Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Sitecore 9 configuration roles: content management, reporting, processing

Sitecore 9 configuration roles

A while ago I had to setup a few Sitecore servers with a topology as:
  • Content Delivery
  • Content Management (and all the rest)
In Sitecore 9 things have changed a little bit when setting up server roles. As we could read in the documention we have these roles at our disposal:
  • ContentDelivery
  • ContentManagement
  • Processing
  • Reporting
  • Standalone
For our CD server, the choice was easy: we set the server to the ContentDelivery role.
For our CM server, it was not that obvious. As the documentation mentioned combining roles is possible and it even mentions "ContentManagement, Processing, Reporting" as an example we though this would be a good idea. 

ContentManagement, Processing, Reporting

Unfortunately immediately after setting these roles, the server crashed. We noticed that we had to set remote settings for processing and reporting server which seemed very weird as our processing and reporting was not remote. 

I ended up asking this on SSE and also to Sitecore Support. Support logged this as a bug and gave us the solution - details on this can be found on SSE, so no need to copy them here.

With these changes, we had no need to set any remote settings. And the site worked!

But a few wise men asked me: "why are you doing this?". The only answer I had at that time was: "because I can"..  which is maybe not the best answer when explaining a server setup :)


Standalone

Before Sitecore 9 and the configuration roles we would have had a setup for this CM server that is now similar to a Standalone. Because that was easy. And disabling and enabling files was not...

So why not use standalone role now? Well, we assumed that as this server is not a content delivery one we would benefit from defining the roles. But just assuming is as wicked as using roles just because you can...

Compare configs

So let's compare the resulting configs.

There were quite some differences actually. I won't go into all the details as that is probably just boring but let's focus on some main points: [SO = standalone, CMPR = ContentManagement,Processing,Reporting]
  • databases: in a SO setup, core and master are set as default databases, in a CMPR setup these are all set to web
  • tracking: in a CMPR setup entries are removed regarding RobotDetection, form dropouts, session commits, content testing,..  
  • EXM: a lot of entries removed in CMPR, especially on tracking
So without going into details, I would assume that when not running in Standalone the website running on the ContentManagement server might not be doing your tracking and testing correctly and if entrying from a mail you'll also miss out.

But.. is this important? Will it make the server more performant? 
I think not. 

So what do you need to do? Well, you have a choice..  Also consider if you are using the server as a true test environment (using an extra publishing target perhaps) you probably do want ContentDelivery enabled, meaning a standalone setup.

The easy choice is: set it to standalone.
But.. if you would have separate Processing and/or Reporting roles, would you add ContentDelivery as a role to the ContentManagement server? Probably/maybe not.. so why do that when those roles get combined?

Because it's easy... :)

via GIPHY

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