Guest Post: Now In the Cloud, Web Content Management and Authoring with Sitecore and Windows Azure

Editor’s Note: Today’s guest post comes from Jean-Paul Gomes, Corporate Vice President at Sitecore, which builds business application software that solves modern day problems for a wide range of companies and organizations. Sitecore software consists of platforms for Web Content Management and Customer Engagement, which includes website solutions and integrated automation of marketing tasks and e-commerce.

It’s been said that Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) provides access to the cloud “without all the drama.” Today, Sitecore gives Windows Azure developers access to drama-free, cloud based Web Content Management (WCM) and authoring capabilities.

The combination of Windows Azure and Sitecore makes it much easier for you to:

  • Retain high levels of control over your Sitecore solution
  • Scale websites quickly and easily to new geographies
  • Respond immediately to business needs and surges in demand
  • Enjoy low costs of entry and ongoing operations.

From On-premise to the Cloud, in Less Than an Hour

Windows Azure gives you a global deployment platform for Sitecore public-facing web servers. With Sitecore CMS Windows Azure Edition 2.0, you have two rapid deployment options:

  • Hybrid: Core and Master Sitecore servers are deployed locally at the customer’s facilities behind the firewall. Content authoring takes place on premise, while public-facing Sitecore web servers are hosted at Windows Azure data centers. The Windows Azure platform links to the on-premise Sitecore application and servers, seamlessly and reliably, and content is published out to the Windows Azure servers.
  • Pure Cloud: Content authoring and delivery both are conducted entirely from Windows Azure. Here, the Sitecore Master database is maintained on Windows Azure. Multi-instance authoring is deployed in a single Windows Azure location, which then publishes content out to all other locations in Windows Azure. 

Switching Sitecore Applications to Windows Azure is Easy

The process of converting a Sitecore CMS application from being hosted on-premise to Windows Azure-enabled can take less than an hour. Sitecore CMS Windows Azure Edition provides a user interface that runs from within the Sitecore desktop to:

  • Convert the current website into Windows Azure format
  • Convert the SQL database into Windows Azure SQL Database format
  • Manage deployment of databases and packages to Windows Azure
  • Start instances (servers)
  • Manage upgrades

Watch this video for a succinct explanation of how Sitecore websites can be easily deployed on Windows Azure.

Which WCM apps are right for Windows Azure Deployment?

The high levels of scalability and flexibility that are the hallmarks of Windows Azure solutions are ideal for Sitecore CMS-powered websites that:

  • Have known (or unknown) demand spikes: Websites that experience sudden demand spikes and need additional capacity can be readily served by Windows Azure’s global capacity-on-demand capabilities.
  • Are seasonal: Seasonal sites – common in retail, sports, entertainment, media and many other industries – are extremely cost-effective to deploy on a PaaS service delivery mode. There’s no need to build out costly infrastructure to support websites that may have life spans of several weeks or months.
  • Are in non-regulated industries: Because public-facing Sitecore web servers are hosted at Windows Azure data centers, the PaaS deployment model is well-suited for websites in non-regulated industries. Regulated industries, such as pharmaceutical, financial and others, require stringent, behind-the-firewall staging and security.

To learn more, download Sitecore’s white paper, “Blue Sky Possibilities: Sitecore CMS Azure Edition”. And feel free to email me any questions at jpg@sitecore.net. Thanks! 

        – By Jean-Paul Gomes, Corporate Vice President, Sitecore