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Unboxing SDL Tridion Sites 9

Posted by Dominic Cronin at Dec 26, 2018 10:40 PM |

It's Boxing Day, so I thought I'd treat myself by unboxing Tridion Sites 9, or more to the point, installing the Content Manager. Just to give a bit of context, this is not a production installation, but rather a "fifth environment". (Chris Summers once suggested this term for a developer's own setup, as distinct from the Developent, Test, Acceptance and Production environments of a traditional delivery street. The name seems to have stuck.)

I'm installing on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) so I selected a "SQL Server 2017 Standard on Windows Server 2016 Datacenter" with a standard 50GB boot disk. By default I got a system with 3.75GB of memory, but during installation I got a notification from GCP that this might not be enough, so I accepted the suggested upgrade to 4.75GB. I'm not sure if the installation process is sufficiently typical use to determine memory sizing, but well... 4 gigs is pretty small these days, eh? I'm trying to run this on a tight budget, but an extra gig of memory won't be what breaks the bank. (If anything turns out to be expensive, it will be the Windows license, but you pay by the second and I plan to be very disciplined about shutting things down when I don't need them.) The shoestring budget is why I chose a version that already has MSSQL installed. The last time I did this, I ended up running up two separate Windows Servers, but this time I'm just starting with the version with MSSQL, which might help to keep the costs down. Of course, in production, a separate database server or two would still make sense, but this is a research rig. As for where to run the database, I'm also looking at the dockerised version of MSSQL, which has some attractions, but to get going quickly, a Windows image with it installed will be fine.

For SDL Web 8.5 I already had some scripts that took care of most of the content manager installation. I'm pleased to say that these ran with only very minor modifications for Tridion 9. So, for example, the layout of the installer directory is relatively predictable, but the installer executable is now called SDLTridionSites9.exe. But let's start at the beginning. After the usual fuss trying to get the files I needed up to the cloud and available from my image, I was able to do the following:

  • Run my script that kicks off all the Tridion database install scripts. Nothing very exciting here, just a rinse-and-repeat operation for most of the time.Having a script for this saves you typing the same input parameters a dozen times, and gives you an audit trail. Before I could do this, I had to install Microsoft Sql Server Management studio and use it to set up the sa account as I wanted it. For content delivery I may well choose to put the databases somewhere else, but I'll definitely remember to read through this note to self I wrote a while ago.
  • As it's an all-in-one install, it's necessary to disable the loopback check. If you're happy with a quick-and-dirty, this will get you there:
New-ItemProperty HKLM:\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa -Name DisableLoopbackCheck -Value 1 -PropertyType dword
    • After that I ran my installation script. Mostly this is a question of passing some pre-determined parameters to the installer, mainly so it's repeatable. I do, however do a couple of things first. One is to create the content manager system account (tridionsys, or mtsuser if you're old-fashioned). I also set up a couple of optional windows features: like this -
$desiredFeatures = "IIS-ApplicationInit", `
            "IIS-ASPNET",`
            "IIS-HttpCompressionDynamic", `
            "IIS-ManagementService", `
            "Web-Mgmt-Service", `
            "WAS-NetFxEnvironment", `
            "Windows-Identity-Foundation"

Get-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online `
| ?{$desiredFeatures -contains $_.FeatureName -and -not ($_.State -eq 'Enabled')} `
| Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online

The old installer had problems with installing the content manager and topology manager on the same port with distinct host headers. My installation approach involves letting the installer put them on separate ports and then running a separate script to fix things up how I like it. I haven't tested whether the new installer makes this unnecessary, as for now my priority is just getting a working system. Perhaps it's also interesting to test whether my pre-install fixup of Windows features is still necessary.

Anyway, I now have the content manager and topology manager running, and can move on to content delivery. My overall assessment so far is that it's pretty straightforward setup. I'm looking forward to my further adventures with Tridion Sites 9.