Cloud Platforms are getting stronger and humongous day by day. The two prominent cloud platforms that I got chance to work with and arguably the Market leaders - Microsoft with its Azure Cloud and Amazon with its Amazon Web Services (AWS), has a long list of services now offered through Cloud Platform. You can build Infrastructure, develop Web Apps & Mobile Apps, manage identity and access, do analytics, Internet of things, Database, IDEs and what not.
As a Digital Architect, I recently got chance to evaluate various offerings by cloud platform vendors and to recommend best ones as a part of Digital transformation being done for a customer. Following is what I went with and it looked to be a reasonable recommendations -
Infrastructure requirements – We opted for Azure VMs & Active Directory for managing servers. Every Digital WCM needs good amount of server resources, at the least 8 servers – Author and Publish instance for each DTAP (Dev, Test, Acceptance & Prod) environments. And if WCM is like Tridion, number may be more than double to support Dedicated Publisher, XPM and SmartTarget environments. Add to it another commonly used product for enterprise search like Solr, additional one server for each DTAP servers. Then add some DR servers and clustered servers for production. Did you realize, I have already reached to count of 40 servers . Managing these many servers can be efficient only on Cloud.
Cache dynamic content – Its important that all the data being fed to Digital system is cached, it increases performance vastly. I have seen people caching static files and pages but forgetting the dynamic data, which becomes problem later on. Continuous improvements are going in Caching mechanisms, hence There are multiple option for Cloud Cache even from single vendor Azure, it has AppFabric, Managed Cache and Redis. We opted for Managed Cache, however Redis is the way forward.
Cache static files - We opted for Azure CDN with origin server as Azure Storage to provide this solution. No Digital solutions now can live without CDN. Static files form huge chunk of the whole solution for any Digital System. No customer are now ready to bear the latency of static files at any of their location due to non-availability of CDN.
Media files smooth rendering across browsers and devices – This is another important requirement any Digital transformation demands for. There are huge numbers of video types and browsers, some types may run on one browser but may not on other browsers or devices. To cater to this problem, Azure Platform offers something beautiful called Azure Media Services. Configure it with a origin server like Azure storage and it will do the rest of encoding, streaming, indexing etc
Email solution – Traditional emails servers are hard to manage and sometimes even not easily compatible with Cloud Platforms, hence we opted for cloud based email solution called SendGrid. it had seamless integration with Azure servers.
Azure Active Directory – Offers Single sign on facility, works with multiple platforms and devices, supports multi factor authentication.
The list of Cloud offerings for Digital platform is too long, but I have listed only those which I had used in the recent Digital Transformation. Thank you!