PaaS will be the way to go, and Sitecore is recommending it. Nearly all the talks about architecture were showing PaaS as the preferred platform to go. Also worth noting that hosting a Sitecore PaaS architecture is becoming more expensive on each release, as new services arise, which increases the number of resources to provision.
Some of the talks, though, raised some issues and instability of Web Apps to host Sitecore applications, which may lead to some unexpected downtimes.
Sitecore platform is not only moving to the cloud, but it's also enforcing Serverless to build extensions or other applications on top of a Sitecore instance. Azure Functions (Functions-as-a-Service), Azure Logic Apps, IoT hubs, DocumentDB, can be used to extend Sitecore in many other ways.
Sitecore Host is the new platform where Sitecore is moving part of the services architecture, and this will be increasing the different microservices provided in the next releases. Currently xConnect runs separately, but also the new Identity service and the (optional) Publishing service runs on Host as well.
Devops tasks are becoming a crucial part of any Sitecore project, and its importance increases along with the Cloud paradigm and the increasing number of microservices to provision, deploy and maintain.
There's also a new path to explore on devops, consisting on automating the resources provisioning tasks (Infrastructure-as-Code), being able to spin up infrastructures in an automated, repeated way, based on Azure ARM templates and web deploy packages provided by Sitecore. Also interesting to automate the out-of-hours scaling down of services to save money in non-production environments.
At least, until Sitecore provides a Sitecore-as-a-Service model, in which case devops operations would be reduced.
Universal Tracker is the new service to track online and offline behaviour of our users, from any device or interaction. Our attendee badge came with an RFID card that enabled the organization to track our attendance to the different talks, send it to Sitecore and measure it as Interactions with the platform.
9.2 this quarter
Sitecore latest version is shipping this quarter with more improvements to the platform, although 9.1 u1 was released while SUGCON was running. New version will allow marketers to get reports on Personalisation components OOTB.
Interesting tool to provide automated documentation and validation on Helix projects. Really useful to have a graphical view of all the projects dependencies and available templates, also helpful when running code audits, or simply documenting the available fields on a specific template, so, for instance FE developers do not need to check Sitecore to get the required fields.
This tool can be integrated in the Release pipeline, so documentation can be kept up to date automatically on each release, and even send notification to slack o Teams automatically on each successful build.
Sitecore is getting it's way through a microservice-oriented architectures, tending to a more complex architecture from a devops point of view, and preferably hosted in the cloud on Azure PaaS platform.
Unfortunately, I couldn't make it to some other interesting but simultaneous talks on Docker, Commerce, Cortex, Marketing Automation, Helix, Publishing Service and many others, but slides and videos will be published at the SUGCON website: https://www.sugcon.eu/video-downloads/
Also, it's always good to connect with other peers and meet personally some of the people you are following on social media! Nice to meet you, folks!