Through a mix of our deep technical experience, our solutions orientated approach, our commitment to maintenance and reliability, and our technology stack, Amazee Labs is well-positioned to be the solution provider for your next enterprise digital project.
Let’s take a look at the reasons why enterprises are putting their trust in Amazee Labs and our Open Source Tech Stack over Adobe Experience Manager.
What is the Amazee Labs Open Source Tech Stack?
As you would have guessed, the golden thread that ties our technology stack together is that all the tools in our stack are completely open source.
Our approach speaks to the fact that information and content have become some of the most valuable resources for many organisations. Consequently, we believe that the technology supporting your business’ digital presence is not just providing the virtual business card or magazine it once was - it is now both a vault and scaled distribution system for some of your most valuable communication tools and assets.
By dissolving traditional dependencies between content management and content presentation, you gain the freedom to build user interfaces that speak to your specific audience, meeting them where they are at, and providing them with what they need.
At the core of our Open Source Stack is the Drupal CMS, which is integrated with an open source search engine to support dynamic and fast content search systems.
Next in our stack, we use Gatsby to power your website front-end. Gatsby is a Progressive Web App generator. The Gatsby front-end builder creates a front-end application that is lightning fast, and hugely scalable.
Finally, being deeply embedded in the Drupal ecosystem for over 10 years, we have seen multiple hosting providers come and go. The hosting layer in our stack is run by our sister company amazee.io. Their open-source, cloud-native application delivery platform - Lagoon - powers thousands of websites in the UK, Europe, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. The list of locations is growing all the time.
And yes, Lagoon is entirely open source.
Before we get to answering the question of why enterprises are trusting Amazee Labs and our Open Source Stack over Adobe Experience Manager (AEM), let's take a quick look at the AEM software stack.
What is Adobe Experience Manager?
Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) is Adobe’s enterprise-grade content management solution for managing and deploying digital content.
As you would expect from any enterprise offering, AEM can deploy content directly to HTML in traditional web architecture, and can also be deployed as a headless CMS to drive decoupled websites, mobile applications, or really any application that you’d like to consume your content. What you may be surprised to learn is that Adobe Experience Manager also rests heavily on an Open Source base.
Argil DX provides a good overview of the AEM architecture in their post about The Open Source Core of AEM, but here are the highlights to support your comparison. The AEM stack comprises three key components which are all Open Source:
- AEM Core rests on a Java Content Repository (which is based on the open-source Apache Jackrabbit project).
- The modular architecture of AEM is provided by OSGi (Open Services Gateway Initiative), an open-source framework which is implemented as Apache Felix, which is supported by Adobe developers as well.
- Apache Sling provides the RESTful architecture and an open-source web framework, which communicates with the Content Repository.
In addition to these core components, AEM also works with several other Open Source projects such as MongoDB, Lucene Solr (built on Apache Lucene), and ElasticSearch. Finally, the AEM project is packaged in a multi-module structure, and dependencies, which are managed by Apache Maven.
Points of comparison
If you’re hunting around for your next Enterprise Digital Platform, there is a good chance that you landed here with the preconception that Open Source is your cheaper option.
On the surface, you’d be right.
Adobe Experience Manager uses an enterprise licencing model, much the same as the other software and tools likely to be found in your enterprise. You can expect to pay at least
$40,000 in annual licence fees for AEM and this can scale quickly if you have complex or large scale digital needs.
By comparison, our Open Source Stack will cost you an annual licence fee of precisely zero Dollars, zero Franks, zero Euros, and zero Pounds. Amazee Labs was founded on direct open source principles. This is baked into our DNA.
However, it would be misleading of us to say that Drupal is inherently cheaper. When looking for your next digital platform, you should take into account the full and total cost of ownership, which includes at least: licences, setup, development and customization, reliability & security (including upgrades), training, and often hosting.
Factoring all this in, the difference between AEM solutions and our open source solution shrinks. But, we don’t design our solutions to be cheap - we designed our stack to be cost-effective.
The real difference from a pricing perspective - what you gain from our open-source solution (and any open-source solution, really) - is the freedom to choose what matters most to you.
If you have complex needs, our solution scales to match. If you have simpler needs, we have that covered as well. You pay for the commensurate value the solution adds to your business right from the start. No bloat, and no unnecessary overhead licensing costs.
Development, customization, and extensions
Adobe has a network of deeply skilled agencies and partners that can implement Adobe Experience Manager for you. One of the challenges, however, is that to truly benefit at an Enterprise level, you often need to (or will be encouraged to) combine more of Adobe’s software and tools together, driving more and more vendor lock-in.
We have open source running through our veins, and vendor lock-in runs deeply against our company culture and values. Our approach to development is to use tried-and-tested plugins and modules where possible but to make sure they come together in a coherent and holistic way. And if you have a specific requirement, we can build that for you.
With Drupal at our core, you’re able to configure complex editorial experiences and workflows. You’re able to support separate authoring and publishing environments and to preview what content changes might look like before pushing them to production. You can even create centrally developed content that can be pushed into separate markets or regions to be customized. Want to see what your regions have changed? No problem, we have that covered as well. Oh, and we routinely support all of this in multilingual environments!
Gatsby lets us consume your raw content, and to transform it for your audience through beautifully crafted website and web application experiences which are lightning-fast, accessible, and future proof.
Reliability and Security
When building custom features for you, we always think about how the software we’re writing will be maintained. One of the criticisms of open-source platforms is that it's easy for modules-and-plugins to get out of control. This is true, but it’s hardly just an open-source problem. “Engineering for maintenance” is required regardless of the platform you’re building on.
AEM vendors deal with this by curtailing your choices.
We deal with this by proudly being one of the agencies who have a maintenance team that stands independently from our development teams. Through our Managed Web Maintenance service, your digital platform’s reliability and security is not an afterthought, but actually, the reason that several people get up in the morning!
Cybersecurity is a key concern for enterprises. Adobe takes the lead in the security provisions of AEM sites. Our Software Stack is backed first by the Amazee Security Team, who are in turn in direct contact with the open-source projects security teams who are tasked with keeping the components of our Open Source Stack secure. Through these relationships, your security team is ultimately made up of thousands of passionate open-source engineers and experts.
The competitive landscape that enterprises find themselves in is increasingly fast-paced. “Idea today, test tomorrow” is how enterprise digital and communication teams are expected to act.
While AEM is built on an open-source foundation, it is still very much characterized by a slower and less agile approach to experimentation and changes.
Amazee Labs has a dedicated extension team that will help you plan, design, execute, and measure new features and changes to your digital platform. With our Open Source stack, you can move quickly.
Decades into its existence, open-source solutions are still fighting against the cliche that open-source digital platforms have problems scaling, despite the fact that the vast majority of the internet is in some shape or form resting on vast oceans of open-source software.
Much like Adobe Experience Manager, we achieve scale for your platform through supporting you in planning, configuring, and running your infrastructure. While we support on-premise enterprise hosting, an increasingly popular choice for enterprise clients is to host their infrastructure in the cloud. With Amazee Labs, you can use our cloud - or in the spirit of freedom and choice - you can bring your own!
“Easy to say”, you say? The same systems that run our enterprise platforms, run Australia’s GovCMS. Check out this case study to learn how during the initial months of COVID-19, GovCMS scaled to support:
- Traffic up to 168TB/month, highest single day was 8.4TB
- Hits up to 1.96 billion hits/month, highest single day was 103 million
- Peak concurrent users on just one single site hit 157,000
- Peak page views in a single hour was 478,000
- Peak page views in a single minute was 89,000
- All while maintaining a 99.9% SLA for the high-profile sites being managed
Why are enterprises choosing our Open Source Tech Stack?
We hope by now, the answer is obvious!
Enterprises are choosing the Amazee Labs Open Source Tech Stack due to the fact that - while retaining a focus on security, reliability, and agility - our Open Source Stack unlocks your freedom of choice and helps you move quickly. It empowers them to craft beautifully designed bespoke sites and apps.
Our Open Source Stack lets Enterprises have not only the digital platform they need but the digital platform they want, all at a price that their procurement teams love!
But don’t take our word for it
Would you like to see our Open Source Tech Stack in action?
Reach out to us today to arrange a demo and take our stack for a spin!