Automate your server updates with OPAS and get some sleep at night

OPAS logoThis week I got to see a demo of Infront’s Orchestrated Patch Automation Solution (OPAS). The software promises to automate away all the manual steps that operational staff need to perform to update servers and then validate that they are healthy after the update. This could put an end to the weekend work, or middle of the night, bleary-eyed patching of one server after another. Why stay up late when you can make OPAS stay up for you? :)

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Sitecore xDB infrastructure planning

Sitecore 122Over the last while my colleague Amanda and I have been collecting information to guide people through the upgrade to Sitecore 8 and plan for the new xDB. There are a lot of scenarios to consider and new scaling options available to you. Provided below are the collection of resources we’ve been able to put together so far.

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Keystone: Errors with syncMaster strategy in hardened delivery instance

keystone-logoIf you are using Keystone 4.6 or earlier, you may receive this index-related error message after hardening the Sitecore content delivery instance:

Could not find configuration node: contentSearch/indexConfigurations/indexUpdateStrategies/syncMaster

Even if you have followed the SwitchMasterToWeb workarounds from Sitecore’s KB article, the error will not be fully resolved as the standard SwitchMasterToWeb does not contain any references to the Keystone indexes.
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TDS “the package builder failed” after project rename

HedgehogThis is a quickie for anybody using Team Development for Sitecore (TDS) and encountering the mysterious “The package builder failed” error. In my scenario, the builder fails and informs you to check the build output log, but there are no build output log details. This makes debugging the issue rather difficult…

The only resource I could find using Google was a thread on Twitter. That thread implied an incorrect drop-down value in the project file for the Recursive Deploy Action. That did not solve it for me, unfortunately.

In the end, the problem turned out to be that after I renamed a TDS project, the multi-project references were not updated. It still referenced the old project folder and project file name.

<BundledProject Include="..\OldProjectFolder\OldProjectName.scproj">

I manually updated the project file using a text editor to match to my new project filename and folder and this fixed it right up! Hopefully this article helps you when you are searching the web for a solution to this mysterious error without log details!

Creating interactive wireframes using Keystone

keystone-logoThis past week I was onsite with a client to review their site requirements and visual designs that had been created. My biggest focus was to try to determine how much additional effort would be required beyond what we could accomplish by implementing Keystone out of the box.

Having talked through the wireframes and designs, we had a fairly good idea of what the client was looking for from a front-end experience. Now it was time to try to use Keystone for a new use: interactive wireframes!

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Making it Work: Specialists on an Agile Team

ScrumIn some lines of business, such as consulting, the organizational business goals require a certain amount of specialization in order to deliver to clients efficiently and with high quality. These organizations also typically bill by the hour, meaning downtime is a serious cost to the business. This can be difficult in an agile development model as these specialists often create silos of knowledge. Also, these specialists often get pulled in many directions and their availability is not always predictable.

How do you make it work with a typical Scrum-like agile team?

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Visual Studio Online: Project Renames and Fields on Cards

VSOI was not surprised that a lot of news came out from Microsoft this past week during their Build event, but some of the changes announced specifically for Visual Studio Online (VSO) were very nice. The first announcement brought us the much sought-after team project renames. The second announcement was the news that there are new options for manipulating your cards on the board, including features such as filtering and specifying fields to display on the card.

These announcements did not generate the same level of excitement to the community as a whole like the announcements for Visual Studio Code for Mac OS and Linux, or the HoloLens, but since I won’t have the chance to use either of those any time soon, the VSO news is far more interesting to this guy right here. :) Read more of this post

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