This month Ed and I had the opportunity to go along to UmbX, an Umbraco community workshop, for the community by the community. Hosted by Jeavon Leopold from Crumpled Dog and Lee Messenger from Merchello, the aim was to learn more about load balancing for Umbraco and some of the underlying purposes that make it possible.
The day was broken up into 3 workshops: Bear the Load, Merchello and Azure with Umbraco. It's worth noting that we were using Umbraco v7.5 for these workshops as load balancing as a core feature was only introduced in 7.3, so anyone wishing to get their sites load balanced may need to consider their version and whether an upgrade is necessary.
Bear the Load
We kicked off the day with a run through load balancing in Umbraco. This workshop covered the more traditional approach for load balancing and how it now works with Umbraco v7.5+, using VMs/Servers as your main load balancing drivers. We covered some core topics like Output Caching, Synchronised/Unsynchronised File Systems, Common Configurations and how to configure a Custom Server Registrar.
We've previously done load balancing work for several clients in the past, including sites on Umbraco, so this wasn't anything new to us but we learned a lot about Umbraco’s internals and how Umbraco deals with load balancing from v7.3 onwards.
Merchello is a plugin for Umbraco that gives a rich ecommerce area in the backoffice. The workshops walked us through installing the package and creating our own shop.
We're often faced with writing our own sections in the backoffice for clients that have large requirements with complex configuration and it was a great experience to see it done with Merchello.
Azure with Umbraco
After lunch, we had a workshop on Umbraco in Azure and load balancing Umbraco in Azure. This was the real meat on the bone for the day, and was by far the one we were looking forward to most.
We are currently running several Umbraco instances in Azure and have touched on load balancing too and a lot of the topics resonated with us quite well.
Here we covered: Scaling up/Scaling out our instances, Blob storage for both media and examine indexes, Azure specific configuration, geo replication and Redis Caching.
One of the most useful parts with this workshop, and others of its type, is that we can talk shop with other developers to find out how other people are dealing with developing for Umbraco and how they solve certain problems in the development pipeline. We often discuss the latest tools and packages and how they are used so that we, and others, develop better solutions for our clients.
Big thanks to everyone at UmbX who made it happen!
If you'd like to learn more about how we do load balancing for Umbraco, or have any Umbraco related queries, feel free to contact us!