Hosting Sitecore in Azure: A guide to the basics

Paul Plakut, Chief Technical Officer // January 09, 2017

Azure makes Sitecore hosting easy

There is a lot of discussion of public cloud based solutions right now. In this article we'll try to cover the basics on hosting things like Sitecore customer experience platform using Microsoft's Azure solution.

Microsoft Azure provides Managed Services and Development Operations teams with an extremely responsive and scalable platform that is perfectly suited for hosting many types of Sitecore server environments. The Layer One Media team have experience configuring, managing, and hosting multi-tiered server environments in both Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) configurations. In addition, Azure’s massive suite of tools provides the ability to rapidly provision and deploy properly sized server environments anywhere in the world. This ultimately allows us to provide rich, performance optimized hosting experiences to geographically targeted audiences, and ensures that technology at scale is never a barrier. Simply put, Azure make Sitecore hosting easy.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

The Sitecore Infrastructure-as-a-Service hosting model is suited for business cases where specific machine or security configurations are required. IaaS hosting models utilize Virtual Machines which can be sized and allocated based on many different factors – cost, geography, purpose, traffic requirements, etc. This environment model can be easily scaled out using Availability Sets, or can be scaled up by dynamically resizing Virtual Machine specifications.

Pros

  • Full control of machine configuration settings
  • Ability to install any software
  • Easy to dynamically scale
  • Virtual Machine resources through sizing
  • Compatible with any version of Sitecore

Cons

  • Higher cost

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

Having recently gained full platform support, the Sitecore Platform-as-a-Service hosting model takes advantage of Azure App Services to provide a hosting environment that dynamically scales based on application consumption. While, older versions of Sitecore can be modified to work with App Services, newer versions of Sitecore have been specifically designed to work with the more scalable Service Oriented Architecture of the Azure App Services model. This architecture provides greater flexibility and responsiveness at scale.

Pros

  • Highly scalable
  • Dynamically scalable resources based on consumption
  • Consumption based pricing typically resulting in a lower cost

Cons

  • Only available with newer Sitecore versions
  • No control over the hosting machine
  • Control of the application only through configuration
Here's a link to the Sitecore documentation on this topic where you can read more, or reach out to us to speak with one of our MVP's about your specific needs.

Sitecore, Web Experience Platforms

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