digital cloud

Acquia vs Adobe AEM: Our Thoughts on Adobe (Finally) Joining the Cloud

Welcome to the cloud, Adobe! If you missed the announcement from last week, Adobe is now offering Adobe Experience Manager as a Cloud Service. As cloud veterans here at Acquia, we are happy to welcome Adobe AEM to the cloud and offer some advice as they begin on their “SaaS-like” journey. 

It’s hard when you’re not born in the cloud 

Acquia was born in the cloud. Since our inception in 2008 we have leveraged Amazon Web Services to deliver the Acquia Cloud Platform for sites powered by Drupal CMS to our customers. The cloud is an easy choice to make, for reasons Acquia has long espoused: agility, scalability and security. 

Though Adobe articulates the value of a cloud service, our approach to providing these services to our customers is fundamentally different. When initially deployed, “... all instances of the AEM as a Cloud Service are created equal” (Adobe AEM as a Cloud Service Documentation). From the size of the server to the size of the database and even storage, Adobe is taking the one-size-fits-all approach for their customers. While this is one way to kick off an engagement with a customer, it’s also like giving everyone the same size shoes and telling them that the shoes will fit…eventually. 

At Acquia, we understand that one size does not fit all, which is why we take the time to ensure that when a customer chooses to leverage Acquia’s Cloud Platform as the base for their digital experience that they are getting the right amount of resources on day one. Then after day one, Acquia’s Cloud Platform automatically scales to accommodate even the most demanding experiences. This is why after 12 years of delivering some of the most high profile web events on the Acquia Cloud Platform, from the 2019’s Mueller Report’s 7,000% increase in traffic, to the Grammys, to the Olympics and beyond, we can confidently say that we are the most advanced cloud platform for digital experiences on the market. 

Won’t autoscaling improve performance?

With AEM as a Cloud Service, Adobe claims customers will gain a fully managed platform with autoscaling capabilities. While autoscaling is a big piece of the puzzle, there are other factors to consider when it comes to the performance of your digital experience. Monitoring the performance of your web application should not be pushed to the wayside. So, how will you monitor the performance of your AEM application if you move to AEM as a Cloud Service? AEM as a Cloud Service today provides minimal insight into the underlying infrastructure, currently only allowing you to download logs in Cloud Manager, which makes troubleshooting your application much harder than it would be with a log management system.

Platform flexibility and insight into the performance of your application are both necessities when it comes to supporting a digital experience. In understanding that application monitoring is necessary for any customer, Acquia has provided customers with New Relic Pro, Acquia Insights, Stack Metrics, log streaming and Uptime Monitoring all as part of an Acquia Cloud Subscription to ensure that customers have access to all the data they need to optimize their application.

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What about improved time-to-value?

Despite being a one-size-fits-all approach with a lack of monitoring capabilities, Adobe is claiming some serious improvements in how fast they can get their platform up and running compared to AEM Classic. 

“... companies using the application show a 50% faster ingestion time, a 40% increase in administrative efficiency, zero downtime resulting from regularly scheduled updates and an over 20% surge in author productivity.” (Source)

However, none of these points support improvements around the issues that have been expressed by analysts. Adobe’s DXP play will still require multiple products and overcoming a steep learning curve to create a successful digital experience. Moreover, it doesn’t seem to suggest that there won’t be any less difficulty when it comes to initial implementation if there are bespoke components that generally make up a successful DXP deployment such as search clusters, external databases, authentication systems, and other demands. 

Think twice about the migration to AEM as a Cloud Service

It still remains to be seen if there will be a quantifiable decrease in the engagement that was previously necessary for Adobe customers to begin seeing any value and it is still unclear exactly what current AEM customers will be eligible for (or even compatible with) a migration to AEM as a Cloud Service. 

If it comes to evaluating other options that may exist outside of AEM, Acquia has made significant investments over the past year to make it easy to adopt Drupal, which is praised for the flexibility, security and accountability of its source code. The portability of Drupal code allows a web developer to set up a rather complex environment in a relatively short period of time, which is why Drupal is widely considered to be unmatched by most proprietary software options such as AEM.


Not sold? Try Drupal on Acquia Cloud for free here and see why enterprise customers choose Acquia, the Drupal company that was born in the cloud.

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Maggie Schroeder

Product Marketing Manager Acquia

Maggie Schroeder is a Product Marketing Manager at Acquia with a focus on the Acquia Cloud Platform. She is passionate about marketing innovative solutions that solve real customer problems and help IT professionals progress innovation in their organizations.