Jared Tringale
Jared Tringale 13 March 2020

Share Secure vs. Snowflakes: Why Acquia Wins at Multisite Governance

As organizations expand their digital presence there’s been a massive storm of site creation across every industry. Global brands today typically have hundreds or even thousands of digital properties to manage, and a lack of IT resources leads to a loss of visibility into an organization’s full digital ecosystem. When IT workers are stretched thin, other departments will take site creation into their own hands, resulting in an unregulated digital sprawl where assets are created and maintained in a multitude of platforms, spreadsheets and other incompatible technologies. At Acquia, we call this fracturing of digital property ownership: “snowflaking.” Luckily, there are ways in which you can turn around the snowflaking and gain control no matter how many sites you plan to deploy in the next year and beyond.

Guaranteed Consistency, Security and Governance at Scale  

Acquia Cloud Site Factory (ACSF) takes a lot of the burden off of IT departments and simplifies the experience of managing multiple sites on a day-to-day basis through three principles: consistency, scalability and governance. The platform provides standardized site components like templates that teams can utilize across thousands of sites to maintain a cohesive and holistic brand presence. The ability for organizations to have a centralized view across their entire digital ecosystem means that no one has to worry about rogue gaps in security or non-compatible integrations suddenly bringing down all of their sites.

Unlike other hosting options that don’t offer the same oversight, Site Factory also includes site collections and groups that you can use to organize your websites. These bundle a brand’s primary website with selected secondary and related sites, making it simple to organize your digital ecosystem around a shared, common brand or purpose. This kind of multisite platform gives non-technical site builders and digital marketers the power to duplicate sites, add domains, etc. without needing to rely on developer input, reducing the need for review and providing more value in less time.

Launch and Update Sites With Maximum Efficiency

A common criticism of a common codebase approach to multisite management is that it’s both inflexible and time-consuming to create unique features across different sites without every property looking too much like all the others. However, our Drupal expertise provides customers with a smarter, more efficient way to create and manage Drupal multisite deployments, making it easier to ensure that new sites will still have their own unique style while remaining in line with your greater brand standards. With ACSF, developers can quickly launch new sites with just a few steps:

  1. Select the existing site you wish to clone.
  2. Select a name for your new site.
  3. Complete the cloning process.
  4. Login to the site to customize its settings and appearance.
  5. Add a custom domain
  6. Configure DNS
  7. Profit!

And for more complex customizations, you can use the following more advanced workflow:

  1. Clone codebase locally
  2. Create a new branch
  3. Add new functionality to your site, then push that branch back to the origin
  4. Stage all sites down from Production to your testing environment
  5. Deploy the new branch to the testing environment and confirm that everything is working as expected
  6. Merge the branch to master and deploy a tag onto production, kicking off an automated update process that works at any scale!

The Problem with Pantheon Upstreams

Acquia’s automated code deployment ensures successful site updates and governs the update orchestration procession for each site. Custom upstream solutions offered by other hosting services like Pantheon rely on decentralized site owners to work through code queues to update their sites with no governance and uncertain compatibility between sites. While some may believe that a custom upstream approach to site creation offers greater flexibility in features, Pantheon admits that if you don't use their specific upstream, support is limited to making sure the externally hosted upstream repository connects to their platform. That doesn't sound particularly flexible to me.

The process to launch and add to sites created through Custom Upstreams is similarly complex and requires large amounts of developer attention and time to regularly maintain. The upstream repo must be maintained on a third-party service, and if you make site-specific modifications, you have to be careful not to create conflicts with the upstream code. When pushing code to a custom upstream it’s necessary to log into every website and click the button to update that site. For multi-national enterprises operating thousands of sites, this simply isn’t feasible. Their Upstream distribution only pulls the code into a queue, requiring developers to manually pull changes from development to test to production.

In comparison, Site Factory empowers users to build and manage thousands of sites simultaneously through a centralized cloud management console. This ensures that all updates are applied to every site in your brand’s portfolio, sparing you from having to worry about any legacy properties getting left out in the cold. Further, bringing multiple brands together under one roof means consolidating people, processes and technology. Organizations won’t be duplicating their efforts or falling into the trap of purchasing redundant technologies that serve the same purpose. 

With Acquia Cloud Site Factory, the governance capabilities afforded by a multisite platform and common codebase lets the entire organization feel confident that all of their sites are being built and maintained according to agreed-upon standards, empowering them to focus on innovation, rather than drowning with upkeep.

Please login or register to add a comment.

Contribute Now!

Loving our articles? Do you have an insightful post that you want to shout about? Well, you've come to the right place! We are always looking for fresh Doughnuts to be a part of our community.

Popular Articles

See all
Top 10 Skills to Become a Rockstar in Digital Marketing

Top 10 Skills to Become a Rockstar in Digital Marketing

Technology is continuously evolving, prompting marketers and entrepreneurs to dive into digital marketing to increase brand awareness, reach their target market, and ultimately drive sales and profit. 

Jessica Andriani
Jessica Andriani 7 September 2018
Read more
Top 10 B2B Platforms to Help your Business Grow Worldwide

Top 10 B2B Platforms to Help your Business Grow Worldwide

Although the trend of a Business to Business portal is not new but the evolution of technology has indeed changed the way they function. Additional digital trading features and branding has taken the place of...

Salman Sharif
Salman Sharif 7 July 2017
Read more
7 reasons why social media marketing is important for your business

7 reasons why social media marketing is important for your business

Social media is quickly becoming one of the most important aspects of digital marketing, which provides incredible benefits that help reach millions of customers worldwide. And if you are not applying this profitable...

Sharron Nelson
Sharron Nelson 6 February 2018
Read more
Infographic: Health and Beauty Consumer Report 2020

Infographic: Health and Beauty Consumer Report 2020

A new report from Digital Doughnut sister company London Research and Trustpilot looks at trends in the health and beauty sectors, including how Covid-19 has impacted consumer behaviour and spending. The research...

Linus Gregoriadis
Linus Gregoriadis 7 July 2020
Read more
Promote Your Blog On These 30 Places

Promote Your Blog On These 30 Places

Social Media channels are one of the best ways to promote your blog content, but you shouldn’t stop there. Besides Social Media, there are more available places on the web which can be a great marketing tool for your...

Aleksej Đurđević
Aleksej Đurđević 7 December 2016
Read more