The Entire Sitecore Platform on Microsoft Azure
Sitecore, experience management software provider, today announced it has expanded its partnership with Microsoft to offer its entire Sitecore Cloud platform on Microsoft Azure. With this expansion of a longstanding partnership with Microsoft, users will enjoy native Azure support for the entire Sitecore solution, including its Experience Manager (XM), Experience Platform (XP), and Sitecore Commerce.
Hot on the heels of the news, our media reporter Laura Myers interviewed Ryan Donovan, Senior Vice President of Product Management at Sitecore, to discuss this announcement more in-depth and inquire how this new expansion is going to address the trends or challenges in the current market:
Sitecore is a Microsoft Gold Independent Software Vendor partner and has been a provider of offerings for Azure since 2010. Last July, here at CMS-Connected, we reported on Sitecore’s announcement on their plan to expand its partnership with Microsoft. Last September, the vendor also announced some important technical news related to that partnership in conjunction with their release of Sitecore Experience Platform (XP) 8.2. At that time, Sitecore said that coming soon would be “native provisioning via Azure Resource Manager, hosting on the Azure App Service, and a fully PaaS-optimized experience leveraging Azure Search and Azure Application Insights.” So with today’s announcement, Sitecore, having already brought its Experience Manager (XM) to Azure, the vendor lived it up to its promise.
During his interview, Ryan said: “The main benefit they are going to take advantage of is that it significantly reduces infrastructure complexity,” and stressed that they have removed a number of the pieces and parts from the stack by going native Azure Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) which results in “a significantly simpler infrastructure for customers and partners.”
This new expansion will address many challenges that customers are facing with. However, Ryan touched upon the two specific challenges that are addressed with today’s announcement. The first of which is time to value. He said that rather than having to go through a very complex infrastructure bill, customers can literally deploy it by a click: “Go get a cup of coffee or get lunch, come back, and it is up and running.” He also added that the amount of maintenance has been significantly reduced as well.
The second challenge he mentioned was scaling. He explained: “One of the beauties of Azure Platform-as-a-Service is the fact that it is effectively instantaneous operation. You can even set that up to be down on an automated basis by just looking at rules.” So when customers see an increase in their website traffic, they can easily scale up accordingly.
Ryan also broke their cloud offering down to the tiers and said: “When you think of our offering, you will see that we have gotten multiple tiers to it. At the bottom of the stack, we have gotten our Azure toolkit which is really aimed at the sophisticated IT operational infrastructure that partners and customers have, and it brings simplicity as well as performance–related benefits.“ For the next level up, he identified Azure Marketplace which gives customers that nice graphical user interface. Also, this layer is where one-click deployment has been managed. Sitecore Manage Cloud sits at the very highest tier of the offering, according to Ryan. He said that their own operation team uses this layer to build and manage the infrastructure so customers don’t even have to think about it.
The expansion will also have an impact on contextual marketing activities as Sitecore claims that the combination of the power of Sitecore Cloud and the speed and agility of Microsoft Azure will save marketers time while allowing them to execute marketing initiatives in the context of customer interactions.
Here are the biggest benefits IT and marketing teams may be excited to take advantage of:
- Speed: Users can simply point-and-click a Sitecore XM or XP deployment in minutes through the Azure Marketplace or deliver more customized Sitecore environments through the Azure Toolkit for fast time to market
- Flexibility: Users can deploy and host their own Sitecore license, or deploy Sitecore as a managed hosted cloud solution either from Sitecore or a Sitecore Solution Provider
- Scalability: Users have the ability to automatically scale up and scale out as campaigns and programs evolve, and consumption-based licensing offers optimal cost control
“Azure allows for greater speed and agility, improves scale and resilience, and all the while saves costs,” said Ryan Donovan in the press release. “Sitecore and Azure is a winning combination, allowing customers to continue to get the intelligence they need to effectively execute marketing initiatives with the benefits of speed and ease.”
Previously, some analysts have been critical of Sitecore’s cloud strategy as they claimed that the vendor has fallen behind its competitors in their shift to the cloud. However, Sitecore has lately been stepped up its game so the latest enhancements seem to have a potential to put them further along. Additionally, their strong relationship with Microsoft has built a solid ground for their on-going cloud strategy.
This is also an exciting news for those Microsoft customers who are on the lookout for a strong customer experience platform on Microsoft Azure as Sitecore has been well-placed in many market research report. For instance, in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant the vendor has been running neck and neck with Adobe in the ‘Leaders’ quadrant, to earn the top spot in Web Content Management for the past seven years.
From Sitecore customers’ perspective, though, the vendor once again demonstrated its strong commitment to ease the workload of both the business users and IT teams. After all, Sitecore is one of the earliest vendors to focus on the customer journey thus they are greatly aware of the importance of greater speed and agility for businesses.