I know I know, from the title I bet you’re asking yourself what digital transformation, a digital experience platform (DXP) like Kentico Xperience 13 and containers could have in common? I’m soooo glad that you asked 😊
Over the last year, organizations around the globe were forced to face the reality that digital transformation was a buzzword no longer. It is very real, very now, and very necessary. In the rush to embrace this change, on-premises-to-cloud shifts have seriously accelerated. Gartner has predicted that by 2026, public cloud spending will exceed 45% of all enterprise IT spending, up from less than 17% in 2021. That’s massive!
So, it’s pretty apparent to everyone - Marketing and IT - that “cloud first policies” are a thing of the past, and cloud-only or hybrid models are the new normal. That’s great for greenfield investments, but how do you tackle your existing on-premises DXP? What things should you consider when planning such a move?
1. Assess the flexibility of your DXP
Firstly, you need to take a look at your license. Are you running on a subscription? Subscription models provide you with a lot more flexibility and enable you to align the operational costs associated with your digital experience platform and cloud infrastructure as monthly ongoing costs.
One of the greatest advantages of switching your perpetual Kentico Xperience license to subscription is that it allows you access to unlimited auto-scaling in the cloud – perfect! You or your cloud hosting partner can now set up your cloud hosted Kentico Xperience instance and easily scale it and its associated Azure (get the report) or AWS services to meet the demands of your DXP and website traffic – with no additional licensing costs to worry about. Bear in mind that most cloud services are charged by consumption, so your monthly cloud infrastructure costs will fluctuate based on data processes, usage and traffic.
2. Secure access to your DXP
Next, check the type of authentication method that you have been using. Are you starting to use federated authentication services for your other cloud business applications? Is it time to upgrade your DXP’s authentication to something more modern and secure?
Kentico Xperience supports a wide range of authentication options. For security, we recommend using multi-factor authentication to protect your platform. By default, the Kentico Xperience 13 administration interface provides support for a combination of standard forms authentication with a username and password, and a passcode generated by an authenticator application using the Time-based One-time Password Algorithm (TOTP), for example Google Authenticator. You can read more about how to configure this in our documentation.
In this regard, make best friends with your CISO, CIO or IT security lead, and identify which method is going to best meet your needs and any organizational security requirements you may need to adhere with. They will also be able to best advise you on data privacy and residency obligations, so you can make the right decision about where your data will be stored and processed (i.e which data center/region).
3. Consider using containers for deployment and maintenance
Keeping maintenance easy and ongoing costs low will be other factors that you might want to consider. How will you easily test, debug and update your web project or DXP in the cloud?
One approach that you might like to consider is the use of containers. Earlier this year we discussed how it can bring a range of benefits for teams delivering services in the cloud (Containers won’t solve all your problems, but it’s a start). Unlike virtual machines, which contain an entire copy of the operating system, containers share the OS with the host—they're much smaller and lighter than virtual machines. Using tools like Visual Studio, Docker Desktop and Docker Compose, you can define your application services and configure multiple containers to run together. Once a container image is created, it can be shared with new development team members to get them up and running quickly. Containers also provide a consistent and stable environment to run tests on your applications due to their ability to be torn down and rebuilt quickly.
But things can always be easier, right? At Kentico Xperience, we are always keen to make life simpler for the teams who are implementing our software, as well as for marketers. One of our awesome developers, Jaroslav Necas, has written a simple script that will enable your IT team to package and deploy both the administration user interface and live site of your Kentico Xperience 13 DXP as containers, making the process of moving your DXP to cloud smoother and easier to manage.
Note that the script assumes that the database is hosted externally (e.g. Azure SQL Database or EC3), so you will need to add the connection string to enable your DXP and database to talk to each other.
Want to try it out for yourself? Read the instructions and download the docker script today!