xConnect overview

For more detailed information about the relationship between xConnect and other areas of the system, view the XP Scaling and Architecture Guide.

What is xConnect?

xConnect is the service layer that sits in between the xDB and any trusted client, device, or interface that wants to read, write, or search xDB data. Communication must happen over HTTPS and clients must have the appropriate certificate thumbprint.

No system has direct access to the collection database or search indexes. Systems that are internal to the xDB, such as Processing, must also use xConnect to access xDB data.

In practical terms, xConnect exposes a web API end point. The diagram below shows xConnect in a vertically scaled architecture, where xConnect has been extracted to a Collection and Search server.

xConnect is a service layer

xConnect exists independently of Sitecore itself and does not have any dependencies on the Sitecore kernel. Developer workstations will have two separate IIS websites, two web roots, and two URLs - one for your client (such as an instance of Sitecore), and one for xConnect:

In a vertically scaled production environment, xConnect is installed on a dedicated Collection and Search server:

Note

xConnect can also be split into dedicated xConnect Collection and xConnect Search servers.

Both locally and in a scaled environment, the client application is only aware of xConnect end point. There is no direct connection to the underlying databases or search indexes.

xConnect implements the oData protocol

xConnect implements the oData protocol. The oData protocol define a set of standards for building and consuming RESTful APIs. Visit the oData website to find out more. By oData convention, the service root is: http://[xconnecthost]:[port]/odata. You can view the complete oData schema for xConnect at: http://[xconnecthost]:[port]/odata/$metadata.

xConnect is new

xConnect and the xConnect Client API are brand new - they are not a refactor of existing methods of working with xDB data. Refer to the Web Tracking documentation for more information about the relationship between the Tracker API (including ContactManager and ContactRepository) and the xConnect Client API on a Content Delivery Server.

xConnect is provider-based

xConnect’s modular architecture makes it easy for developers to swap search providers - for example, xConnect Search supports Azure Search or Solr.

Other Sitecore Experience Platform services and APIs

The term xConnect describes the services and APIs that support the collection and search of experience data. This includes:

  • xConnect Collection service
  • xConnect Search service
  • xConnect Client API
  • xConnect Search Indexer

The following services are considered part of the xDB, which is responsible or the storage and processing of the collected data:

  • Processing

  • Reporting

  • Marketing Automation, which includes:

    • Marketing Automation Operations service and client API
    • Marketing Automation Reporting service and client API
    • Marketing Automation Engine
  • Reference Data, which includes:

    • Reference Data Service and client API

Refer to the scaling and architecture guide for more information about the relationship between xConnect and the xDB.