Now that Sitecore 7 has launched, you may be asking yourself: should my organization update to the new release? What will be required if we do decide to upgrade? We answer those questions for you.

With the general release of Sitecore 7, organizations running Sitecore are faced with the question: When do I upgrade and what do I need to know to get it done successfully.

As noted in some of our previous posts on Sitecore 7 the main drivers behind the release are to allow Sitecore to scale to massive amounts of content and allow users to search, filter and target that content.  This is all made possible by a search-based architecture that lets you use the default Lucene or Solr engine or plug in the solution of your choice.

In our assessment, an upgrade is worth serious consideration if/when:

  • Your organization is dealing with a large inventory of structured content.  Common examples would include product information, news releases and user generated content
  • Your current site is suffering from sub-optimal performance (the search provider can help speed the site up)
  • You are about to embark on a renewal project of your websites.  Your developers will thank you for the productivity improvements; and you will get more website for the same dollars

The technical upgrade process itself is fairly straight forward and documented by Sitecore in the release notes. Where the real questions lie are in the following areas:

Lucene or Solr 

The default in Sitecore 7 is to use Lucene as the search provider. This works well in a single server instance but as soon as you move beyond a single server, Solr is the preferred approach. A lot of organizations running Sitecore are .NET shops and as such the Apache Solr engine might not be a known entity.  When introducing Solr you will want to consider how this new solution component impacts your design for high availability and disaster recovery processes.

Information architecture, content models and data models 

For existing implementations with content organized in the Content Tree, the decision on how to migrate that content into item buckets requires careful planning to ensure the solution is usable for content authors and can be governed appropriately.

Content author training

The search driven interfaces to content are exceptionally powerful; however an outcome of the new information architecture should also include a training program for users.They will need to shift their mental model away from organizing content in the folder like structures of the content tree and think in terms of content relationships and search queries. Our Sitecore experts can help you navigate these questions (and any others that pop up) to help define the upgrade path for your organization.  

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