Everything you want to know about AEM as a Cloud Service
Adobe Experience Manager as a Cloud Service, what is it?
You might already be familiar with the CMS of Adobe – AEM, and you are wondering what this brand new cloud-native CMS is.
AEM as a Cloud Service is the most significant change that has happened to the AEM ecosystem in the last ten years. It’s the next evolution of the AEM On-Premise and AEM Managed Services versions.
We have collected the most frequently asked questions about Adobe Experience Manager as a Cloud Service.
PS: If you have any additional questions, just let us know.
What is Adobe Experience Manager as a Cloud Service?
Adobe Experience Manager as a Cloud Service is a new generation software-as-a-service for experience management by Adobe.
It’s based on the leading solution Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) and offers outstanding content management (CMS) capabilities and digital asset management (DAM) for marketing and communication teams.
The solution has been entirely designed for the cloud and is scalable, secure, always available and up-to-date.
What are the acronyms of Adobe Experience Manager as a Cloud Service?
Adobe Experience Manager as a Cloud Service is also written as AEM Cloud, AEM Cloud Service or AEM CS.
What are the main benefits of Adobe Experience Manager as a Cloud Service?
The main benefit of AEM as a Cloud Service is that your company owns a real cloud solution for its experience management activities.
It comes with many advantages:
- Your website is always available with 99.99% availability.
- You are always using the latest version of the CMS (no need to perform product updates).
- The solution scales automatically (both vertical and horizontal).
- The solution has a low cost of ownership.
- The licence model is based on usage.
- Your CMS is more secure as it is always on the latest security level.
Is AEM as a Cloud Service intended for complex websites?
AEM as a Cloud Service will be the standard for experience management by Adobe for the next years.
The product was released at the end of 2019. Now (March 2021), there are minor differences between AEM as a Cloud Service and AEM On-Premise or AEM Managed Services.
For the moment, complex scenarios might be more challenging to deploy with AEM as a Cloud Service.
However, AEM as a Cloud Service will be able to manage any use cases, websites and integrations in the midterm.
What features are not supported in AEM as a Cloud Service yet?
The list of features not supported in AEM as a Cloud Service (May 2021):
- The Classic UI is no longer available in AEM as a Cloud Service
- Developer Mode in Page Editor
AEM Sites, Assets, Screens and Forms are already available for the cloud and constitute the core features of Adobe Experience Manager.
If you are doing e-commerce, AEM Commerce is as well available. To get started, your Experience Manager Cloud Service needs to be provisioned with the Commerce Integration Framework (CIF) add-on. The CIF add-on is an additional module on top of AEM Sites.
Is AEM as a Cloud Service different from AEM On-Premise or Managed Service and do we need to train our authors?
AEM as a Cloud Service is the same solution in terms of feature or authoring capabilities.
It offers the same interface for editors. If you are already using AEM, you don’t need to train your editorial team again when moving to the cloud version.
The main difference is that the interface is purely touch-enabled. The classic UI of AEM is no longer available with the cloud version.
How does the support from Adobe on AEM as Cloud Service work?
The same Adobe support offerings apply to AEM as Cloud Service as to any other Adobe Experience Cloud products.
The minimum recommended support level for AEM as Cloud Service is Enterprise and Elite.
Will the on-premise version of AEM still be supported?
Yes, AEM On-Premise will still be supported. However, Adobe has decided to not use major versions for AEM anymore, and quarterly service packs will be released on top of AEM 6.5. The last six service packs will be supported.
AEM 6.5 is the foundation for the continuous release approach.
What is the One Inside model to react to issues that arise due to Adobe breaking things in the cloud?
Firstly, One Inside operates the customer application and ensures it works according to defined agreements. One Inside is available for support and service requests during service hours.
To avoid issues during a product upgrade by Adobe, the produced software artefacts are tested in every development sprint from a functional and non-functional point of view.
One Inside has extensive experience in the development of automated tests, including:
- Unit tests
- Integration tests
- Functional tests
To avoid conflicts during a new product update by Adobe, one of the steps in the release validation is to run the latest release against a customer pipeline to ensure nothing breaks.
One Inside writes automated tests that run in the Cloud Manager pipeline to make sure that potential issues are discovered during the validation phase.
What is the pricing model of AEM Cloud Service?
Adobe is going from “instance-based” pricing to consumption-based pricing.
- AEM Sites pricing model is based on the number of page views and API calls.
- AEM Assets pricing model is based on the number of users and storage.
What cloud provider supports AEM as a Cloud Service?
AEM as a Cloud Service currently uses Microsoft Azure. AWS will be another option in the future.
Does Adobe have a data centre in Switzerland?
Yes, for Adobe Managed Services today; not yet for AEM as a Cloud Service. In EMEA, AEM as a Cloud Service only runs in Amsterdam.
Who is managing the updates of AEM as a Cloud Service?
Adobe is taking care of all the updates and operations on the AEM code base. Updates are seamless for customers:
- Adobe is releasing daily bug-fixes. Most updates are for maintenance and security reasons.
- New features are released every month.
What is Cloud Manager?
Cloud Manager is the CI/CD pipeline to use when you deploy new features to AEM as a Cloud Service. It’s a cloud service allowing you to build, test, and deploy new releases of your website in the Cloud.
Cloud Manager provides continuous delivery and continuous integration for updates with zero downtime.
It’s also used by Adobe to update the underlying Adobe Experience Manager application.
Is Cloud Manager the only option to deploy to the cloud?
Yes. It’s mandatory.
What’s the best approach to start using Adobe Experience Manager as a Cloud Service?
If you are already an AEM customer (On-Premise or Managed Services) the first step will be to prepare your organisation for the change and as well as update to the latest version with AEM 6.5.
A step by step migration path to AEM as a Cloud Service will be defined following Adobe’s best practices with the Digital Foundation Blueprint and the Core Components.
Starting from scratch with a brand new website is also a good approach.
What is the Adobe Digital Foundation Blueprint?
The Adobe Digital Found Blueprint is a new implementation approach recommended by Adobe that follows the principle of lean and agile development.
It includes a set of project management best practices as well a framework of Core Components to build the user experience of the website.
The key driver of the blueprint is a fast go live within ten weeks with minimal customisation.
Your company can benefit from a fast time to value and implement customisation and optimisation in a later step.
What are the AEM Core Components?
The AEM Core Components is a library of best practice components designed to speed up website development by leveraging out-of-the-box features instead of custom development.
The library includes five template components (e.g. Page, Navigation, Breadcrumb) and 25+ page authoring components (e.g. Title, Text, Image, Forms, Experience fragment).
Adobe is continuously extending the library with more components.
What are the limitations of the Core Components and should I use them to build my website?
The Core Components are designed to cover the most common scenarios in terms of UX.
In some cases, a customised solution can be implemented.
However, the recommendation is to follow the Core Component guidelines and leverage them by applying your own branding identity as much as possible.
AEM as a Cloud Service paired with the Core Components means value is delivered faster for multiple reasons:
- You leverage what already exists.
- You spend less time in custom development.
- You spend less time in requirements engineering.
- With automatic updates of the system, you can use new features as soon they are released.
- Your team can focus on the customer experience, content management and avoid any discussions about infrastructure.
How do we develop and deploy new features for AEM as a Cloud Service?
Development is done locally and can be set up via the AEM as a Cloud Service SDK. It allows developers to configure and test new features before deploying them to the cloud.
The application code and configuration must be stored in the Git repository associated with the Cloud Manager.
Once a release is ready, an AEM image must be created and pushed via the Cloud Manager pipeline. It must pass all the code quality, security and performance gates required before being effectively deployed on cloud environments.
How do we connect third-party services or databases to AEM as a Cloud Service backend?
The recommended solution is to define CIDR ranges and ports for external connections via IP whitelisting.
At the moment, you can’t make a peer-to-peer network relationships on the same IP subnet between your AEM as a Cloud Service container and any other third party services.
How do we display data from a backend system via JS in an AEM as a Cloud Service component?
Can we use our CDN with AEM as a Cloud Service?
Customers can use their CDN on top of the AEM as a Cloud Service CDN. The default CDN, Fastly, is always included; it can’t be removed.
Is it possible to move AEM as a Cloud Service to a cloud provider of my choice?
AEM as a Cloud Service is a native cloud solution or so-called Software as a Service (SaaS).
Adobe entirely operates the infrastructure needed to run this service with Microsoft Azure. It won’t be possible to move the services to another cloud provider.
Any questions about infrastructure and operation are abstracted to the customer
As a customer, you will focus on the authoring and publishing part of AEM. You could extend the solution with your design and integrations by leveraging the Cloud Manager pipeline.
What are the tools to help with the migration?
Adobe offers several tools to migrate from AEM to the cloud version:
- Cloud readiness analyzer: Assess readiness to move from an existing Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) deployment to AEM as a Cloud Service.
- Content transfer tool: Move existing content over from a source AEM instance (on-premise or AMS) to the target AEM as a Cloud Service instance.
- Asset workflow migration tool: Automatically migrate asset processing workflows from on-premise or managed service deployments.
- AEM dispatcher converter: Convert existing AMS dispatcher configurations to AEM as a Cloud Service Dispatcher configurations.
AEM modernisation tools: Convert legacy current AEM features to the currently supported capabilities.
Should my company move to AEM as a Cloud Service?
Cloud CMS is the future of content management systems. You have to start planning the move now.
If you need any support in the preparation and implementation of such a project, you can contact a skilled Adobe Experience Manager partner.
Digital Solution Expert