Sitecore has recently released a version that supports deploying Sitecore Experience Platform (XP) to Azure web-apps – a Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering. Sitecore can also be installed on virtual machines residing in Azure’s Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings.

Choosing the right strategy will depend on an organization’s maturity model and the motivation to dive into full-on cloud computing. Below is a quick overview of the two flavors of Sitecore installation on Microsoft Azure. It should help you decide a path for your deployment strategy.

  • PaaS
  • IaaS

Sitecore on MS Azure PaaS Sitecore on MS Azure IaaS
Azure Web Apps Azure Virtual Machines
Deployment via Marketplace 
(Standard Sitecore Topology)
No Marketplace modules
Deployment vis ARM Templates
(Customize your Sitecore Topology)
No ARM Templates
Consumption-based License Model Standard Licensing Model
Automatic Scaling via App Service Scale up, Scale out options Automatic Scaling via virtual machine scale sets
Azure SQL SQL Server installation + License (ex: on VM)
Azure Search  Sitecore Search via SOLR or Lucene 
Mongo DB Mongo DB
Redis Cache In-Proc, Out-Proc

The table below goes a bit further to compare the Azure Marketplace versus ARM Templates for Sitecore on Azure PaaS

  ARM Templates  Azure Marketplace 
Customizable  Yes No
Knowledge of Azure required Yes No
Control Azure Resources created Yes No
Add additional services Yes  No
Software required PowerShell Browser

Automatic Scaling

PaaS Vertical Scaling Example

Choosing Azure PaaS or IaaS


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