Sitecore’s Challenge – Migrating from Azure to Solr Search
Founded in 2001, Sitecore delivers a digital experience platform that empowers brands worldwide to build lifelong relationships with their customers. Sitecore is the only company bringing together content, commerce, and data into one connected platform that delivers millions of digital experiences every day.
Sitecore uses their own digital experience platform to manage and run their website. In previous versions of the Sitecore DXP, customers had an option to choose between Solr or Azure Search to manage the search infrastructure. When Sitecore Experience Platform™ 10 was released in Fall 2020, Solr became the recommended technology to manage the search infrastructure.
This shift from Azure Cognitive Search to Solr required Sitecore to migrate its search infrastructure to Solr to be compatible with the current and future versions of the Sitecore DXP.
Sitecore Chooses to Leverage their Technology Partner
The Sitecore team was managing Azure Cognitive Search on their own and briefly considered taking a DIY approach to setting up their Solr instance. After the Sitecore team received a Managed Solr demo from SearchStax, they realized that the solution had everything they needed for their Solr infrastructure.
“SearchStax surprised us with how mature their solution was. It included high availability nodes, ZooKeeper, dashboards and alerting, backup and disaster recovery, security and all of the other settings that make managing and monitoring our Solr infrastructure much easier. Overall, SearchStax was a great fit and saved us in terms of efficiencies.”
Derek Hunziker, Digital Technology Director
Sitecore Implementation of SearchStax Managed Solr
The Sitecore team implemented a 2-node, high availability, dedicated Managed Solr cluster hosted in the Azure cloud for their production environment. They also added a smaller dedicated single Solr node for their non-production environment. For support, Sitecore selected a SearchStax Platinum Support package that provides 24x7x365 coverage with 99.9% uptime backed by a service level agreement.
Due to changing business requirements after implementation began, the Sitecore team determined the deployment needed to be done on a later version of the Sitecore platform instead of Sitecore 9.1.1, which also required a new version of Solr. At the same time, the entire Solr instance was migrated from the Azure US West data center to the US East data center to improve search latency for the Company’s growing market in Europe. The SearchStax team quickly responded and was able to make the data center migration in a single day.
“The SearchStax team was very professional with prompt and quick responses to our questions and change requests. It was an amazing collaboration.”
Kaloyan Simeonov, Senior Software Engineering Manager
In the Sitecore DXP, indexing and searching results in complex requests for Solr must be carefully monitored, as these requests consume extra CPU cycles to process. Sitecore asked SearchStax to implement the typical standard alerts plus five additional alerts (Search Error Count, Search Average Time per Request, Index Timeouts, Index Average Time per Request and CPU Usage) because they understand their CMS and want to be very proactive and involved in keeping their Solr environment healthy.
Preliminary Results of Sitecore’s Managed Solr Implementation
With SearchStax Managed Solr, the Sitecore team was able to get a more stable, secure and robust environment for Solr. They also saved time on their recent upgrade and were able to accelerate project timelines.
The performance and accuracy of search is also improved in Sitecore’s new Solr environment. This is especially noticeable in the Knowledge Center and Customer Stories sections of the website that rely heavily on Solr indexes.
“There are a lot of benefits for going with SearchStax – and it goes beyond having to manage Solr. We ended up with a more robust solution.”
Derek Hunziker, Digital Technology Director at Sitecore
SearchStax is in the Sitecore Technology Alliance Program and the Managed Solr solution is one of the technologies Sitecore recommends to its customers for configuring and managing the Solr infrastructure that is critical to the Sitecore DXP. In addition, SearchStax has been providing the Solr infrastructure for all of Sitecore’s Managed Cloud customers since September 2019.