05 December 2016

Sitecore 8.2 Update 1

Figure 1.1
Sitecore released most awaited update Sitecore 8.2 Update-1 since Sitecore MVP Summit and Symposium back in last quarter of 2016.
Figure 1.2
This is very fresh release, atleast at time of writing this article. So much fresh that Sitecore has not updated the known Issues for this release.
Which I hope they will do it ASAP.
Also there is no new release for WFFM, SXA & Express Migration tool, so that remains same for now. Though Installation guide has been updated as per version. 

But this release is significant from two aspects:
  1. It includes lot of fixes which have been raised by many teams around the world. Most of the fixes remain around Experience Editor, FXM and one of the issues which i remember is from the core product about making change in sharing property of field and installing it via package corrupt it sometime or not work as expected. Full list is given here
  2. Second biggest item is out of box support to Azure Paas which is wonderful because very few enterprises till date have not moved to Azure because they don't see compelling reason so far for example enterprises which are hosted their applications with Traditional Data center partners like Century Link, RackSpace etc., don't see beyond cost benefit of Azure IaaS Vs Other IaaS. Though how they come around security aspect in complex setup where Enterprise idP and Point Connectivity is essential. Within this support there are many things to talk about individually which are subject for each articles, few of them i list below
    • Application Insights for health monitoring: So far when enterprise want to host in traditional data center or even in Azure based IaaS, they have to resort to third party monitoring services like DynaTrace where license is costly and if somebody has huge number of server than this cost rise sharply. This out of box support will give alternative to Operations and Dev Teams where Monitoring become first class citizen out of your Visual Studio. I am excited out of this because i can integrate it with my Source Control system so that i can make issues identified and make it part of my Dev-Ops. 
    • Azure Redis Cache: If somebody is planning to design a new Sitecore Site than i recommend to atleast analyses the option of using Redis Cache where you have multiple CD Servers. For existing sites who are planning to upgrade it may be little work before you start using this method. People who want to start with private session using Redis cache look here and for shared session look here
    • Azure Search: Thank God, now we have another alternative other than Solr. There is not much data available which compares both of them fairly. But i hope our community will pick this up soon. Apart from technical or feature comparison one benefit i see is I don't need to manage Solr Cloud with Zookeeper now myself if I get equivalent capability within Azure. Well to be fair, Azure search has few limitations also, right pointed out here(link in next few words), people who are looking to start in this must start from here
    • Obviously it supports Azure Web Apps and Azure SQL Database. The ARM templates to start with Azure quickly are here.
We ourselves done POCs of upgrading complex Sitecore Platform from 7.2 to 8.2 but hold it for this update. Our internal learning shows that upgrading through traditional approach take little more time than Express migration tool.

All in all, this is the release which should now be driver for mass adoption by the enterprises. This will push upgrades/migration from Sitecore 7.2 to 8.2 Series where people had hold there upgrades in wait of more polished 8.2 release.  I hope i am able to point out what's new at high level and links to get started with latest release, leave your comments if this post is helpful.