Technical Blog

Technical and Product News and Insights from Rackspace

The Benefits and Architecture of a Sitecore UAT Environment

Where do you conduct your User Acceptance Testing (UAT) activities? It’s a loaded question that many organizations have challenges addressing as they first need to obtain a clear definition of what what UAT is (and what it isn’t) before they even consider where UAT activities should occur. The benefits of a properly instituted UAT environment far outweigh the challenges, and the danger of not having one, but success requires a thoughtful and purposeful approach.

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Best Practices for AppDynamics Business Transaction Identification

AppDynamics is a powerful Application Performance Management tool that, properly configured, can provide tremendous insight in to application and infrastructure performance bottlenecks and enable operations and development teams to rapidly identify and resolve issues. Although AppDynamics collects and measures application performance data out of the box, some configuration and customization is necessary in order to reach its full capabilities. This guide explains best practices around how to identify your application’s critical business transactions in order to get the most out of AppDynamics and, ultimately, the most out of your application and infrastructure.

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How to do custom logging with Azure Diagnostics Extension

Using the Azure diagnostic extension lets you capture a good set of metrics to help trend and diagnose your virtual machine. What a lot of people don’t know is that you can configure it to capture custom log files.

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Managing Windows Servers Remotely with PowerShell

Automation in Windows has historically been a challenge due to lack of built in tools for remote management. In the past few years, the enhancements to PowerShell and WinRM (Windows Remote Management) have forged a path that is now more on par with other operating systems in regards to remote access.

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Sitecore Enterprise Architecture for Global Publishing

Sitecore implementations with Content Delivery nodes in multiple locations must keep their databases and content in sync. The Sitecore Scaling Guide summarizes areas of concern, such as isolating CM and CD servers, enabling the Sitecore scalability settings, maintaining search indexes, etc. Sitecore runs on top of SQL Server, and one topic touched on in the Scaling Guide is SQL Server replication, and conveniently there is a Sitecore guide just for that specific subject. This guide explains how, with SQL Server Merge Replication, one can coordinate the content of Sitecore databases that are not in the same location. This is the starting point for what we at Rackspace have found to be a global publishing architecture that meets the needs of enterprise Sitecore customers.

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A tutorial on building a Docker image for Sitecore

I previously made a blog post on how to manually setup Sitecore running in a Docker container. I would like to take it one more step and build a Docker image using an automated install of Sitecore during the build process. We can then build Sitecore development enviornments on demand using our Docker Sitecore image.

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Introducing PoshStack, the PowerShell client for OpenStack

Here’s PoshStack

OpenStack SDKs exist for several programming languages, including Python, Go, Ruby, and many more. For those who don’t wish to write code, users in the *nix world can use Curl at the command line to perform operations.

What about Microsoft Windows administrators? Are they required to learn linux and bash and curl? What if they could use the skills they already have, or learn new skills that are native to the Windows environment, for OpenStack administration? Is there a command line or scripting tool that suits the Windows DevOps world?

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PowerShell 101 from a Linux guy

Having spent my last 7 years concentrating mainly on Linux® and related technologies, I spent 3 days with PowerShell and here are the some observations and anecdotes. Why PowerShell? Curiosity for one and I wanted to learn it from a perspective of how to use it in configuration management tools like Chef. As an disclaimer, I’m not an expert in PowerShell and spending 3 days is just scraping the surface but I did learn quite a bit in that time. Also my prediction is that PowerShell will be real force (if not already) in Windows environments. It is a mindset change for several Windows administrators who have grown up on GUIs but that is about to change in the coming years. And if you are Linux administrator, you are likely to feel more comfortable interacting the PowerShell way. I definitely did.

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DevOps automation series: Images vs. config management

A question that often comes up is “why should I use config management when I can just use images?” In this article, we’ll explore the differences between images and configuration management, and talk about the benefits and drawbacks of each.

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