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Codegarden 2017 - All in on Umbraco Cloud

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Codegarden 2017 - All in on Umbraco Cloud

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A session about how and why we started to use Umbraco Cloud, to such an extent that it has become our primary hosting platform, so we can focus on delivering great value to our customers and not worry about updates or time-consuming workflows.
We will share our experiences and what we have learned, both bumps we encountered along the way, and not least, what benefits us as an Umbraco Partner and what our customers have gained from switching to Umbraco Cloud.

A session about how and why we started to use Umbraco Cloud, to such an extent that it has become our primary hosting platform, so we can focus on delivering great value to our customers and not worry about updates or time-consuming workflows.
We will share our experiences and what we have learned, both bumps we encountered along the way, and not least, what benefits us as an Umbraco Partner and what our customers have gained from switching to Umbraco Cloud.

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Editor's Notes

  • Hello and welcome

    Wedding Day – Picture

    Quick Poll

    This will be a talk about our experiences with Umbraco Cloud and how came to be our go-to hosting platform for Umbraco solutions.

    I’ll start off with telling you a little about our company, who we are and what we do, so you can get a sense of what our starting point was, going into using Umbraco Cloud.
  • My name is Michael Nielsen, I’m Head of Production @ ØrskovWeb

    Originally I have a degree in Graphic design, a piece of information that will be important later, when you judge my magnificent slides.

    Umbraco Certified Master, Worked with Umbraco for 7 years

    Worked with Web development for about 20 years

    Ørskov Web, the web part of Ørskov Gruppen an ad agency located in western part of Denmark. We’ve been Gold Partner since February this year

    Apart from web, we work with communication, off- and online marketing, print ads, magazines, yearly reports, do courses and lectures and so on

    If you have any questions, just speak up, or come find me later, and after Codegarden feel free to send me a mail or tweet.
  • A big shout out to the Developer team which currently are yours truly, Søren, Bjarne and Cecilie

    We’ve been in a heavy modernization process, where we implemented new workflows, with Visual Studio, Version Control, Bower, Gulp and so on.

    We are mostly frontenders , we are however doing more and more C# as a part of our continuous development to handle more complex projects on our own

    Our hosting used to be a mix, where smaller & medium solutions was placed on our own shared server.

    Larger projects on dedicated servers, some with extra servers for test environments.
  • Our journey with Umbraco Cloud started in 2013-2014, first rumors a couple of blog posts, and it sounded very interesting

    We then tried a demo at a workshop at Codegarden 2015, it had some issues, but we generally liked it. It that time it however was still too pricey for us to use for our most common Umbraco projects.

    At Codegarden 2016 Umbraco Cloud had not only been redone, but also offered a new price structure, so it now was competitive with our current hosting plans.

    We weren’t quite sure if Umbraco Cloud was there yet, ready to use. So we went home, talked about it and decided the best way forward, was to test it with a real project. We could just move it to regular hosting if it would not work out.

    After the summer break, we had a new project, perfect to test out Umbraco Cloud with.
  • Vestjysk Lederforum, is a site for a business network in the western part of Denmark.

    It is a small, fairly simple site, where they can share information, create events
  • Let users sign up for events, and let everyone see who signed up.
  • Also in the backend, the editors can see how many signed up, how many declined, create PDF’s with participant lists for booking flights, hotels and such.

    Also send out notifications to those who haven’t responded.

    And it went well, maybe too well we thought, so we decided to test on two further projects, which also went well.

    We have however run into to some things along the way
  • No matter how well you plan something, or think you have it figured out, there is always going to be unforeseeable things.

    And that we did. Some were bugs, others just us getting used to the new workflow and some caused by our own stupidity.

    Pro tip: Check the rules in your global git ignore files. I spent a good hour or so figuring out why some files we’re not pushed up
  • Something probably everyone will run into, is “Out-of-Sync/Schema Mismatch” messages, when deploying content from one environment to another.

    These were by far the majority of issues we had when starting out.

    Most of the time, it was just us not quite being into the workflow yet, when you do, it only happens once in a while.

    And should it, there are now really good documentation to tell you how to solve those issues. But should everything else fail, just delete the website, and clone it down from remote again.
  • It is hard to know if a package works on Cloud or not.

    Users cannot vote for Package compatibility on Our.

    Especially when migrating, this can be an issue, however just test and should it not work, you can either get creative and find an alternative solution, otherwise simply do no put it in on the Cloud.

    Other minor issues are the lack of an SMTP server to send out mail from Forgot password, Forms, notifications and so on.
    Umbraco Cloud does not have an option for this, but it takes 2 min’s to set up with external service like Mailgun

    There are also no option for setting up scheduled tasks. But this can be done on an Azure or AWS account.

    But Umbraco Cloud is not for everything. So far for our usage, we haven’t found any limitations caused by doing really complex things, aka crazy ass things, that is just not how the majority of our projects are.

    We have however found one limitation.
  • This is a solution for the largest pharmacy chain in Denmark.

    They have about 107 stores around the country, and they all have a website build with Umbraco.
  • Built in the same Umbraco solution.

    Now, you might say, that this is not a good way to do this… and you would be right.

    However, they have content sharing, and at the time, this was the best and most economic solution at the time.

    The sites are low traffic sites, so there aren’t any issues with performance.

    We wanted to migrate it to Umbraco Cloud, so we could get all the benefits when developing, there is however a limit on number of hostnames, 100 is the max, this is an Azure limit not Umbraco Cloud.

    If we want to put in on the Cloud, it can be done as a baseline project, but that would take some restructuring of the project, so we’ve postponed that for a later time.

    So how do we feel about Umbraco Cloud
  • We love it. And why do we love it. It saves us time, as it removes trivial tasks as setting up a hosting environment for new projects

    Larger projects might mean contacting a hosting provider for one or more servers. Might take a day or two until those are setup and ready.

    And when we have a server, we would connect via Remote Desktop, create a folder, create a site and application pool on IIS, create a database and user, then uploading files via FTP and run installation process.

    This has been replaced by a few clicks then you have an Umbraco installation running, a few more clicks and a little wait time for downloading, and you’ll be up and running locally.

    It’s also easier for developers with less knowledge of servers to get started, they do not need any help with setting up IIS or database

    A lot of time is also saved when developing on an existing site. No longer need for copying files and/or mirroring databases either to local or a test environment, this is also just replaced by a few clicks.

    It is hard to set an amount on time saved, Umbraco says 8-12%, the only thing we know is that it does save us time and some hassle.

    Automatic patch upgrades are also nice. Who hasn’t just upgraded a solution, only to learn that a patch is released quickly after, because an error snuck into the previous release.

    Upgrades between major versions are also easier. Again much less time spend in mirroring files and database to local or test environment.

    Umbraco Forms is bundled and can be used for every project, don’t have to buy and upload license file, and worry about multiple domains.
  • What is a good slideshow presentation without graphs, so of course I have a graph.

    This shows are yearly savings on hosting, as we actually also save a little bit on the smaller projects

    Our old hosting was done on our own server, that the hosting provider maintained, and we then paid a price per site.

    I know hosting can be done a lot cheaper in many different ways, but we just want to be good at developing Umbraco sites, and leave everything about hosting and servers to those who know a lot more about that than us, and that has a price.

    So while it might not be a lot in the greater scheme, it does add up.
  • For larger and more critical projects, we intend to use the Pro versions of Umbraco Cloud.

    Which in most cases also will mean savings on hosting.

    This is an example of a client we will be migrating soon.

    They have 2 large solutions, hosted on the same dedicated server at one of Denmarks largest hosting providers. They also have extra servers for test environments and a lot of traffic, which is not free in their current setup.

    Migrating them to 2 Pro solutions will give us all the other benefits, but will also save on hosting.

    Again, this is very individual, but as mentioned before, we don’t want to use our time doing server tasks, we want to develop great Umbraco sites.

    As you can see the the price for Pro are extra advantageous for Gold Partners. This leads me to something I call the Gold Partner Trick
  • Usually Pro costs €400. For Gold Partners it is only €100

    That means with just 3 Pro solutions, you’ll save more than the cost of the Gold Partner membership.

    €10.000 yearly is a lot of money for a small company like ours, and while we probably would have become Gold Partner soon anyway, this was the final push for us to become a Gold Partner.

    We actually don’t have any Pro solutions on Cloud yet, but we do have one in development, and a couple in our pipeline, and in time we expect to have several,

    But really, the greatest benefits is in the time saved and getting rid of some of the hassle, which can leave time to code some extra nice features for your editors.
  • So what does the clients say?

    A few do not really care, for others “Cloud” is a word they’ve heard, and think it’s a must-have, without really understanding what it is.

    But when explaining the benefits, like

    - It is possible for editors to work on a staging environment, test things out, before pushing to live
    - When upgrading or developing, content lock will either be non-existent or minimal, depending on scenario
    - It’s cheaper than their current hosting.
    Automatic patch upgrades
    Bundled Form license

    The clients are really positive, very much like it and really do want it
  • So what’s next for us.

    We will keep putting sites on the Cloud, if they are applicable, which almost everything we do is. We will also migrate solutions hosted elsewhere, when doing larger development to get the benefits.

    Currently we have 20 projects on Cloud, all created since September last year.

    We will start looking further into baseline projects, to see how that can help us save more time and also.

    And in general we’re looking forward to further development of Cloud.
  • So is Umbraco Cloud right for you?

    I can’t answer that. There can be many reasons why Umbraco Cloud is not right for you. Whether you’re doing very complex projects that aren’t a good fit, have a workflow and/or deployment setup in place that gives you some of the benefits, you might have own servers or have very high hosting revenue.

    We had none of that, so for us it makes sense, and we’ve gotten a lot out of it. And even if it had meant a some lower revenue on hosting, the benefits would still be worth it.

    But whatever your situation is, I’ll recommend you try it out
  • Questions?

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