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Should You Upgrade to Sitecore 8? 3 Reasons to Consider It

With Sitecore v8.0 on the horizon, many users are asking the question: If I am currently on Sitecore, does it make sense to upgrade to version 7.5 before getting onto version 8?

While it may make sense to jump right up to version 8.0, there are many reasons to consider moving onto Sitecore 7.5 prior to. Here are three of those reasons.

Reap the Benefits of Open Source

Up to now, all Sitecore databases have been built on Microsoft SQL servers. With 7.5, Sitecore is introducing Mongo DB, a NoSQL, cross-platform open source document-oriented database. A key benefit to an open source database platform is that it provides expanded horizontal and vertical scalability to accelerate processing throughput.

The larger issue, however, involves the overall transformation in the industry as to the way data is being stored. Failing to move to open source will prevent you from taking advantage of the innovative features that are already coming online. For example, Sitecore analytics is looking to replace Google Analytics in its reporting platform. This will eliminate the need to support both internal and external analytics platforms and will streamline the current model by providing a single, unified reporting engine.

Leverage Distributed Server Capability

The most desirable feature of 7.5 is its ability to support distributed servers.

One of our clients presents a perfect use case for upgrading to 7.5. They have servers in a wide range of geographies with a performance metric demand of sub-second page loads in every location. One of the limitations of Sitecore versions 7.2 and lower is that you can only have one analytics database. You can overcome this constraint by developing a customized workaround to replicate the database, but this solution isn’t supported. The one database requirement has been a huge barrier for this particular customer looking to scale its global operation. As a result they had to send all marketing analytics requests involving content back to one server at their home location. The result has been significant page load delays since any requests involving customer analytics has to be routed back to that single server.

With 7.5, you can eliminate that lag time by placing analytics servers all over the world.

Pave the Way For 8.0 Upgrade

This is probably the most compelling reason to upgrade to 7.5. Most users are going to want to eventually upgrade to Sitecore 8.0. All of the releases up to now have been setting the stage for 8.0.  It’s going to present a revolutionary change in the way marketers gain insight into how their content is doing on the Internet. It will tell them which site changes are making an impact and in general offer a more detailed view of what consumers are doing on each visit. It will also provide the ability to personalize within any segment of the visitor set. Moving to 8.0 represents a huge leap for marketers. It makes them self-sufficient and eliminates the need to run to a developer to create custom reports.

Moving to 7.5 now will make the upgrade to 8.0 smoother. Going to 7.5 requires that you procure a Mongo server, understand how it replicates, and have some idea of how it works. These are things you’ll need to do when you eventually move to 8.0. The question becomes how much prep work do you want to do for 8.0 sooner rather than later? Many users want to get the prep out of the way now and get on the version that uses Mongo so that the upgrade to 8.0 is a baby step instead of a mammoth leap. Many users today are on version 6.0, 6.2, or 7.1. The farther you are from 7.5, the more likely you are to be a candidate for 7.5 just to lay the groundwork for 8.0.

If you’re ultimate goal is 8.0, it makes sense for you to move to 7.5 now. Not only will it start you on the path to 8.0, but you’ll also immediately be able to make more effective use of internal resources who are generating and modifying your content. You’ll also gain a leg up on the competition by having a more effective site that’s rooted in actual data. Why wait?