The digital customer experience continues to evolve as advancements are made in the areas of software technology and architecture design.
However, these rapid advancements wouldn’t be possible without the underlying standards and principles that support exponential growth. One notable example is the combination of software development and IT operations best practices and philosophies known as DevOps.
According to Statista, almost 80% of organizations believe that DevOps is important when it comes to scaling software development initiatives.
The ability of development teams and IT operations to identify and respond quickly to changes allows them to monitor systems and maintain high-availability.
A digital experience platform like Sitecore can power the entire digital customer experience for your organization with content and experience management, commerce, personalization, and more.
To ensure that those experiences remain intact, it’s necessary to address small issues before they spiral out of control. In this article, we’ll dive into DevOps with Sitecore to understand how to maintain uptime of your Sitecore solution.
What is DevOps?
DevOps allows software teams to deliver features on time and within budget, but what is it? Gartner defines DevOps as a change in IT culture.
It refers to a system-oriented approach and a focus on rapid application delivery through the adoption of agile and lean practices. DevOps’ focus is on people and culture, with a goal of improving collaboration between development teams and operations.
This improved collaboration helps software teams to move at a quicker pace than with traditional software development processes, thus allowing them to improve the service to their customers.
While other software development processes can create silos that limit collaboration, DevOps removes those silos, allowing teams to share metrics and work towards a common organizational goal.
DevOps also promotes the practice of continuous integration, continuous delivery and continuous deployment (CI/CD).
Continuous integration means that developers merge code changes to the central repository as often as they can. CI is an automation process that prevents too many branches of an app from conflicting with each other in the development space.
Continuous integration emphasizes test automation to ensure that the app is still functioning properly when new code commits are added.
Continuous delivery is an automated release process which allows all code changes to be deployed to a testing environment, with a goal of making code deployment easier.
Continuous deployment allows changes that are made to be deployed to a production environment where customers can use the application. This automated deployment process prevents operations teams from being overwhelmed by manual processes.
Sitecore DevOps 101
So what does DevOps have to do with a content management system like Sitecore?
Legacy platforms made DevOps challenging to implement due to difficulties in deployment. As customer expectations and the digital landscape evolve, so too do the requirements for creating digital experiences.
Content creation and new feature delivery aren’t limited to once a week or a few times a month. Instead, brands need to be able to create new experiences on a continuous basis, and this requires marketing teams to continually create new content.
But IT teams also need to be ready to respond quickly to requests. They must be able to collaborate with each other to keep up with the demand of new features and improved application functionality.
Development teams are responsible for maintaining system performance, feature implementation and anticipating customer needs. Modern CMS solutions like Sitecore can help make creating and delivering these experiences possible, but DevOps ensures that the experiences are always available whenever customers want them.
Benefits of DevOps
- Faster Delivery: Automation and feedback can help developers fix issues quickly and allow for a smooth software development life cycle.
- Increased Collaboration:The digital world moves around the clock. Developers and IT teams can work better and collaborate towards achievement of business goals.
- Improved Customer Experience: When teams fix bugs before they happen, they can deploy updates more frequently, improve recovery time and reduce failure. All of these things lead to long term benefits for the customer.
- Increased Innovation: DevOps can lead to happier teams and increased productivity. When teams are no longer worried about things breaking, they can spend more time focused on tasks that move the needle.
- Improved Transparency: DevOps provides you the flexibility to begin testing earlier in the development cycle. This gives you added transparency into what’s happening during each stage of development and makes it easier to solve issues, saving you time and resources in the long run.
- Better Quality: With less problems during the production process, your application is likely to look like what you expect at the first stage, reducing back and forth between developers and IT teams or you and your customers.
- Improved Reliability: The DevOps process allows you to continually monitor for changes, reducing any uncertainty surrounding the quality of your product and giving you more confidence in its reliability.
Oshyn DevOps for Sitecore
Oshyn is a Sitecore partner that provides you with the tools and support you need to properly maintain and enhance your Sitecore implementation.
With DevOps, Oshyn can make sure your site is running smoothly, swiftly updated, and has the capacity to deal with unexpected traffic surges through continuous monitoring. Here are some more details about how we handle DevOps for Sitecore:
24/7 Monitoring & Preventative Maintenance
SLA-based support provides monitoring of Sitecore websites all day and night so you don’t have to worry about any unexpected downtime.
System patches can reduce security issues and keep the system running smoothly.
Active Monitoring and Alerts
Metrics and alerts are put in place to continuously identify problems once certain thresholds have been met.
In the production monitoring space for Sitecore environments, Oshyn looks for metrics data generated by cloud resources. We monitor traditional metrics such as CPU and memory on virtual machines and disk space, but also Requests Per Second, Errors Per Second, Requests Blocked By WAF Per Second and Database Connections. Alerts are then created by placing thresholds on the metrics so that issues are noticed and can be solved quickly.
Cloud Architecture Optimization
Oshyn’s Sitecore solutions are typically built on Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS). These provide better performance and security, lower costs and more control compared to on-premise solutions.
Not only is our installation of these environments repeatable and efficient, but our DevOps best practices also keep architecture well-oiled, allowing you to increase system performance.
CI/CD & Automated Testing
With CI/CD and test automation, you can maintain the stability of the entire system while still deploying new features swiftly and safely.
Full Visibility Reporting
Oshyn provides real-time dashboards, historical statistics and alerts and notifications. Check on the status of your site at any time and maintain a record of uptime statistics to identify specific events that caused issues in performance. Also, receive prompt alerts that allow you to respond to unexpected problems faster.
Test automation reports give developers and content managers the ability to track progress over time of functionality, performance, SEO and security. Plus, with dashboards, it becomes easier for managers and executives to view data and make decisions.
Oshyn’s wealth of Sitecore knowledge allows us to help you get the most out of your Sitecore implementation. Our DevOps for Sitecore offering — as well as our Uptime service — take advantage of our extensive knowledge, our refined processes, and our experienced personnel to help you optimize your software infrastructure and scale effectively. And our DevOps tools help us to continue maintaining and operating your Sitecore site to keep it in the best condition.