All (almost) connections to databases in Sitecore 9.1

That will be a really quick and short blog post. I would like to share with you a graph which I made when I was checking which services/roles connect to SQL Server and which databases are utilized by particular items.

Click the image if you want to open it in an original/bigger size.

I hope that it will be helpful for you because I believe that one image is worth thousands of words. 

Here you have got also mindomo’s file which you can import and edit on www.mindomo.com (works perfectly with google drive): Sitecore 9.1 XP Scaled.mom

How to add https/ssl support to Sitecore 9.1 local instance?

I noticed that accidentally that by default CM application uses http not https – at least when we use installation scripts for on-premise XP0 topology.

Because I wanted to add https to my website I asked myself – “how can I do that EASILY?” I do not know how about you – but I hate to play with certificates on my local machine – very often it means many lost hours which I could spend on development of new features.

To achieve that I checked how Sitecore create and install certificates inside their scripts and I found the following task:

 Invoke-AddWebFeatureSSLTask

It took me few minutes to find final list of attributes which should be set to add certificate acceptable by services like identity server or xconnect. Final version is here:

Invoke-AddWebFeatureSSLTask -Hostname sc910.sc -SiteName sc910.sc -Port 443 -ClientCertLocation LocalMachine -OutputDirectory "C:\certificates" -RootDnsName "DO_NOT_TRUST_SitecoreRootCert" -RootCertName "root-authority"

HostName and SiteName should be values used by your website (check it in IIS configuration if you are not sure). Output directory is a place where you store your certificates. The rest of the parameters I would leave unchanged because they use default values from Sitecore’s installation scripts.

As a result of this task you should see:

  • new certificate file
  • new certificate registered in IIS
  • new binding added to your website

Because Identity Server uses http by default – please remember to update its configuration. If you do not do that – you will not be able to log in into Sitecore instance.
More details about that you will find here.

Install-SitecoreConfiguration : Failed to start service Sitecore Marketing Automation Engine

I do not know if you are so lucky as I am … but every time when I am trying to install a new version of vanilla Sitecore on my local instance I have got issues which did not appear for other developers.

This time during installation of Sitecore 9.1 which should take 10-15 minutes I noticed that XP0-SingleDeveloper.ps1 script starts and stops more or less in the middle of whole installation process with following error: 

[---------------------------------- XConnectXP0_StartServices [2] : ManageService --------------------------------------------------]
[XConnectXP0_StartServices [2]]:[Updating] sc910.xconnect-MarketingAutomationService
Install-SitecoreConfiguration : Failed to start service 'Sitecore Marketing Automation Engine - sc910.xconnect-MarketingAutomationSer
vice (sc910.xconnect-MarketingAutomationService)'.
At C:\ResourceFiles\XP0-SingleDeveloper.ps1:74 char:1
+ Install-SitecoreConfiguration @singleDeveloperParams *>&1 | Tee-Objec ...
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo          : NotSpecified: (:) [Write-Error], WriteErrorException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : Microsoft.PowerShell.Commands.WriteErrorException,Install-SitecoreConfiguration

[TIME] 00:04:07
Start-Service : Failed to start service 'Sitecore Marketing Automation Engine - sc910.xconnect-MarketingAutomationService (sc910.xcon
nect-MarketingAutomationService)'.
At C:\Program Files\WindowsPowerShell\Modules\SitecoreInstallFramework\2.0.0\Public\Tasks\Invoke-ManageServiceTask.ps1:40 char:33
+                     $instance | Start-Service
+                                 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo          : OpenError: (System.ServiceProcess.ServiceController:ServiceController) [Start-Service], ServiceCommand
   Exception
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : StartServiceFailed,Microsoft.PowerShell.Commands.StartServiceCommand

I spent few hours trying to fix that. Based on previous experiences with Sitecore 9 and issues which I had with certificates I checked if my xConnect is accessible from the browser – it wasn’t. So I knew why I saw that error. 

Usually, when I had an issue with certificates I had to just add those certificates to the trusted list with mmc tool (more details here) but not this time. 

I started to search for solution in the internet and found following articles: 

  • https://kamsar.net/index.php/2017/10/All-about-xConnect-Security/
  • https://sitecorecorner.com/2017/10/25/sitecore-9-xconnect-ssl-and-that-403-forbidden/
  • https://stackoverflow.com/questions/26247462/http-error-403-16-client-certificate-trust-issue

The third link has been mentioned in the second link as a solution. In my case, this didn’t help but suggested the solution.

Powershell scripts were moving certificates to Intermediate Certification Authorities category – in theory it should be enough … in my case didn’t change anything so I checked what I had in this directory. 

I found out that DO_NOT_TRUST_SitecoreRootCert was added there many times. That was signal to me that it seems to be an issue. I deleted all of them before I tried install Sitecore again. And it worked! 

Currently, after installation I have got just one SitecoreRootCert. 

No data in Application Insights for Sitecore instance?

It is a short article from the series “How is it possible that I missed that rows in the configuration?”

When we use Application Insights in Azure we usually have data about:

  • Logged errors
  • Failed Requests
  • Server response time
  • Server requests
  • etc

But in my instance, I had only information about logged errors and other warnings. My charts with data about requests were empty and it was looking in the following way:

I spent a few hours on searching for the solution. I tried solutions from StackOverflow but in my case, nothing worked.

So after another few hours of checking all the configs, I found out that the issue is a missing module from web.config file.

Rows responsible for adding data to Application Insights are:

<remove name="TelemetryCorrelationHttpModule" />			<add name="TelemetryCorrelationHttpModule" type="Microsoft.AspNet.TelemetryCorrelation.TelemetryCorrelationHttpModule, Microsoft.AspNet.TelemetryCorrelation" preCondition="integratedMode,managedHandler" />
			<remove name="ApplicationInsightsWebTracking" />			<add name="ApplicationInsightsWebTracking" type="Microsoft.ApplicationInsights.Web.ApplicationInsightsHttpModule, Microsoft.AI.Web" preCondition="managedHandler" />

The bolded one (one which was missing in my configuration) is responsible for telemetry data like number or time of the requests.

The second one is responsible for the errors and logs added to the AI.

After that change, my data appears on the charts!

Sitecore Symposium 2018 – All discounts in one place!

EDIT: early-bird price has been removed – 01-08-2018
EDIT: it seems that early-bird is still available – 20-08-2018
EDIT: Sitecore Trial contest has been finished and the winner has been announced – 21-08-2018
EDIT: added information about visa invite letter – 21-08-2018
EDIT: added detailed information about hotel rooms discount
EDIT: removed early-bird price
EDIT: removed MVP code – 14-09-2018
EDIT: removed hotel discounts – 20-09-2018

Are you going to attend on Sitecore Symposium 2018 in Orlando and you still do not have tickets and accommodation? Great, this is post for you!

These days everyone complains for lack of time so I built a list of discounts which Sitecore has prepared for you this year – maybe it will let you to get tickets in better price.

I will try to continuously update that list to share with you all up to date information which I found.

Buy tickets sooner

It is nothing new – if you will buy tickets sooner you will get a better price. This year Sitecore has prepared three price levels:

  • Early-bird: 1295$
  • Advanced: 1495$
  • Regular: 1595$

It means that if you will buy tickets now (July) you will get
100$ discount
.

Use referral links from MVPs

Every MVP can prepare a special link with code which lets you to by tickets 100$ cheaper than price at the moment is. Code expires Friday, September 14, 2018.

So currently it means – 200$ off.

Click image or this link https://sitecoresymposium2018.smarteventscloud.com/portal/registration/MVPLSKOWRONSKI to use my code.

Remember, in case of any problems you can use also code directly: MVPLSKOWRONSKI

Code expires: 14 September 2018

Share your experience and get ticket
for free!

On July Sitecore has announced new trial license for developers. If you have not heard about that – check details here: https://community.sitecore.net/technical_blogs/b/technical-marketing/posts/announcing-the-global-availability-of-the-sitecore-developer-trial.

Everyone who have tried that and will share what achieved with Sitecore during 60 days of tests, have a chance to win free ticket (regular price – 1595$).

Contest closes on August 03, 2018 so you do not have too much time. Check details here: https://community.sitecore.net/technical_blogs/b/technical-marketing/posts/developer-trial-symposium-ticket-contest

The winner of this contest has been announced. The winner is Mohammad Abujaffal – congrats! Check his story here: My Sitecore story.

If you want to check Sitecore’s announcement – visit this page.

Buy tickets in group

If you are coming with the team or you just want to organize with friends you can get discounts for groups.

Currently two levels of discount are prepared:

  • 5-9 people = 75$ off
  • 10 people and more = 100$ off

Tickets must be purchased together and cannot be combined with additional discounts.

Discounted rate in Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

As always also this year Sitecore has organized better hotel prices for all Symposium attendees.

Use that link: https://www.swandolphin.com/groupres/site18/ to start booking process.

Worth to know that this year tracks will be split between Swan and Dolphin hotels, so if you would like to see:

  • non-technical tracks – make booking in Dolphin
  • technical tracks – make booking in Swan

Cost of a hotel room starts from USD $259 + $25 daily resort fee/night plus tax, currently 12.5% – offer expires on Friday, September 7, 2018.

Save time with Disney Resorts benefits

If you are going to stay in Swan or Dolphin you can enjoy special deals which will save your time – if you will decide to visit Walt Disney Wolrd.

On the list of benefits you will find:

  • FastPass++ reservation up to 60 days in advance
  • Extra hours benefit – Walt Disney World will be open for you before and after normal working hours
  • Possibility to order Disney tickets in advance
  • and more….

Check all benefits here: https://www.swandolphin.com/aboutus/benefits.html

Save time on US border

It is possible to get visa invite letter from Sitecore. With this letter will be easier to get visa. If you want to have it – write an email with following details to SitecoreSymposium@sitecore.com :

  • invoice number (you have to buy symposium ticket first)
  • job title
  • company name
  • company street
  • company city & postcode
  • country

 

Hopefully gathered information from this post will let you to save some bucks to spend them in Orlando!