Navigating Your Sitecore Journey – From MongoDB to SQL Server

Contributing author: John Schjolberg, Senior Sitecore Developer at Horizontal Integration

Back when Sitecore launched version 7.5, they introduced Experience Database (xDB) with the purpose of enabling clients to collect enormous amounts of information on visitors, including every click, interaction and possible point of measurement. At the time, SQL was not able to scale to store and use the massive amount of data being collected, so MongoDB was introduced and required for Sitecore clients wishing to use the powerful analytics and personalization capabilities. Sitecore clients invested in supporting this new database.

Fast forward three years, Sitecore’s recent launch of 9.0 promises to deliver greater innovation, enhancements, and time-to-market capabilities with benefits for both IT and digital marketing teams. One of those improvements in Sitecore 9.0 is the introduction of xConnect, which serves as a layer between the website and xDB layers (learn more about the promises and benefits of xConnect here). As part of this change, Sitecore 9.0 is now supporting SQL Server for xDB data storage and discontinuing support for MongoDB.

Wait, did we say, “discontinued support for MongoDB?” Yes, however the good news for current Sitecore clients is that MongoDB support will be available soon-ish in version 9.0.2. What that looks like and when, is still up for debate. The even better news is that Sitecore has a xDB data migration tool that allows clients to convert and migrate data from Sitecore Experience Database 8.x to Sitecore Experience Database 9.0. What does this all mean for current and new Sitecore clients?

What existing Sitecore clients should know before upgrading to Sitecore 9.0:

If you are planning to upgrade to Sitecore 9.0, here are a few things to think about when planning your roadmap as it relates to xDB:

  • If you are currently using xDB extensively, consider if you want to move to SQL or continue using MongoDB. If the latter, you’ll want to wait until Sitecore launches MongoDB support in Sitecore 9.0.2.
  • How reliant are you on Sitecore Analytics? Carefully consider the ramifications of switching from MongoDB to SQL, and how your data and reporting may be structured differently with SQL.
  • Is your company conservative or at the brink of innovation? If the former, we recommend waiting to upgrade to Sitecore 9 until any bugs are addressed and there are use cases similar to what you are looking to achieve.

What new Sitecore clients should consider when selecting a Sitecore version:

  • If you are new to Sitecore and choose version 9.0, you have to use SQL. The question remains: can it meet your demands for scale? We recommend creating a proof of concept before going all in.
  • Is your company conservative or at the brink of innovation? If the former, we recommend being at least a version behind the latest to make sure everything is bug-free. In doing so, you may need to swap out databases in the future, from MongoDB to SQL.

As a Sitecore Platinum Partner, we help clients navigate complex situations daily. If you need some advice from our Sitecore experts, get in touch.


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