The top 5 reasons to upgrade your SDL Tridion installation to SDL Web 8 right now!

It’s about a year since SDL released their Web 8 product. This was the major release that replaced the SDL Tridion 2013 web content management product, but also incorporated digital media management and experience optimisation features that were previously sold as separate products. It often takes a while before companies upgrade to the latest version of an enterprise system like this. There’s a lot of investment in all sorts of infrastructure and customisation, and it’s all got to be done reasonably carefully. Still – after after a year, it’s probably about time for that upgrade, so what are the killer features of SDL Web 8 that people can be looking forward to?

1) A much smoother upgrade experience.

Previous upgrades of the product typically required a “big bang” approach. If you upgraded one part of the system, you had to upgrade everything, and often this meant juggling with a combination of platform dependencies stretching across several different technology stacks. From SDL Web 8 onwards, it’s possible to run, for example, the latest Content Delivery system, while deferring the upgrade of your Content Manager. You can also upgrade the Content Manager first if that works better for you. For businesses that run several different sites from Tridion, this makes it much easier and reduces the risks.

2) Promote-Demote in the BluePrint

This is just a small feature, but when you see it, you think: “Why haven’t we had that for years?”. Sure – previously we could usually find a way to move items up or down the BluePrint, but it was tricky, and now it’s just easy! What’s not to like?

3) Instant Site

With previous versions, a lot of effort was required to set up the infrastructure for a new web site, which meant that for things like temporary “campaign” sites, you just didn’t have the agility you needed. With SDL Web 8, for the price of some extra configuration to start with, you can set it up so that a new site can be created very quickly via the user interface. I haven’t counted, but I hear you can do it in less than 10 mouse clicks!

4) Topology manager

– This probably counts as one for the ‘techies’ but SDL have completely re-designed the Content Deployment infrastructure, and in doing so, they’ve removed some of the direct dependencies that often presented some planning challenges. Now there’s a separate system that manages the dependencies between the major sub-systems. Among the benefits are the possibility of more robust backup strategies and rollouts through the dev-test-acceptance-production environments. If you’re thinking of moving towards cloud technologies, this is also a great enabler.

5) Microservices in the Content Delivery stack

– Another part of the architectural re-think addresses how the content is delivered to your web applications. By using microservices, integration at various levels becomes much cleaner. You have the flexibility to only run the services you need, and these offer future-proof versioning strategies. So not only is it easier to upgrade to Web 8 – in future upgrades, you may not even need to recompile your web application.

As with any top 5 list – this only scratches the surface. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing more of SDL Web 8 as more companies upgrade.

  • Great post, Dominic. I’m glad that you put “A much smoother upgrade process” as number 1, as this is what we’re seeing in the field too.