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Kapil Oliveti
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Defining Relationship between Sitecore Databases

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Whenever you look at your server after installing a fresh copy of SQL, do you find a variety of databases arranged in sequential order? Do they seem like too many? Of course yes, but each of these databases has its importance. It can surprise you that Sitecore CMS itself uses three of these databases to manage content within the CMS. Yes, we are referring to Core, Master, and Web.

Let us understand the relationship between these three databases.

Core Database

As the name suggests, this database contains core information required for the running of the system. It includes interface definitions, application information, user data, ASP.NET Membership tables, and many more such Sitecore settings.

Master Database

It is here that business users can have a field day. You can author and edit content, as this section houses all published and unpublished content.

Web Database

The web database is the smallest of these databases as it acts as a conduit for your website data to go live. Whenever you feel the need to make any website go live, you have to move it to the Web Database from the Master Database. When this database opens up to the internet, it is exposed to the threats and risks present there. Therefore, splitting your database between Master and Web is imperative from the safety point of view. Secondly, a smaller web database facilitates easy retrieval of data.

Here are the functions of some of the other databases.

Analytics Database

MongoDB provides the storage space for analytics data in Sitecore 7 and 8. Analytics data is the most important of all the Sitecore Experience Databases (xDB). MongoDB is useful for performance and flexibility reasons. After each browsing session, the browsing data is collected in real-time and written to the xDB. When they released xDB in Sitecore 7.5, it ensured that collecting data on thousands of visitors at once, as it worked best with a document database solution.

Sitecore 9 introduced xDB via xConnect. It was designed keeping SQL Server in mind and contains corresponding databases built with Microsoft’s JSON storage patterns.

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Reporting Database

In Sitecore 7, the reporting database was referred to as the analytics database. However, in Sitecore 8 and 9, they have changed it as Reporting Database to avoid any confusion with the xDB Analytics Database. The role of the Reporting Database is to aggregate data from xDB into a SQL Server Analytics Database. The reporting is done through the Sitecore Client and other tools. Aggregation of data to the Reporting Database requires the role of a separate processing server. This server is added to the production deployment of Sitecore.

Here is a graphical representation of how the databases look like and function.

 Thus, you will see that each of the databases in Sitecore has a vital role to play.

Kapil Oliveti Director Solution Architect


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