The early years of Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) development had a lot of customers asking, “how am I supposed to host this site?” The challenges to find a solid and secure system to host an AEM site were quite large. Adobe had a real problem on its hands because often, the infrastructure that was independently set up by customers was insufficient to the task or was done so by people who weren’t skilled enough in the system to be able to correctly do it. This caused a lot of heartburn for those organizations that made large investments in license fees and implementation costs. Thankfully, the years of maturity and ownership by Adobe have simplified the ways to properly host an AEM site.
Today, there are 3 basic ways to host an AEM environment: Self Hosted, Adobe Managed Services, and AEM as a Cloud Service. Let’s quickly break down each one.
Self-Hosted — This typically means that the organization is completely responsible for the entire server setup, or more accurately that Adobe is NOT responsible. This requires that a company have an actual license key from Adobe. Within this option are actually a few choices: physical on-premise server, private/public cloud, or a managed service provider. Whatever the option chosen, the company will be responsible for handling all code deployments, including software patches and upgrades. A CDN could be used, but the organization will need to set it up and manage it on their own.
Adobe Managed Services — This was Adobe’s initial attempt at a hosting solution and is used today exclusively for those customers that still have a license key. It is exclusively on Adobe’s Cloud infrastructure. Organizations must rely on the Adobe Customer Success Engineer (CSE) for code deployments, or (with the assistance of the CSE) you can have access to Cloud Manager for CI/CD pipeline to manage it yourself. The CSE will also assist in deploying the latest software updates and patches from Adobe, ensuring your stack stays up to date. It will require planning to scale up the infrastructure for high volume events.