While choosing AEM as a Cloud Service as the hosting paradigm for your project, there are several significant differences — both technically and operationally — from how AEM has previously functioned.
One of the primary changes from legacy AEM is the way that AEM as a Cloud Service is developed and deployed. Now, code can only be pushed to production using Adobe’s Cloud Manager. Utilizing Adobe Cloud Manager ensures that customer code is separate from the base AEM installation, as well as from the content, and allows Adobe to upgrade AEM without touching customers’ custom applications.
While this will require some teams to modify their process, what it enables is probably the most beneficial and anticipated aspect of this offering: no need to ever undertake an AEM upgrade project again!
Throughout its history, AEM has been consistently improved, with revolutionary features added for almost every release. However, upgrading was notoriously difficult and costly, often forcing its users to forgo the latest version – and the features it contains – to preserve budget and timelines.
With the move to a more SaaS-like hosting option, AEM as a Cloud Service eliminates the upgrade bottleneck. Automatic and seamless AEM upgrades with no downtime enable customers to leverage new features and functionalities as they become available.
This serverless re-architecture of AEM has the additional advantage of rapid scaling in response to load for both the Author and Publish instances. For example, all files (blobs) are stored and served from a cloud data store, with none of their actual bytes going through AEM.
The publication of new content to Production has also been revamped and no longer relies on the standard replication agents. Instead, it runs through an external pipeline that keeps track of the number of Publish instances.
Finally, there’s the concept of a “Publish Golden Master,” which is never accessed directly, but only serves as the basis for the actual production Publish instances. The Publish Golden Master allows maintenance tasks that normally require downtime to be run for only for Golden Master publish instance, and from which new Publish nodes can be spawned, as needed.
Ultimately, the decision to move to AEM as a Cloud Service depends on the organization’s needs and capabilities. However, if it is a good fit, there are a myriad of technical benefits to be realized:
1. Always running the current version with no upgrade costs or downtime.
2. Code deployment process that tightly integrates with CI/CD.
3. Load-based scaling that automatically handles traffic loads.
4. More Serverless-like architecture reduces infrastructure complexity and maintenance.