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Jason St-Cyr for Sitecore

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Sitecore Symposium 2019 – So you think you can DevOps?

60% of the time Deployments work every time

This year at Sitecore Symposium we launched a new DevOps track, with two rooms of sessions delivering what you need for day-to-day tactical solutions, but also bigger-picture, strategic guidance. Do you want to know how to deploy your code with Azure DevOps? We got you covered. Or maybe you are wondering how to fit an agile process into a waterfall organization? We got you there too! This track can appeal to both the technical and the business, it’s not all about Solr (though we got that too, thanks Jeremy!)

I am really proud of the sessions that Rob Earlam and I selected for the track this year, I think we have a little bit of something for everybody. Below, find your guide to all things DevOps at this year’s event!

A tale of two sub-tracks

The Exploring DevOps Scenarios track has two rooms in the Swan hotel for all the breakouts, and we’ve themed these for both a tactical and strategic type of content:

  1. Strategic Solutions (Swan 1-2): Want to learn about privacy? Adopting agile? Working on governance? Maybe digital transformation or organizational culture are the hot topics for you? This is the room to join at Symposium!
  2. Tactical Implementation (Swan 3-4): Want to use serverless? Or containers? Maybe blue/green deployments is your thing. Or maybe you just want to see how to use cool tools like Azure DevOps or Terraform? If so, come on by the tactical room.

Person stressed at having to choose between Strategy and Tactics

Each session in one sentence

I’m going to try to give you the reason for you to do each of these sessions, in one sentence each, broken down by sub-track, to help you pick which session to attend!

Strategic Solutions (Swan 1-2):

  1. Tues, 1:30pm – Moving Sitecore deployment forward: If you want to know what’s coming next in topology deployment, this is where you can hear from the mind that brought you the installation wizard (David Morrison)!
  2. Tues, 2:35pm – Effective Sitecore governance, whether on-premises or in the cloud: This one is for you if you have an organization that needs to learn how to properly govern a Sitecore application, everything from basic planning to change management policies from the expertise of Kelly Rusk.
  3. Tues, 3:40pm – A Sitecore upgrade story: Opportunistic DevOps improvements that strengthened our culture: The Brady Corp teamup of Subbu Ramanathan and Samson Williams show a real customer story of going through an upgrade and how they benefited from changing their organization approach to delivering software.
  4. Wed, 10:30am – Crawl, walk, what just happened? DevOps is about culture: Learn about how projects succeed, or fall apart, regardless of the tools with this collection of real-life experiences and stories from Thomas Lin and Andy Cohen.
  5. Wed, 11:35am – Leaping into DevOps: A case study with Colliers International on effecting change to improve process and agility: This is a very long title for a very informative session from Aaron Bickle and Andrew Campbell that will show you some of the business strategy and also some of the technical solutions you can use to take your delivery up a notch in a short period of time to show success to management.
  6. Wed, 1:30pm – Learn how Isuzu Ute delivered a fully automated Sitecore 9.1 on Microsoft Azure PaaS in just 3 weeks: A true story of integrating multiple agencies together on Azure tech, featuring both partner (Anthony Hook) and customer (Chris Macer) on stage, to talk to both sides of their 3-week challenge.
  7. Wed, 2:35pm – A national non-profit moves from freelance to managed services: Greg Hayes from the Heart & Stroke foundation lays out the issues they were having with working on a freelance-based tech support system and how they transitioned to success with managed services while Arthur Loiselle of Sid Lee shows some of the changes they brought about to benefit the Heart & Stroke foundation.
  8. Thurs, 9:40am – Agilefall: Running agile processes in a waterfall agency: We have all been there, trying to make Agile work when the rest of the organization does not want to change, so Nick Borosh talks through how to make this transformation work and find the benefits of both schools of thought on project delivery.
  9. Thurs, 10:45am – HIPAA compliance in Sitecore: If privacy is a concern for your business, don’t miss out on the tips and tricks from Dan Persson and Hiral Shah of MedTouch as they go through the various hoops you need to meet HIPAA compliance in the health industry, and how this could help you with your privacy needs.

Tactical Implementation (Swan 3-4):

  1. Tues, 1:30pm – Punch it, Chewie: Getting more performance out of your installation: Sitecore Test Specialist Matt Dubbs (with some flavour from yours truly) bring you insights from a galaxy far, far, away on how to make perf testing part of your Jedi path.
  2. Tues, 2:35pm – Sitecore in the enterprise: Optimize your time to deliver toward the speed of light, using all the new love in Azure DevOps: The title kinda gives it away, but this session shows real customer experience using the latest and greatest tooling from Microsoft and features the amazing Bas Litjen on stage, so always a good choice.
  3. Tues, 3:40pm – Never be down again! How Ameren uses Terraform to orchestrate Sitecore infrastructure and application deployments: This partner/customer teamup presentation allows Jeroen de Groot and Paula Simontacchi to show off a unique infrastructure as code approach using Terraform tooling as an alternative to ARM templates and PowerShell for blue-green deployments.
  4. Wed, 10:30am – The containerized mind: Working with Sitecore in containers: If PaaS isn’t your thing and you want to use containers as your infrastructure strategy, then this session from Stephen Pope is going to help you understand how to you can get there!
  5. Wed, 11:35am – From dream to reality: Continuous delivery with Sitecore: Joe Bissol and Mano Subramaniam cover how you continuous improve to get to continuous delivery so you get continuous benefits!
  6. Wed, 1:30pm – Extending Sitecore using serverless architectures: Serverless is all the rage, and Rob Habraken is a must-see speaker, so get in here to learn about pros/cons of the new hype.
  7. Wed, 2:35pm – XC9 + K8S + AKS = Bingo!: Joost Meijles answers the question of “What if you wanted to do containers in Azure with Kubernetes and Experience Commerce microservices but were afraid to ask how?”
  8. Thurs, 9:40am – ‘O Solr mio!: The man, the myth, the #Jerememe himself, Jeremy Davis, returns to Symposium with an exciting talk on how to really tackle resiliency and scale with your Solr solutions.
  9. Thurs, 1:40am – UI test automation of Sitecore sites with Selenium: DevOps is not just about Dev, or Ops, it’s everything in between and this session featuring Stefano Tempesta on testing with Selenium helps you understand how to get your UI testing done on a Sitecore site with full automation.


Because we love our DevOps so much, there are a few additional bonus sessions in the Opsrey room in the Swan hotel:

  1. Wed, 2:35pm : DevOps spectrum analysis: How Dimensional Fund Advisors moved to higher frequency DevOps, and what comes next (Rackspace)
  2. Thurs, 9:40am: How we achieved real zero downtime using blue/green (Cirque du Soleil)

What is Jason going to see?

It’s pretty popular to have the old “but what would you recommend” post, so I’ll point out a few highlights here. There are so many rooms, and it is hard to make choices. I want you to visit the DevOps track, of course, but there are a lot of sessions at Symposium in other tracks too. Here are some speakers in other tracks that I would love to get a chance to see if I can:

  1. Day 1, Tuesday: Other than the keynotes, and having to do my own presentation in the DevOps track, I’m going to try to catch the JSS Blazor session with Corey and Gary at 3:40pm.
  2. Day 2, Wednesday: This day is tough for me. I have my own session on advocacy and brand trust early, which should let me relax and watch some other sessions after. The Sitecore AI session at 11:35 is interesting to me personally, and I want to catch Mark Stiles at 1:30pm for his AI session too, but it’s at the same time as the trust panel with Ishraq, Amanda, Alison, Rachael, and Luke! AAAACH!
  3. Day 3, Thursday: The only session I’m sure about here is the “How male allies can support balance for better”. I’ve even put myself down as a room captain for that one so I cannot possibly be dragged into anything else. This is an important one for me!

Jason holding his head in confusion

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