Sitecore Development with Multiple Solr Instances .

Sitecore-Solr-Header

If you are a Sitecore developer working mostly on local machine, one of the things you are likely to face is more than one Sitecore instance using Solr. Particularly start with Sitecore 9, you need to move away from the Lucence index provider and use Solr as default.

One option you have is to use the same Solr server for multiple Sitecore instances, which requires you to set up prefix for Solr cores. Then in each solution to apply patch config per Solr core. There is script for this on github.

This blog post will talk about the other option – to have multiple Solr instances in one machine.

Your Sitecore instances might need different versions of Solr, or in my case, they are compatible with the same version of Solr.

But in any cases, the first thing you need is a common JRE with all your Solr instances. Once Java is installed, also double check your JAVA_HOME variable is set.

Then download the right version of Solr zip, in my case, I have Solr 6.6.2. Unzip the content into a directory of your choice.

Because we want to have multiple instances of Solr, so what I do is create folders inside the Solr directory.

Sitecore-solr-1

Then copy everything inside each folder. Each of the folder should look like this:

Sitecore-solr-2

To use Solr, I use NSSM to install Solr as a windows service. You can also use Bitnami Apache but I personally found NSSM a very handy tool. Use it in command prompt with the command.

nssm install [serviceName]

Sitecore-solr-3

It brings up the window below. Set the path to the solr.cmd inside the target instance bin folder. And Startup directory to the bin folder. Use the following command in Arguments field.

start -f -p [port number]

this is your first instance, start with port number 8983. Then increase the number by 1 for the next instance. So each of the Solr instance can run in a different port.

Sitecore-solr-4

The next tab – ‘Details’ is where we can fill out descriptive name and description of the service. It is not compulsory for creating the service but it is a good practice to fill out to maintain clean and clear windows service. Click on ‘Install service’ after everything has filled out. It should tell you the service installed successfully.

Do the same for the rest of the instances but point to correct path and directory and make sure to use a different port number.

Verify the services from Windows Service Manager

Sitecore-solr-5

Then open the browser and make sure each instance is up and running.

Sitecore-solr-6

The last step is to point Sitecore instances to the correct Solr instances. With recommend practice this should be done in a patch config file.

Sitecore-solr-7

So now we have multiple Solr instances in a single machine, one pre Sitecore instance so we can turn on and off individually without interfere with each other.

The above steps can easily apply if you need different versions of Solr as well.

Hope this is useful :)

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.

 

Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

want to speak to one of our experts?

 
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Sagittarius
sag-author100x100

Sagittarius

08 Nov 2018 - 7 minute read
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