Adobe announced their new Adobe Experience Manager as a Cloud Service offering today, which we have been eagerly anticipating. Over the past several years, Adobe has led the charge to migrate on-premise software to the cloud and this announcement strongly positions AEM as the premier cloud-native solution for digital experience management. Let’s explore what AEM as a Cloud Service means and why this is such big news. But first, some historical background to put this in context.
In AEM’s early days, and even to some degree today, companies using AEM would stand up their own server farm and host AEM on-premise. The success (or failure) of these implementations was largely dependent on the architecture and development that was often done with the help of implementation partners. As customers demanded more of a cloud offering, Adobe Managed Services was created to help with the hosting of sites on AWS and Azure and to facilitate deploying code changes to those sites. This had an advantage in that Adobe could monitor those cloud-hosted sites to proactively ensure that implementations were properly sized and that customizations were not adversely impacting performance. However, even with Managed Services, it could be tedious and time-consuming for customers to deploy changes, scale environments, and deal with frequent product upgrades.
To help customers thrive in a cloud environment, Adobe created a new product called Cloud Manager. This was a game-changer in that it provided customers with the ability to manage the code release process independent of managed services, and with value-added solutions for security, performance, and code quality.
With the AEM as a Cloud Service announcement today, Adobe has made a foundational change to the AEM platform that truly makes AEM a cloud-first SaaS-like offering that will allow customers to quickly gain value from their investment. Specifically, the AEM platform has separated AEM code from the content and assets that users manage on a day-to-day basis. This separation is huge in that the AEM platform can now be quickly and automatically scaled vertically and horizontally as needed without having to copy what can often be terabytes or more of customer content. Instead, services are leveraged by AEM to request content and assets from a separate repository. This also means that large imports of content or media will no longer have a negative performance impact on authoring environments. It also means that powerful new AI (Sensei) features can run and augment content without causing performance impacts.
In addition, updates to the AEM application are now seamless to customers as AEM instances are now version-less and always up to date. In the past, it could be a very time-consuming task to upgrade from one version to the next. Often, new instances would be created, updated code and content deployed, and extensive regression testing performed to make sure nothing would break or cause problems with the site. Instead, those product updates are now automatically pushed, making AEM as a Cloud Service a true SaaS offering. In addition, rather than having to pre-determine an architectural environment that can sustain anticipated traffic, AEM as a Cloud Service has the ability to auto-scale new instances as needed, as well as increase CPU and storage on existing instances.
In addition to these core changes, the AEM product will include several new features. Primarily, AEM will now come with what is being called the Digital Foundation Blueprint. The DFS will make it much easier to get your new AEM instance up and running by leveraging pre-built features. This includes enhancements to the core components, lots of pre-configurations to save time, a new archetype that includes best-practice code samples, tighter integration with Launch, Target and Analytics, and much more. These features will make it much easier and quicker to create and launch new sites.
To summarize, here are the exciting new features of AEM as a Cloud Service:
- Brand-new architecture that separates code and content for performance and scalability
- Automated provisioning of production-ready pre-configured environments
- Automatic rollout of new versions and features to simplify the upgrade process
- Addition of new Digital Foundation Blueprint to speed time to market
Customers can continue to leverage their on-premise and managed services environments if desired, but these new features will strongly drive customers to upgrade to AEM as a Cloud Service. Many customers, though, have invested heavily in internal environments and automated build processes. If you are an AEM customer in need of assistance in migrating, B2evolve would love to be your trusted partner. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, and for AEM authors, developers, and architects in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, join us for our next Dallas AEM User Group meeting on January 29th.