Notable Changes to Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) as a Cloud Service

AEM Cloud Service brings many new features and possibilities for managing your AEM projects. However there are a number of differences between AEM Sites on premise or in Adobe Managed Service as compared to AEM Cloud Service. This document highlights the important differences.
The main differences are found in the following areas:

/apps and /libs are immutable at runtime

Any content and sub-folders in /apps and /libs is read-only. Any feature or custom code that expects to make changes there will fail to do so. An error will be returned that such content is read-only and the write operation wasn’t able to complete. This has an impact in a number of areas of AEM:

  • No changes in /libs are allowed at all.
    • This is not new rule, however this was not enforced in previous on-premise versions of AEM.
  • Overlays for areas in /libs that are allowed to be overlaid are still permitted within /apps.
    • Such overlays must come from Git via the CI/CD pipeline.
  • Static Template design information that is stored in /apps can’t be edited via UI.
    • It is recommended that you leverage Editable Templates instead.
    • If Static Templates are still required, configuration information must come from Git via the CI/CD pipeline.
  • MSM Blueprint and custom MSM roll-out configurations must be installed from Git via the CI/CD pipeline.
  • I18n translation changes need to come from Git via the CI/CD pipeline.

OSGi bundles and configurations must be treated as code

Changes to OSGi bundles and configurations must be introduced via the CI/CD pipeline.

  • New or updated OSGi bundles must be introduced through Git via the CI/CD pipeline.
  • Changes to OSGi configurations can only come from Git via the CI/CD pipeline.

The Web Console, used in previous versions of AEM to change OSGi bundles and configurations, is not available in AEM Cloud Service.

Changes to publish repository are not allowed

Aside from changes under the /home folder on the publish tier, direct changes to the publish repository are not allowed on AEM Cloud Service. In prior versions of on-premise AEM or AEM on AMS, code changes could be made directly to the publish repository. Some limitations can be mitigated in the following ways:

  • For content and content based configuration: make the changes on the author instance and publish them.
  • For code and configuration: make the changes in the GIT repository and run the CI/CD pipeline to roll them out.

Custom runmodes are not allowed

The following runmodes are provided out-of-the-box for AEM Cloud Service:

  • author
  • publish
  • prod
  • stage
  • author.stage
  • publish.stage
  • dev

Additional or custom run modes are not possible in AEM Cloud Service.

Removal of Replication Agents and related changes

In AEM Cloud Service, content is published using Sling Content Distribution. The replication agents used in previous versions of AEM are no longer used or provided, which might impact the following areas of existing AEM projects:

  • Custom workflows that push content to replication agents of preview servers for example.
  • Customization to replication agents to transform content
  • Using Reverse Replication to bring content from publish back to author

In addition, note that the pause and disable buttons have been removed from the replication agent administration console.

Removal of Classic UI

The Classic UI is no longer available in AEM Cloud Service.

Publish-Side Delivery

HTTP acceleration including CDN and traffic management for author and publish services are provided by default in AEM Cloud Service.

For project transitioning from AMS or an on-premises installation Adobe strongly recommends leveraging the built-in CDN, because features within AEM Cloud Service are optimized for the CDN provided.

Asset Handling and Delivery

Asset upload, processing, and download are optimized in Experience Manager Assets as a Cloud Service. Assets is now more efficient, enables more scaling, and lets you upload and download at much faster rate. Also, it impacts the existing custom code and some operations. For a list of changes and for parity with Experience Manager 6.5 features, see the changes to Assets.

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