Should I #DockerAllTheThings?

A while back I was in a discussion about whether there was a benefit for all organizations to adopt Docker. I was of the opinion that there are scenarios where it just wasn’t a fit. The more I thought about this, the more I realized that the benefits are always there, but some organizations have some issues they have to work out first before they can start reaping those benefits.

When you start looking into containers and their benefits you may come to the conclusion that “this would not work here“. Maybe that’s right. Are you sure?

You need to ask yourself why that is. Why is it that your organization cannot benefit from container tech? Perhaps there’s an underlying issue that needs to be addressed first, like a lack of priority on infrastructure automation. Or a lack of a DevOps culture. Or any number of things. Ultimately, there is one thing I believe is true:

YOU. CAN. NOT. FIX. ORGANIZATION. ISSUES. WITH. TECHNOLOGY.

If you are struggling with your digital transformation, suddenly deciding to Kuberneti-All-The-Dockers is not going to solve that.

(I have decided that Kuberneti is the verb form)

I put together some key benefits of containers for organizations up on sitecore.com, as well as the challenges you might face and how to tackle them. Following this article (linked below) is a good series by my colleague Rob Earlam that can help you get started with Docker:

Are Docker and Kubernetes the right fit for my team?

How to decide if your organization should adopt a container strategy.

I’d love to hear back your thoughts on this and how I could make this better!

Should we host Sitecore on IaaS or PaaS? (Jan 2020)

This started as a question on the community forums, and my answer got so long I decided to capture it here as well.

In general, when you are choosing an infrastructure model the first question you need to ask is what your team is comfortable having responsibility over, and what your organization is willing to pay to have somebody else worry about. You could do it in-house, pay a managed services group or Sitecore partner, or have Sitecore do things for you. Figure out what your team wants to have responsibility for and then that will guide you towards the best hosting model for your production environment.

Continue reading “Should we host Sitecore on IaaS or PaaS? (Jan 2020)”

Sitecore Symposium 2019 – So you think you can DevOps?

This year at Sitecore Symposium we launched a new DevOps track, with two rooms of sessions delivering what you need for day-to-day tactical solutions, but also bigger-picture, strategic guidance. Do you want to know how to deploy your code with Azure DevOps? We got you covered. Or maybe you are wondering how to fit an agile process into a waterfall organization? We got you there too! This track can appeal to both the technical and the business, it’s not all about Solr (though we got that too, thanks Jeremy!)

devops-memes-emcworld-2015-8-638

I am really proud of the sessions that Rob Earlam and I selected for the track this year, I think we have a little bit of something for everybody. Below, find your guide to all things DevOps at this year’s event!

Continue reading “Sitecore Symposium 2019 – So you think you can DevOps?”

Are you ready for the MongoDB 3.4 EOL?

If you are running Sitecore version 8.2.x, you are running MongoDB 3.4. Unfortunately, that also means you are impacted by the announcement by MongoDB that version 3.4 will reach end-of-life in January 2020.

You have some options on how you want to fix this and it sort of depends on how much tolerance your organization has for running production systems that don’t have commercial support from the vendor.

Over on the Sitecore Technical Marketing blog, I outlined a variety of options and provided a few FAQ answers:

 

Preparing your CMS infrastructure for traffic spikes

We’re living in the days of “going viral.” Consumers move faster than ever, and businesses need to be ready to respond to sudden demand the moment it arrives—or risk losing out to competitors.

The right endorsement from the right person can generate global exposure and cause unprecedented numbers of people to flock to your site, with little or no prior warning.

Take Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl halftime show in 2017—millions of people saw her backup dancers in Steve Madden boots and rushed online to order them. That can amount to more traffic than most people dream of in a year, all arriving in seconds.

Major televised events are only one piece of the puzzle. In the modern digital world, digital marketing is aimed purposefully at trying to create demand–and businesses need to be ready to scale up to meet sudden successes from the drop of a tweet.

Crucially, it’s not just about bearing the weight of enormous traffic spikes. It’s about being able to innovate, and capitalize on sudden demand at a moment’s notice. One great way to do that is to leverage cloud hosting for your CMS.

Read more on sitecore.com…

I hate best practices and so do you

NOTE: This article first appeared in 2016 on the nonlinearcreations.com blog.

“What would you say are the best practices for [your thing here]?”

I’m about to slam my head into my keyboard, but I restrain myself. It’s a simple enough question and I probably have the answer. I’ve helped out a lot of folks with this type of question so that they can start moving forward in a more deliberate manner. That is a good thing! Answering this question is usually very easy. Somewhere deep inside, however, I don’t really want you to hear the answer.

Not because I want to hold out on you. Not because I expect you to know the best practices. Not because I have some sort of jaded outlook on the whole thing (well, maybe that plays a part).

I simply am losing the desire to recommend to you what amounts to “what everybody else is doing”.

Continue reading “I hate best practices and so do you”

New Microsoft Planner Due Date Notifications

A short while ago I wrote about our team’s initial adoption of Microsoft Planner. At the time, we were having issues with the due dates feature because there seemed to be no way to view our schedule. A few months later, we ran into another issue with due dates. The complaint? Users were not being notified when their content was due. Since the team was not looking at the plan every day, and had no way to view a schedule, tasks were getting lost and we were having to work around this issue in other ways. What could we do?

As I spent some time after a team meeting discussing this, I discovered Microsoft had actually started development on this feature. As of January 16th, all users now have access! With this feature, you now get emails in your inbox reminding you of tasks that have expired as well as upcoming tasks.

planner_tasks

This was exactly the functionality we needed to make sure the team was reminded about the items that were coming up on their plate.

Bonus: Schedule view

The new Schedule view also gives us a calendar view of our tasks based on due dates. This will make reviewing upcoming tasks even eaiser so we can visualize the distribution of tasks over time. Sometimes, as we reschedule late tasks, we can wind up with too many tasks all clumped together and this is a good way for us to find those clusters.

A good start! I’m looking forward to seeing Microsoft continue to invest in this tool and bring it up to par with others in the field.

 

Continuous Improvement for Sitecore DevOps

Did you miss out on my Montreal SUG presentation a few weeks back? Not to worry, I got your back!

I recorded a run-through of my presentation and uploaded it so you can hear my thoughts on how we can continuously improve and invest in DevOps practices for our Sitecore projects. It’s not exactly what was in Montreal, but close enough 🙂

Want more? Come hear the Effective DevOps for Sitecore panel at Symposium 2017 on Wednesday, October 18th, at 11:15am. I’ll be moderating panelists Kam Figy, Derek Hunziker, and Joe Bissol. Great panel, great content!

 

Microsoft Planner – The task tracker we deserve

For years, I have been a dedicated user of Trello as you may have seen in some blog posts. Recently, however, my team has been using O365 and Microsoft Teams in an effort to push Teams to its limit and get the most out of the integrations Microsoft has put together between all their tools.

In this case, I needed the ability to get some planning put together for a content calendar, so in came Microsoft Planner. Built right into O365, I was able to get started quickly and start assigning tasks. However, I quickly learned that this tool was the hero we deserve, not the hero we need.

Continue reading “Microsoft Planner – The task tracker we deserve”