Situation

TH_NK is a leading independent digital transformation agency based in the UK. TH_NK’s client, a leading UK insurance brand, needed a search solution to power search and personalization of their Sitecore implementation. They needed to enable the following use cases both from a search and personalization perspective:

  • New prospects looking for insurance, life, retirement and pension products
  • Existing customers wanting to find information about the products they have purchased
  • Industry press looking for information about the business

Search is being used to index all content across the site to make it easier for people to find what they are looking for. This content includes: FAQs, articles, guides, production information, glossary, contact numbers, and more.

The solution needed to be hosted on a high availability cluster in the Microsoft Azure Cloud with Disaster Recovery (DR). This separate DR deployment must be deployed in another region and remain in sync with the production deployment. This requires substantial in-depth knowledge of both search and Azure operations.

TH_NK initially considered Azure Search as an option. However, it did not support some of the key use cases that were required for the solution being developed. In addition, Azure Search could not meet their needs for high-availability, low latency, and relevance.

They instead turned to Apache Solr. Solr has been supported by Sitecore for many years and has become their de-facto standard. Solr is now recommended by Sitecore as the best searching and indexing component for Sitecore solutions. Apache Solr is not one of TH_NK’s core offerings, so their preference was to partner with experts in this field. TH_NK realized they needed a Solr-as-a-Service solution for their searching and personalization component for this premium client.

Solution

TH_NK looked at a number of Solr-as-a-Service offerings. And quickly decided on SearchStax for the following reasons:

  1. SearchStax delivers Solr service as a high availability cluster and satisfies all of the functional requirements of the Sitecore based solution.
  2. It satisfies the non-functional requirements of the project specifically managed support, performance, and availability.
  3. They have experience in delivering disaster recovery solutions in different regions e.g. production in UK and DR in another region like West Europe.
  4. TH_NK has previously used Searchstax on a number of other projects for other clients and have always had excellent experiences.

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