With Sitecore 9.0.1 having just been released I was pretty excited to have a look at some of the improvements covered in the release notes. Not too mention a newer version of Sitecore Data Exchange Framework 2.0.1 and the OOTB providers.
Having a Sitecore 9 instance already installed and all its prerequisites means installing Sitecore 9.0.1 quick and easy to get up and running.
- Downloaded Resource Packages for XP Single (XP0) Instance configuration and extracted it to a resource folder c:\Sitecore\901\resourcefiles
- Scanned the 9.0.1 Installation Guide for changes or additional prerequisites and the only thing that jumped out was the updated version of Sitecore Installation Framework 1.1. It contains new features and some bug fixes covered in the release notes. I updated it by running the following cmdlet in Powershell:
- Copied the Powershell Installation script from chapter 4 and compared it to the script provided for the initial release. They are almost identical except for the updated package parameters used to configure xConnect and Sitecore:
Package = "$PSScriptRoot\Sitecore 9.0.1 rev. 171219 (OnPrem)_xp0xconnect.scwdp.zip"
Package = "$PSScriptRoot\Sitecore 9.0.1 rev. 171219 (OnPrem)_single.scwdp.zip"
- When defining the parameters at the top of the script I used the same values as Sitecore 9.0 script except for $prefix & $FilesRoot.
- Kicked off the script and watched it run along without any errors and it installed in 6 mins 46 secs.
Don’t forget to run the applicable Post Installation Steps covered in Chapter 6.
Now, where did I put that DEF 2.0.1 package download!!
If you are familiar with Data Exchange Framework you will know that apart from being able to run a number of pipelines, a Pipeline Batch can also provide summary information about the last time the batch was run:
- Date & time the batch was last started.
- Data & time the batch last finished.
- Log Messages that were captured during the last time the batch ran.
- Log Levels to determine what is written to the message log.
Prior DEF 2.0 the log messages were written to the Sitecore log file (by default) and written to the Messages field. You could also control the maximum number of messages that were written and displayed in the messages field.
With Sitecore 9.0 and the introduction xConnect you might be wondering what you are going to do with all that analytics data sitting in MongoDB, when you upgrade your Sitecore 8.x instance to Sitecore 9. Well, Sitecore have created a tool called the xDB migration tool. The tool uses the Sitecore Data Exchange Framework 2.0 and it provides the ability to read from MongoDB (source system) and write to the xConnect server (target system). If you are not familiar with the Data Exchange Framework I have covered it in an earlier post.
The xDB migration Tool provides a pre-configured mapping of data from the MongoDB database to the xConnect server in the form of a DEF Tenant. The Tool includes two data migration processes.
- MongoDB Contacts to xConnect Contacts – Reads contact data and related device and interaction data for each contact – from a MongoDB database and writes it to xConnect.
- MongoDB Reference Data to xDB – Reads geo IP and location data from a MongoDB database and writes it to xConnect.
I recently presented at Atlanta Sitecore Usergroup and gave a demo using Data Exchange Framework (DEF) 2.0 and the SQL Provider – to read customer records from a SQL table and create items in Sitecore. You can read more about the DEF 2.0 here. In this follow-up post, I’ll walk through the DEF configuration required for the demo.
Eric Stafford (aka Sitecore Superman) and myself had the opportunity to attend the Integration Bootcamp at Symposium. The day was divided into 2 sections: xConnect in the morning with Todd Mitchell (xConnect Product Manager) and Niels Kuhnel (Sitecore Architect) in the afternoon Adam Conn (Director of Product Management) did a deep dive into the Data Exchange Framework. In this post will I take you through some of my takeaways on Data Exchange Framework which I shared recently with the Atlanta Sitecore User Group.
What do we call it?
First, we need to clarify one thing and that’s how Data Exchange Framework is abbreviated. There appears to be some confusion in the community and that’s because Sitecore has a fondness for the letter x.
Adam Conn was insistent that if we left the boot camp knowing one thing – it should be: “the Data Exchange Framework is DEF, not DXF!! And that referring to is as DXF is like Sitecore with a capital ‘C'”.
What is it?
- A Framework Designed for transferring Data into and out of Sitecore.
- It’s an ETL – Extract, Transform and Load the 3 steps of data integration.
- Extract – you’ve got a source system you are extracting data from.
- Transform – we change the data to be compatible with the target system.
- Load – we load the data it into the target system.
- It standardizes how we do data integrations with Sitecore.
- It promotes re-usability by providing patterns and components that help you with your integration leaving you to focus on the other tasks associated with data integration.
- It is highly configurable and extendable allowing you to integrate with almost any 3rd party system.
- It enables Synchronization of Systems and processes.
- It reduces the amount of effort required to integrate 3rd party systems.