. In normal situations, it’s very valuable to have insights in your infrastructure: what connections provide a lot of errors, latency or other issues. This blogpost explains on how to get these insights with for Sitecore.

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Zero downtime deployments with Sitecore on Azure

From a business perspective, downtime is not desirable, ever. And if possible, you want to deploy as often as possible, even multiple times a day Maybe even 50 times a day for complex multi-instance  environments. And if there would be any downtime, that should be during nights, as most visitors would be asleep at that time. From a technical perspective, deployments should occur during business hours: all the developers and administrators are working during these hours, thus issues (if any) could be resolved as every engineer would be available.

We all know about this story, but how many organizations really implement this scenario? This blogpost will show what challenges exist when deploying web applications and how easy it is to implement zero downtime for Sitecore on Azure. The move to Azure not only opens up opportunities for automatic scaling (please make sure to watch his video as well!), but also offers possibilities for enhanced continuity! This blog post does not show off how to integrate with Visual Studio Team Services and Microsoft Release Manager, that will probably be a future topic. Don’t want to read? Watch this video!

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