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Sitecore's Moving to .NET Core: Here's What You Should Know

Posted: June 14, 2017

The announcement first came when Darren Guarnaccia, Sitecore’s Executive Vice President and Global Leader of Partnerships and Alliances sat down with Erika Morphy of CMSWires, to discuss the transition back in September 2016. Guarnaccia explained that Sitecore would start to incrementally rebuild its entire stack to run on Microsoft's open source, cross-platform framework.

What does that mean for you, as a Sitecore user? Let's break it down.

Disruption Will Be Minimal

"Incrementally" implies that Sitecore will re-architect its technology stack on a piecemeal basis, integrating .NET Core features into its platform in tandem with iterative updates. Therefore, you shouldn't expect your Windows Server 2012 R2-based content management system to crash.

In fact, if your marketing team uses Sitecore Experience Platform 8.2's Advanced Publishing feature, it's actually running a bit of .NET Core. The back-end features a "highly parallelized distribution engine" that takes advantage of globally distributed cloud deployments. Essentially, .NET Core's logic reduces the amount of time needed for end-users to receive content, no matter where they're located.

Sitecore Will (Eventually) Be Compatible With Linux

Many tech journalists, such as Computerworld's Steven Vaughan-Nichols, maintain that "open source has won."

It's easy to see why many would agree. According to Microsoft, approximately one-third of the virtual machines in its Azure cloud service are Linux distros. The company isn't shying away from the open source operating system: It recently became a Linux Foundation Platinum member.

In light of .NET Core's cross-platform functionality, it's not hard to imagine that business-savvy technologists will bring Sitecore onto Linux, whether it be SUSE, Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Ubuntu. Here are a few possible advantages of running Sitecore on Linux:

●      You can use SFTP sessions to securely transfer Sitecore files from one host to another.

●      Linux has a reputation for delivering reliability, thus decreasing the chances of system crashes.

●      Developers can take advantage of open source applications that enable Sitecore to communicate with third-party systems.

With respect to day-to-day operations, Linux compatibility will encourage Sitecore developers to collaborate with sysadmins specializing in the OS.

Sitecore’s Architecture Will Take Advantage of Microservices

Guarnaccia maintained that Sitecore is moving away from "big, heavy, monolithic applications" in favor of a "lighter-weight" composition. This sounds like Sitecore will soon be an application built on microservices.

.NET Core lets developers create systems based on stateful, stateless, dynamically scalable or independent microservices. What does this mean for Sitecore?

A microservices architecture could lead to more developer liberty. If Sitecore chooses to configure features of its Experience Platform to operate independently, this could enable Sitecore developers to connect disparate functions to support highly specific business processes.

For example, Data Exchange Framework, Data-at-Rest Encryption and all of the other features in Sitecore XP 8.2 may (eventually) operate as standalone services. If a marketer wants a website to adjust its features according to the preferences of specific individuals, a developer may tell Data Exchange Framework to send contextual data to Reduced Time to Market (Sitecore's wireframe toolset).

With open source often comes greater flexibility. These changes won't happen overnight. Yes, there will probably be some minor growing pains along the way, but that progress will eventually lead to a faster, more agile Sitecore.

These improvements mean the potential for a quicker ascension through Sitecore’s Customer Experience Maturity Matrix. If you’re not familiar with the CX Maturity Matrix, check out our recent blog. If you want to learn more about context marketing to deliver personalized customer experiences, give this one a read.