Is Sitecore Azure right for you?

Posted 12/11/2013 by asura

In a recent discovery project I was evaluating Sitecore Azure. I have worked with Amazon AWS and EC2 before and so I was really excited to learn about Azure.

Site in the cloud, limitless possibilities, scalability…. Wrong.

I was extremely disappointed that Sitecore Azure cannot handle the solution we were proposing due to limitation on the Azure platform. In my mind a cloud based solution shouldn’t have the limits I was encountering with Azure.

We scoped out and built applications similar to this before, applications that are multi-lingual with multiple country sites. Typically this kind of Sitecore application with out of the box analytics is consuming around 52GB of data.

This is with only a handful of country websites. The master and web databases are not that far behind, they are running between 30 – 40GB.

The requirements were simple:

  • Sitecore Application will host and run over 100 website.
  • Each website will have an average of 2 languages.
  • Most of the sites will use out of the box DMS features.
  • Some sites will host content while others will host products.
  • There was a need to store a huge amount of documents in the media library.
  • Store videos in Azure Media Services.

Based on the previous experience, we are looking at an analytics db which can run at 520GB for an application with about 150 websites. Imagine the sizes for the master and web databases.

Consider the facts of Sitecore Azure (it’s not really Sitecore’s fault, I put this mostly on Azure):

  • Sitecore Azure can only run on SQL Azure.
  • SQL Azure limits the maximum database size to 150GB (in our case, may be 3 sites)
  • Sitecore Azure does not support file media.
  • Sitecore Azure does not have a media connector for Azure Media similar to Brightcove and Ooyala. This meant we had to create on ourselves.

Same scenario, Amazon fares a lot better than Azure. Azure mind you is Microsoft and I do not understand why Microsoft cant do what Amazon does with a Microsoft product.

Amazon RDS can support a single database instance for SQL Server with 1TB of storage.

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 R2 by itself, loaded on to a powerful server can store upto 524 PB, that is right, petabites.

Now to me this whole thing could have been solved if Sitecore Azure can connect to a SQL Server instance on a VM in Azure IaaS environment. But that is not the case.

Based on the requirements and the facts we could not go with Sitecore Azure. Depending on your requirements, Sitecore Azure might fit your needs.

Here are some useful links:

If you have any questions or need the source, email me at Akshay dot sura at nttdata dot com.