Architecture options

Last updated Wednesday, March 30, 2016 in Sitecore Experience Platform for Administrator, Developer

When you install the Sitecore Experience Platform with the Sitecore Experience Database for the first time, there are three main architecture options that you can choose from:

  • On-premise server solutions
  • Hybrid server solutions
  • Cloud server solutions

Whether you choose to run Sitecore as a cloud, on-premise, or hybrid solution depends on the type and size of your organization. For example, a small organization may only need a few servers and therefore a public cloud solution could be suitable, whereas a large enterprise organization may need its own data center.

On-premise server solutions

In an on-premise solution, you install all your components, such as Sitecore application servers and MongoDB, on your own physical servers.

You can install Sitecore as an on-premise solution in one of the following ways:

  • As a single-server, standalone environment (not scalable). All components are on a single server computer.
  • As a multi-server, scalable environment (fully scalable). The multi-server environment consists of servers for each Sitecore component, for example, content delivery, content management, collection database, session state, reporting service, reporting database, and processing servers. You also have the option of expanding this environment to handle big data by implementing vertical and horizontal scaling.

Note

Only install a standalone environment for development or testing purposes. For a production environment, you should not install all xDB components together on a single server. A standalone environment is not scalable and cannot offer the same performance as a multi-server environment.

Advantages and disadvantages of on-premise server solutions:

Advantages

Disadvantages

More control

Unlimited configuration options

Potentially unlimited hard disk space depending on budget

Can choose whether to use solid state drives (SSD) or hard disk drives (HDD)

Complicated hardware setup

Costly to create and maintain

Time-consuming to administer

Costly and time-consuming to expand/upgrade and scale storage

Requires multiple data centers for geographically distributed failure zones - easier and cheaper than public cloud

Note

Public cloud providers can also offer unlimited disk space. The limitation in both on-premise and cloud solutions is your budget. It is much easier and faster to scale storage in the public cloud than it is within your own premises.

Hybrid server solutions

In a hybrid solution, you install some components on-premise while others components are in the cloud. For example, a hybrid server solution could consist of the following:

  • A multi-server, scalable Sitecore environment installed on site (see the previous section for more detail about on-premise solutions). This can include content delivery, content management, processing, and reporting servers set up at an organization’s data center.
  • MongoDB collection database server in the cloud (see the next section for details).

Advantages and disadvantages of hybrid solutions:

Advantages

Disadvantages

MongoDB in the cloud – less need for specialist MongoDB knowledge and expertise – no new staff or training required

Ease of maintenance and upgrade.

Less control over scaling the collection database to handle large numbers of contacts and visits

Possible limitations when using MongoDB with some private cloud solutions - limited amount of data storage

Cloud server solutions

In a full cloud solution, all Sitecore Experience Platform components are in the cloud.

For example, a fully scalable cloud environment – this includes all Sitecore xDB components, such as content delivery, content management, processing, reporting servers, session state, and MongoDB (collection database).

Advantages and disadvantages of cloud solutions:

Advantages

Disadvantages

Simplifies installation and configuration

No specialist knowledge needed

Globally distributed data centers – ensuring high availability

Automatic backup

No need to manage scalability

Security - spread data across multiple locations

Cost

Less control – over hardware and scalability strategy

Not always suitable for large organizations that have their own data centers - therefore, a hybrid solution may be a good option

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