Creating Custom Server Roles in Sitecore 9

Sitecore 9 brings about a new feature: Server Roles. This is actually one of the features I was most excited about.

What is a Server Role?

Sitecore 9 ships with 5 server roles: ContentManagement, ContentDelivery, Processing, Reporting, Standalone. You can read more about what each role is used for from their documentation page. Using these server roles, you can conditionally load sections of configuration based off the server role. Rob Ahnemann wrote a more in-depth blog post that you should check out if you want more information on what you can do with server roles.

##What Role is Right for Me? Standalone is typically used for local development. Emphasis on the word “typically.” Many dev servers are typically Standalone environments too. I may have a configuration that I want to be set on local environments, but not the dev server. What role would I use?

None of them!

You’re not limited to using just the 5 roles. You can also set more than one role at a time. If you take a peek at web.config:

<!-- SUPPORTED SERVER ROLES Specify the roles that you want this server to perform. A server can perform one or more roles. Enter the roles in a comma separated list. The supported roles are: ContentDelivery ContentManagement Processing Reporting Standalone Default value: Standalone -->
    <add key="role:define" value="Standalone" />

you’ll see that the role value is currently “Standalone”. This is actually a comma-delimited list of roles.

Proof of Concept Time I tossed a random config file into the App_Config/Include folder:

<configuration xmlns:patch="" xmlns:role="">
        <foo role:require="LocalDev">foobar</foo>

Notice I wrote “LocalDev” as the required role? I went to /sitecore/admin/showconfig.aspx and did a CTRL+F for “foobar”. 0 Results! What happens if I change the defined roles now?

<add key="role:define" value="Standalone,LocalDev" />

Save. Refresh. Search. We have a winner!

<foo patch:source="dev.config">foobar</foo>

is now present in the ShowConfig.aspx

Hope this helps anybody looking to work some config magic on their solutions.

Still want to learn more? Check Kamruz Jaman’s blog post showing more advanced features and tricks for server roles.