November 28, 2023

Should I Stay or Should I Go? Why not both?: Planning your Sitecore XM Cloud Migration

By: Craig Taylor
November 28, 2023

Should I Stay or Should I Go? Why not both?: Planning your Sitecore XM Cloud Migration

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

In the last episode, I discussed a crossroads decision point that businesses often find themselves in: stay with an establish platform like Sitecore XP, or migrate to Sitecore XM Cloud. Stuck between two giants in the digital platform space? What if I told you there's a third, equally formidable option? Let me introduce it: both.

Why Not Both?

Hear me out. Migrating to XM Cloud can be a serious undertaking. As I previously suggested, in addition to re-architecting the website and every component, you may want to consider a complete redesign as well. This can be a large pill to swallow for many organizations that haven't already planned for such an expense. A 'dot' upgrade is one thing, but re-architecture, redesign, and redevelopment is much more involved.

What if there was a way to migrate to XM Cloud over time as your budget and capacity allows?  Well, there is. On a recently-launched client project, the client wanted to move to XM Cloud quickly, but didn't have the appropriate budget for the year and didn't want to wait for a 'big bang' at the end of long design and development cycles. As it turns out, Microsoft has a solution we can incorporate to address this issue.

Hello Azure Front Door, you had me at . . . Hello

Azure Front Door is many things, but if you wanted to simplify it for easy comprehension: it's an entry point to your domain. When incorporated, all traffic for your domain gets routed through Azure Front Door and then rules are executed against the incoming request to match for specific patterns. The patterns to match could be from the request path, the domain, the protocol, geo-location, etc.. Actions are assigned to the rule and a match can direct traffic to multiple endpoints (origins).

In the case of our client, we helped them develop a prioritized list of pages to migrate to XM Cloud immediately, and over time we will eventually migrate all approved pages to XM Cloud. The prioritization process involves determining which pages we will keep, which we will modify, and which we will eliminate from the new site. The pages that were not prioritized to move to XM Cloud will continue to live on the Sitecore XP platform as-is. In our case, we modified the XP header and footer to more closely match the header and footer of the newly-designed site to not cause total shock when navigating from XM Cloud to XP pages, but no changes are required to make the XP pages work just as they always have.

When Azure Front Door fields a request for the domain, it is processed by a ruleset. Our rules were configured to look for the XM Cloud pages. If the pattern of the incoming request matches a pattern for a page on the new XM Cloud site, it is directed to the XM Cloud origin. When it does not match, Front Door passes the entire request through to the XP origin. This can all happen using the same domain name so that your users aren't confused.

In this way, we have achieved running both versions of Sitecore concurrently and can complete redesign and redevelopment of the remaining portions of the site as budget and time allow!


Oh yeah, there are some gotchas, of course.

Depending on how many pages you want to divert to one origin or another, Azure Front Door will handle it gracefully or it will start to choke. Front Door starts to break down as you approach the limit for routing rules. (25 for Standard tier or 50 for the Premium tier) This may sound like plenty, but if you happen to have some redirects in addition to the routing, or want to handle http vs https differently, these add up quickly. What helps here is that you can apply many patterns within a single rule when matching. For example: if the rule states that anyting matching your patterns should just forward on the same request path to the origin specified, you can bundle many patterns together to perform the same action. So if you're clever with how you match and how you redirect, this may not be too much of a limitation, but it's still something to look out for.

Running Sitecore XP and XM Cloud alongside each other is going to have some cost concerns. You're essentially running two websites, with two licenses, with hosting for two sites at the same time. While running both alongside each other will allow you to dip your toes in the water, you may drop your wallet in the lake too.


The decision to upgrade your Sitecore implementation to the latest version of XP or migrate to Sitecore XM Cloud is an important one. You may have thought those were the only two options, but you now you have (at least) one more option. Operating both platforms simultaneously can help get your organization moving towards the Cloud at their own pace. Understand the pros and cons of the options before jumping in is essential to ensure that you're making the right decision for your organization or client.

October 31, 2023

Crossroads: Animal House or Sit Tight: Key Considerations Before Migrating to Sitecore XM Cloud

By: Craig Taylor
October 31, 2023

Crossroads: Animal House or Sit Tight: Key Considerations Before Migrating to Sitecore XM Cloud


As Sitecore XM Cloud gains more traction in the market, businesses often find themselves at a crossroads, contemplating a shift from established solutions like Sitecore XP to more modern platforms like Sitecore XM Cloud. While the promise of enhanced scalability, flexibility, and performance is alluring and you may want to charge in like Bluto from Animal House, but it's crucial to tread carefully and consider various factors before making such a significant transition. 

Do you go ahead and go all-in on Saas and XM Cloud, or do you continue down your path of upgrades and traditional Sitecore XP? Let's explore some key considerations that can impact the success of your move to Sitecore XM Cloud.

Cost Analysis: Licensing and Hardware

Shifting to Sitecore XM Cloud involves not only licensing changes but also considerations regarding the underlying hardware infrastructure. Assess the financial implications of this transition by comparing licensing costs and evaluating whether your existing hardware is compatible with the cloud-based architecture. A key selling point of any SaaS platform is the savings on infrastructure, but your (or your client's) organization may have infrastructure that will continue to live on in the future platform. It's vital to have a clear understanding of the long-term cost implications and potential return on investment.

Skillset Evaluation: Backend vs. Front-end Development

We already discussed cheese, I mean, the rise of the Sitecore frontend developers, in my last post, but Sitecore XM Cloud embraces a more modern approach, often requiring expertise in front-end technologies such as React and Next.js. Assess the skillset of the existing team; if the developers are predominantly C# backend experts, you may need to invest in upskilling or hiring front-end developers to ensure a smooth transition. Frontend tech is no joke; some might say it never was, but it's not 'just' HTML and CSS. Bridging this skills gap is critical for the successful implementation of a headless site based on Sitecore XM Cloud.

Site Redesign Considerations

Shifting to Sitecore XM Cloud will necessitate a reimagining of your website's architecture. The move towards a headless architecture means that every component must be re-developed to align with the new paradigm. There are ways to make this migration to headless in more of a piecemeal manner, but there are defintely cost implications. 

While you're at it: How's that design holding up?  If you're re-developing every component, perhaps it's a chance to redesign as well. It's a chance to not only adopt a new platform but also to enhance the overall user experience with a fresh design.

Evaluate whether your organization is prepared for a full site re-architecture and potential site redesign, taking into account the time, resources, and potential disruption to ongoing operations. 

Content Strategy and Migration

Consider how your current content strategy aligns with the capabilities of Sitecore XM Cloud. The shift might require a comprehensive content migration plan, ensuring that your existing assets seamlessly integrate with the new platform. If you've made the decision to re-develop and re-design, does your content need some attention too?  Plan on a comprehensive content audit to determine what content you keep, what content you update, what content you kill. Evaluate the tools and processes available for content migration and factor in the time and effort required for this crucial aspect of the transition.


Transitioning from Sitecore XP to Sitecore XM Cloud holds the promise of a more scalable, flexible, and modern digital experience platform. However, success in this journey requires careful consideration of costs, skillset gaps, the need for a site redevelopment (and optionally, redesign), and content audit/content migration. 

In the end, you may decide that your organization or client is not yet prepared for the investment to move to XM Cloud and you need to sit tight.  You may need more time to gain stakeholder support or budget or maybe you're considering dipping your toes into the water instead of jumping in, à la Animal House. I suspect that all organizations will eventually be forced into the SaaS platform model to retain full support, but but by understanding and addressing these considerations thoughtfully, you can make plans for a successful quick or measured transformation that maximizes the benefits of Sitecore XM Cloud while minimizing potential challenges.

September 15, 2023

The Evolution of Sitecore Development: Embracing SaaS, Front-End Expertise, and Cheese!

By: Craig Taylor
September 15, 2023

The Evolution of Sitecore Development: Embracing SaaS, Front-End Expertise, and Cheese!

Who Moved My Cheese?!

In the ever-evolving landscape of web development, platforms like Sitecore have played a pivotal role in shaping digital experiences. Traditionally, Sitecore development has relied heavily on backend (usually C#) developers to craft Sitecore solutions. However, with the advent of Sitecore XM Cloud and the shift towards a Software as a Service (SaaS) model, the dynamics of Sitecore development are undergoing a significant transformation. 

I often introduce myself as an architect that has a background in Microsoft technologies, specifically C# and Sitecore.  Moving the focus of Sitecore development towards frond-end technologies sounds like I'm putting myself and other backend devs out of work, but fear not, it doesn't have to be that way. I remember a time where people thought that the introduction of Visual Studio meant that the days were numbered for developers.  You may be thinking now that the same is true when we talk about the evolution of Sitecore development. (well, if you're a backend developer, that is)    

What does this shift mean for traditional, backend Sitecore developers, the increasing importance of frontend developers, and the shift towards a more collaborative, product-focused approach?  I'm glad you asked.

The Shift to Sitecore XM Cloud

  1. Embrace Cheese, I mean, SaaS for Scalability
    Sitecore XM Cloud represents a shift towards a cloud-based, scalable architecture. This move not only simplifies infrastructure management (aint nobody got time for that) but also opens new doors for collaboration between backend and frontend developers. The emphasis on SaaS allows for quicker deployment, reduced maintenance overhead, and a more seamless development process.

  2. The Rise of Front-End Development in Sitecore
    • React and Next.js Integration
      We are flipping staffing models from staffing a 'bunch' of backend developers along with a 'few' frontend developers on its head. As Sitecore (and partners) embrace a more API-first approach, the need for proficient frontend developers has become more pronounced. React and Next.js have become integral components in the Sitecore development toolkit and frontend developers now play a crucial role in shaping the user interface and optimizing the overall user experience.  We aren't forgetting about the backend devs as you will see below.

    • Enhanced Content Delivery
      With a focus on content delivery to the frontend, Sitecore developers are transitioning from being solely backend experts to becoming well-versed in frontend technologies. This shift not only empowers developers to create more interactive and dynamic user interfaces but also facilitates a more collaborative development environment.

The Changing Role of Sitecore Developers

  1. From Code-Centric to Product-Centric
    • Configuring Sitecore for Frontend Integration
      Sitecore developers are no longer just coders; they are becoming product experts who understand the intricacies of configuring Sitecore to seamlessly integrate with frontend technologies. This involves mastering the art of content organization, personalization, and API configurations to ensure a smooth flow of data between the backend and frontend.

    • Collaboration with Frontend Teams
      The lines between backend and frontend development are blurring, and collaboration is key. Sitecore developers now work hand-in-hand with frontend teams, providing them with the necessary tools and data structures to bring digital experiences to life. We can move away from 'The front-end devs have to understand and run Sitecore on their machines' fallacy.  Let's let front-end devs do what they do best.  Let's let Sitecore experts do what they do best.  Let's let them collaborate so they can build build great Sitecore sites. This collaboration fosters a more holistic approach to Sitecore development.

Embrace the Cheese, I mean, Change

The evolution of Sitecore development towards a SaaS model, particularly with Sitecore XM Cloud, marks a shift in the skills and expertise required to develop today's modern websites. While backend Sitecore developers will always be valuable, the demand for frontend developers with React and Next.js experience is on the rise. 

Sitecore developers are no longer confined to the backend; they are evolving into versatile product experts, bridging the gap between backend infrastructure and frontend innovation. We still need backend deveopers to help with the configuration of Sitecore, creation of Sitecore artifacts, devOps processes, integrations, search, gated content, etc. This transformation not only enhances the efficiency of development processes but also results in more dynamic and engaging digital experiences for end-users. 

As the world of Sitecore development continues to evolve, embracing this change is essential for staying at the forefront of digital innovation.


Who Moved My Cheese (We had a training session early in my career where we discussed this book and it's always in my head and I wonder if people look at me like I'm crazy when I mention it.  The book is about embracing change. It talks about a mouse who is mad that his cheese has been moved and he can't let it go.  Instead of focusing on that, embrace the change and learn how to operate while your cheese is in a new location.  I hope this helps to explain why I keep referring to "cheese" in this post.)