AEM on Azure - Microsoft Execs at Summit

Our AEM and Managed Services teams opine on what this means

This year’s Adobe Summit brought us a slew of unveilings and surprises. Several notable product announcements were made such as the new Adobe Experience Cloud and Adobe Sensei. Accompanying those announcements was a handful of guest speakers discussing various aspects of the Adobe Marketing Cloud and the various ways it is bringing digital transformation to our industry.

One of the most notable surprises for me was seeing Scott Guthrie, EVP of the Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Group, taking the stage with Adobe’s EVP & CTO Abhay Parasnis to discuss the recent Microsoft Adobe partnership and what this partnership enables for both of their cloud platforms and their customers. Scott’s stage appearance was seen as controversial to some attendees and viewers — many people could not easily grasp the idea of Scott Guthrie, a man who played a huge role in the development of the .NET platform, being on stage side-by-side with the CTO of Adobe, an organization that heavily uses Java in their existing products and services.

Scott and Abhay shared with everyone an initial set of new integrations the partnership is bringing and how they are going to transform the Adobe Marketing Cloud and several other Adobe Cloud offerings. Some of these initial integrations announced are Adobe Analytics with Microsoft’s Power BI, Adobe Campaign with Microsoft Dynamics 365, and Adobe Experience Manager with Microsoft Azure. Scott also mentioned that Microsoft currently has data centers deployed in 38 regions across the world for customers to deploy their solutions, more data centers than Google and Amazon combined. This means a higher availability and better latency rate for customers who deploy their solutions across multiple Azure regions.

While Microsoft Azure will be the preferred and recommended cloud solution for Adobe customers going forward, Adobe stated they will continue to support existing and new cloud solutions for Adobe customers that prefer to use AWS. As an AEM developer I am particularly excited to see what Azure will bring to the table when it comes to Managed Services of AEM sites compared with Amazon Web Services.

For more specific and ICF Olson-related Managed Services thought, we asked Stephen Sadowski, Director & Sr. Architect of Managed Services, for his opinion:

It sounds like it was an exciting year at Summit with Adobe following through on their announcement last fall of Azure now being the premiere cloud platform for AEM. I love the idea of broader support coming to any application platform, and the ability for our clients to have more choices that will match their own strategic IT direction. Personally, I’d love to see AEM running on Google Cloud Engine as well, at which point Adobe’s covered all three major cloud providers.

ICF Managed Services

Does this mean we at ICF Olson are going to drop everything, uproot our AWS practice, and push all new clients to Azure? Of course not. Adobe has stated that they will continue to support AEM on AWS, and we have been leveraging AWS tools and practices for some time to help Adobe provide an amazing experience for its customers - and a predictable cost pattern we know inside and out.

Clients

I think the move to Azure does leverage some really wonderful tools that Microsoft already has in the cloud, especially Power BI and Dynamics 365, but what if clients aren’t using those tools? Or what if they have different needs that aren’t met by Azure related to other applications running in the cloud - and of course, as mentioned above, what if it doesn’t match their strategic direction? 

Finally, and here’s the big question - who’s first? Every new combination has kinks to work out, bugs to address, and issues that are created not with the platform itself or the application running on it but the dynamic that is created by them together, and that unfortunately takes time.

At a global enterprise level (Adobe’s AEM bread and butter clients) it will really be Adobe’s level of support that helps push the deployment of AEM on Azure, and I’m exceptionally interested to see the technical references and best practices that are produced that will help us provide this great new option to our current and future customers. Until we can get our hands on that, though, we’ll be continuing to leverage our longstanding Adobe and AWS partnerships and expertise to make sure that we can provide the best possible cloud experience possible.