Demystifying Costs of Sitecore xDB

Find the Best Solution for Your Sitecore Website

Before you read this, please be aware this blog post does not provide costs for Sitecore xDB cloud. This information is to support breaking down the components for xDB so you can find the best solution for your website.

Specify xDB

These technical requirements assume you have already spec’d up server for Sitecore CMS, as Sitecore xDB will live on a completely separate environment. Critical to how much you’ll pay for xDB is how much data you’ll consume per annum. So the first step is to look at your GA and forecast traffic growth over a three year period.

Once you have your analytics + forecast, you’ll fit into one of the following brackets:

Plan Storage
xDB1 10GB
xDB2 20GB
xDB3 100GB
xDB4 500GB
xDB6 1,000GB

Database requirement is approximately 0.75KB of storage per page view.

Understanding the bracket you fall under will help you cost up the licensing and infrastructure which consist of:

  1. MongoDB collection database
  2. MongoDB index (Apache Solr)
  3. Reporting database (dedicated MS SQL Server Instance)
  4. Reporting services (MS SQL Server Instance hosted on one of the Sitecore instances)
  5. geoiP Lookup service (available in Sitecore 8.1 App Center)
  6. Possible dedicated session state servers (MongoDB or SQl)
  7. Possible processing and/or aggregation servers (Sitecore license)

All these components are required for Sitecore xDB cloud.

Cloud for Sale

We’ve setup the xDB for on-premise client infrastructure before. While this might make sense if you have a strong IT department with expertise in MongoDB and related infrastructure, most clients will seek cloud solutions. Cloud storage for xDB has long term value for money and offers service level agreements (SLA) to take the headache out of configuring, managing, monitoring, and backing up databases.

Sitecore Hosted

Sitecore provide the xDB as a service. The service runs on Microsoft Azure in a local Data Centre. The service has a 99.5% uptime SLA and includes all licenses and infrastructure to operate the xDB.

This includes a shared MongoDB replica set, as well as the MS-SQL based reporting and aggregation databases. The Sitecore servers connect to the xDB using a HTTPS connection. Sitecore provide all management of the xDB. There will be some level of configuration required for the connection but once this is setup, all management, monitoring, backups is taken care of by Sitecore.

Third Party Hosted

You won’t have to look far to find a hosting provider that will provide MongoDB services. And on the surface they are priced cheaper than the Sitecore Azure offering. Rule of thumb, check if their service agreements and infrastructure setup covers Sitecore xDB with MongoDB not a standalone MongoDB. Use the spec up xDB section of this blog to help guide your purchase so you’re buying the right kit. Some questions you need to ask a third party hosting provider:

  • xDB requires MS-SQL reporting and aggression databases on top of MongoDB – how do you support and price this up?
  • What other xDB specific services do you provide to manage monitor and back up these databases?
  • Sitecore xDB passes the data onto mongoDB through HTTP services so who is responsibility in setting this up and managing this integration?
  • If you’re not hosting the Sitecore production environment for us but you manage the xDB, what is the SLA coverage and is there a potential analytical data latency?


No Sitecore license fee for xDB however if you choose to self-host, you should still consider purchasing MongoDB support and maintenance. This can be bought from Sitecore or direct from MongoDB. Also, to self-host you need to set up the MongoDB, as well as the reporting and aggregation services.

xDB will operate on the free open source MongoDB environment. The only difference is support and some management tools. It comes down to experience with MongoDB and willingness to accept the risk of operating with no support.

Sitecore xDB Infographic Download our infographic on Sitecore xDB

Final note on Maintenance and Performance

If you need further information on the MongoDB set and maintenance to review the right option for your website, provided below are some useful technical links that will further your investigation into the xDB solution.

Good luck building a customer experience database!

— Nick Jones

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