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Area: Episerver DXC Service

Getting started with DXC Service

This topic describes how to get started with Episerver DXC Service. The onboarding process includes provisioning of environments, and deployment setup. The onboarding steps as part of the Cloud Accelerator Package are also described. 

Notes

Service provisioning

When your order is provisioned and activated, the technical contact associated with your order receives an email form Episerver with the following information:

  • Default URLs for each of the environments included in your order.
  • Publish profile for Visual Studio, to be used when deploying to the Integration environment. A publish profile contains settings for publishing targets, databases to deploy, and other configurations.
  • Login credentials needed to log in to the Episerver environments.
  • Contact information for support from Episerver. 

After receiving this information, you are ready to onboard and deploy websites. 

Deployment scenarios

  • I want to create a new site based on the Episerver CMS sample templates, and start development using Digital Experience Cloud Service. See Creating a new CMS site and deploying.
  • I have an existing Episerver CMS site which I want to onboard to Digital Experience Cloud Service, and continue to develop it using this service. See Deploying an existing CMS site.
  • I want to create a new site with Episerver Commerce, and start development using Digital Experience Cloud Service. See Creating a new Commerce site and deploying.
  • I have an existing Episerver Commerce site which I want to onboard to Digital Experience Cloud Service, and continue to develop it using this service. See Deploying an existing Commerce site.
  • I am already using Digital Experience Cloud Service, and have an existing site for which I want to deploy upgrades. See Deploying code changes.

See also DXC Service self-deployment guide.

Cloud Accelerator Package

The Cloud Accelerator Package is an offer designed to increase working knowledge around Episerver’s Digital Experience Cloud (DXC). The package includes tools to help bridge technical and operational gaps, and to ensure a firm onboarding and deployment process. 

Onboarding process

In the following we describe the components of Cloud Accelerator.

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  1. Technical overview – kickoff
  2. Training
  3. Implementation and testing support
  4. Go Live Certification
  5. Go Live Support

1. Technical overview - kickoff

When the order has been provisioned, and you have received the service provisioning information from Episerver, a Customer Success project manager sets up a kickoff meeting. During this meeting, you go through DXC services, roles and responsibilities, and steps to successfully develop and launch to production. Information also includes expectations for communication, processes, and deadlines.

About DXC Service

In Episerver DXC Service, a Web App is a solution built on the Episerver platform, and operating as an Azure Web App including an SQL Database, a BLOB storage, and an Episerver Find index. See Introduction and Development considerations.

Environments

Separate environments ensure that your websites have content that is developed and tested before it is viewed in public. See also Environments.

  • Integration environment. Involves the process of moving code and content between environments, such as from development to preproduction (UAT) to production, as part of a continuous deployment process. You can deploy Episerver solutions using methods supported by most development environments and tools.
  • Preproduction environment. A staging website where you test and assure quality of content before it is transferred to the production environment.
  • Production environment. The live, public website where editors and visitors interact with your website.

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Elastic auto-scaling occurs when performance criteria are exceeded. There is no set amount of servers, CPUs, or memory, extra allocation is provided when needed. If a sudden spike in activity occurs, capacity scales up quickly, and scales back slowly as demand ebbs. 

During deployment, a copy of the content called a “slot” is created. Configuration transforms are applied to the slot and when it is verified, it is swapped with the content on the website for a seamless interaction. See Deployment process.

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2. Training

Developing for the DXC Service is a one-day training course where two seats are included with your Cloud Accelerator Package purchase. Persons attending this course should have skill equivalent to CMS Development Fundamentals. See Episerver Education Services.

3. Implementation and load test monitoring

Deployment to Preproduction provides the opportunity to load test and validate sites before going live. Through the DXC Service Management Portal you can access self-service functionality for deploying between environments. Features include:

  • One-click deployment
  • Configuration transforms
  • Validations when deploying
  • Maintenance page
  • Deployment progress and details
  • Error handling and logging

See DXC Service self-deployment guide.

Deployment scenarios

See Deploying and DXC Service self-deployment guide for more information.

Testing 

Review these recommendations:

4. Go Live Certification

Before deploying to production, Episerver ensures that everything on the following checklists are completed, as part of the Go Live Certification.

Episerver Managed Services task checklist

  • Set up Pingdom monitoring.
  • Set up Application Insights monitoring.
  • Enter Reporting Pingdom and Application Insights CI’s in Omni tracker.
  • Add the URLs for the above-created Pingdom alerts to the Zen Desk Pingdom Alerting CI App.
  • Verify Application Insights is gathering and displaying data.
  • Verify proper setup of local cache prior to Go Live.
  • Ensure auto-scaling is configured based on load test results.
  • Ensure proper number of default instances configured based on load test results.
  • Ensure proper App Service plan is configured based on load test results.
  • Ensure BLOBs are getting stored in Azure storage account and not in AppData.
  • Validate that SSL bindings are set up if required.
  • Validate CDN is properly configured to receive traffic.
  • If required, validate VPN is properly set up.
  • Ensure DNS mapping verification is complete.
  • Check the site with Host entry before DNS is mapped before Go Live (one working day in advance).
  • Ensure application and system logging are enabled on the production environment and pointing to the appropriate BLOB containers (log-events and log-web).
  • Verify that the Event Section is in the Web.config.
  • Ensure the website and cloud services have the starting instance count configured correctly and auto-scaling is set up and properly configured on production.

Partner/developer task checklist

DNS provider task checklist

  • Reduce Time-to-Live (TTL) to 5 to 10 Minutes. This should take place several days in advance of Go Live.
  • Enter appropriate Go Live DNS records to cut over live traffic to the Microsoft Azure DNS app service.

Back-up and restore management

Episerver provides the following redundancy precautions, see also Failover.

  • Content Database:
    • Transaction log back-up every 5 minutes
    • Full back-up hourly
    • Point-in-time restore up to 35 days in the past
  • Configuration and code:
    • Entire application back-up every 24 hours
    • Configuration back-up on same schedule
  • Azure Storage Account (BLOBs):
    • Geo-Redundant

5. Go Live Support

Episerver’s Customer Success team provides support throughout the onboarding process until your site goes live. During the onboarding process, ensure to copy your onboarding Customer Success project manager on all communications to assure prompt assistance.

Responsibilities from Episerver DXC Service Support and Partner/Client Management:

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Episerver's Support team is available throughout all phases of the onboarding process and after launch of your website. Episerver Managed Services Service Desk will support with these service requests during business days:

  • Non-standard deployments.
  • CDN configuration changes.
  • Whitelist IP addresses.
  • URL aliasing.
  • DNS changes.
  • Adding or removing user access.
  • VPN configuration.

Contact information

DXC Service Dashboard

The DXC Service Dashboard provides an overview of your site’s usage and performance. It includes self-service capabilities as part of your DXC service, access to data about usage, and availability for components associated with your subscription. See DXC Service Dashboard.

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Related topics

Last updated: Mar 19, 2019