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.
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:
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
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:
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:
Simplifies installation and configuration
No specialist knowledge needed
Globally distributed data centers – ensuring high availability
No need to manage scalability
Security - spread data across multiple locations
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