Building microsites in sitecore

Hi,

We've a requirement to build microsites. Around 400 sites to be built and number goes on by 5 sites per week.

Given such huge volume growth, whats the best approach to build \ implement it in sitecore? Any tools \practices?

Note: These sites are almost similar with very few differences.

  • You should definitely look at using an accelerator of some kind. There is Sitecore's own SXA, but you might also look at SCORE from BrainJocks.
  • Yup, is right, the first step is probably getting yourself an accelerator to use as a base. In addition to SCORE and SXA, I can recommend Keystone for Sitecore as well.

    Sitecore Powershell Extensions will likely be your friend so that you can write scripts to provision new sites or perform mass operations across the entire system.

    One of the Multisite Manager implementations is probably a must so that you can manage your site definitions in the CMS instead of needing to deploy new files everytime you have a new site definition.

    You'll want to make sure your site provisioning is automated (creation of any site-specific templates, site definitions, content tree, media library folders) so that you can avoid the manual hassle of trying to remember all the things you need for each site.

    Make sure that your underlying infrastructure is able to scale. You'll want to be able to support CD traffic for the first few sites and then grow as you get more and more traffic. If you can afford up-front provisioning for the traffic of all 400 sites, then go ahead, but it sounds like it will take a few years before all the sites are launched, so if you can use something like app services or Azure IaaS and allow for horizontal or vertical growth, that's probably a good idea.

    Make sure your deployments can be automated and with this many sites you'll want to look into regression testing automation. You will want to make sure that your next deployment won't break the sites you built 40 sites ago.

    If this is the first time you've tried to scale like this, consider pulling in a senior architect who has experience with this (possibly from within your organization or from another Sitecore partner) to help you plan out the solution, infrastructure, deployment model, and testing.
  • In reply to Jason St-Cyr:

    Thanks Jason. It's quite usefule info.
  • In reply to Jason St-Cyr:

    Also, just wanted to understand on the scalability front. Is it good to have site definition for each micrsosite? Can a single sitecore instance have 400+ site definitions within it? Is it possible or a feasible solution?
  • In reply to Jason St-Cyr:

    Also, just wanted to understand on the scalability front. Is it good to have site definition for each micrsosite? Can a single sitecore instance have 400+ site definitions within it? Is it possible or a feasible solution?
  • In reply to VijayaAkkenapally_1364967944:

    Instead of having all site definitions in config - I would suggest moving site definitions to database. Have a look at https://marketplace.sitecore.net/en/Modules/Multiple_Sites_Manager.aspx

  • Just a little more info to add to these two smart posts from Nick and Jason ... Building and deploying 400 sites - micro or not - will require a good operations model as well.

    Platform, configuration management, and automation are a must, and you also need a good operations model to reduce organizational friction ... Including a good governance plan to manage project intake, platform, creative, etc. You are creating a factory, and it benefits you tremendously to make that as efficient as possible.
  • In reply to VijayaAkkenapally_1364967944:

    Sitecore can probably handle that many definitions, but do you want to have all that on a single instance? The number of concurrent authors alone required for licensing makes my head cringe... You might want to think about how many authors you will have, what kind of load you are going to have for the different sites, and plan your infrastructure appropriately. If there is any way to segregate them into logically separated instances then you will have an additional operational benefit of being able to silo off some of the microsites.
  • In reply to Jason St-Cyr:

    Jason,

    Important update here is that these microsites need have a sitedefinition of their own. Basically, a new hostname(domain name) isn't needed for these sites. They need to be part of main domain but with restricted access. In such case, maintaining them as subsites\child nodes should be a viable solution. If you've any other thoughts,,please do share it.
  • In reply to VijayaAkkenapally_1364967944:

    That makes your life even easier. You are just managing a single site, you just happen to have multiple brands inside of it. You will run into the typical Sitecore '100 items' performance issue when you have 400 children immediately below the node, but you can solve that with a bucket if you need to. You will still need to consider the number of concurrent authors you will have for planning your licensing.

    Given it's a single site, you also will be unable to scale by delivering sites on isolated CDs. This means you will need to handle requests for all microsites on all CDs, so plan your infrastructure accordingly with the appropriate load balancing strategy in place to handle your traffic.