Most of the time when I want to explore the filesystem of a Sitecore container, it's pretty easy. I can use Visual Studio's container browser. But that only works when a container is running - and if it's based on a job image this may be a very brief window - too brief to find and explore the file in question. So what can I do?
The other day my copy of Docker Desktop on two different work laptops prompted me to update. And neither would work properly after the update completed. In case this issue is affecting others, here's the saga of what I saw and two ways it can be fixed:
One thing we don't seem to be short of these days is options for deploying Solr. I've had to do a bit of thinking about this recently, as I draw up plans for a work project. So I figured I'd write a bit of it down because if I'm having to explain it to people, then chances are there are plenty of others out there in Internet Land who are finding themselves having to think about these issues too:
If you're part of the Sitecore Partner or MVP community then you probably watched some of the content from their "Global Sales Kick-off" recently. They talked about product roadmap and strategy stuff for the coming year, especially the new XM Cloud product. But something else which Dave O'Flanagan called out in his session is of interest to us in the community too: Sitecore's new internal demo portal.
The need to spin up a demo instance of Sitecore has been a common challenge for me over the time I've worked with the product. There have been various ways to do this - some very manual, and some involving a bit more automation. Different organisations and people all had their own approaches to how best to do this - but it's now being looked at centrally. I was lucky enough to get a sneak-peak of their new approach to this problem. And now it's been launched it seemed like something worth writing up, to make more Partners and MVPs aware of the tools at their disposal.
One of the recurring themes of deploying Sitecore over the last few years has been "how do I deal with Solr?". It's a question with many valid answers... I've been doing some research for a client recently, because they wanted to run their own SolrCloud instances in Kubernetes - and I came across the Apache Foundation's "Solr Operator" project. It's an interesting shortcut to efficient containerised deployments of Solr, and it might help you too...
If you're reading this soon after I post it then it's very nearly the end of the "grace period" where anyone can run Docker Desktop. As of 1st February if your business meets certain requirements you have to pay for each user. So what can us Sitecore devs do if we aren't in a position to pay that fee? Well the good news is you can run Docker without the Desktop bit, and it's not too tricky once you wrap your head around a few things...
I spent some time working with a colleague who couldn't get his docker instance to start up happily this week. And it's reminded me that for all its positives, there are still some challenges with understanding the underlying issues when a developer container instance breaks. I realised I need a "go read this" post for the start of future discussions like this, so here are some problems you might see, and some diagnostic suggestions I wanted a convenient way to share:
My work on a container-based v10.0 project keeps raising interesting challenges – things that don’t work quite the same way in Docker or Kubernetes, compared to the old world of "bare metal" installs of Sitecore. Custom log files are an example here...
Sometimes you have a problem that you should absolutely have seen coming. The annual "the company's Sitecore license has expired" fun is very much one of those things. But I'd not thought about this in advance, and the license expired while I was on holiday this year. It caused my team a load of hassle... But I have a plan to avoid this pain in the future:
I'm in the middle of trying to plan out the transition of a Sitecore 10 development project from PaaS deployments, over to the Azure Kubernetes Service. There's some great info out there, but there have also been some interesting things I've wondered about that seem less documented right now. So here are some things I've learned this week: