Sitecore Web CMS 6.3 Now Cloud Ready, Including the Azure CloudThere's a big draw to work in the cloud today and Sitecore (newssite) has just announced that it's latest version -- 6.3 -- is cloud ready.

Gearing Up for the Cloud

The Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference has kicked off today and it appears that a key topic is the cloud. One of the first partner announcements has come from Sitecore. They have re-architected the core foundation of their web content management system to be cloud ready.

The primary changes made to the Sitecore solution center on being able to efficiently allow server clustering for both the CMS and delivery servers. Organizations can now horizontally scale their environment using an automated, API driven, remote model.

The changes have made Sitecore better suited for both cloud deployment and traditional on premise deployment models. 

Sitecore has strategic partners with three of the major cloud players: Azure, Amazon and Rackspace. The new cloud capability enables Sitecore servers to be geographically distributed based on the needs of the company. So servers can be placed in locations close to editors and content can be delivered to delivery servers close to core audiences.

A Preview of Sitecore on Azure

It is the Microsoft Azure partnership that will get the most attention today and likely going forward. Sitecore participated in the Azure Technology Adoption Program and are previewing their tight integration with the Azure platform including both Windows Azure and SQL Azure

Tonight at 5pm ET, you can follow Sitecore executives via Twitter as they join Microsoft in the discussion "Building a Multi-Tenant SaaS Application with SQL Azure and AppFabric".

Sitecore has also built in some new auto scaling/ auto provisioning capabilities that will be coming on Azure officially in the near future.

Why Azure?

In a conversation with Darren Guarnaccia, VP Product Marketing for Sitecore, we asked why Sitecore was developing such as close tie with the Azure cloud platform when it really hasn't been talked about that much as a leading cloud platform.

Guarnaccia told us that customers have traditionally been opposed to Web Content Management in a SaaS environment and ISV's have been continually challenged with the best way to support customers using WCM in a SaaS model.

The challenge is that many organizations want their CMS servers close, while having the ability to distribute their delivery servers for faster, better performance. The Azure cloud platform enables you to have a distributed server model where some of your servers may be on-premise and others distributed in the cloud.

For Sitecore, they can know what their customers are using and charge based on capacity, making it more cost effective for their customers.  

Currently in preview, Sitecore's Azure integration is expected to be available by September of this year. The ability to host it within these different cloud provider environments is available now with the release of Sitecore 6.3.