Sitecore 9 introduces a relatively fundamental change in the core platform that will affect a lot of installations across the developer world: Lucene is (almost) out of the picture.
Sitecore has always supported multiple search indexing providers, namely Lucene and Solr (shoutout to Coveo for all they do as well). Lucene has always been the default out-of-the-box provider that “just works” and is a good starting point for getting started with search in Sitecore. Lucene has many limits, however, namely that it doesn’t scale up across multiple servers. Solr is the logical solution to this problem, and is generally a minimum requirement for deploying Sitecore to a multiple-CD production deployment. Sitecore developers have always been able to install a local instance of Sitecore with Lucene and get to work without much fuss.
Sitecore 9 still supports Lucene for Content Search in the CMS, and that is fine for really basic development needs. xConnect – a requirement of xDB going forward – only supports Solr, not Lucene. What this all boils down to: developers will have to configure and support Solr on their local machine to fully embrace Sitecore + xDB development.
This is a big deal since Solr has more installation overhead with Sitecore 9 than Lucene did with previous versions. Sitecore has embraced HTTPS security across all their products, including xConnect, which means local Solr installations must also implement SSL (this can supposedly be turned off, but I haven’t heard any anecdotes on that yet). With the extra layers of configuration and security to set up (not to mention the occasional pitfalls of using self-signed certificates), there are many more potential points of frustration when debugging issues with local development. Luckily most of this can be scripted, so there is hope for fast, automated installs of Sitecore 9 in our future.
Check out this blog post by my colleague Toby Gutierrez to get started installing Sitecore 9 with Solr.
Stay tuned as the Perficient Digital Sitecore team shares insights and lessons learned from our time with Sitecore 9.