Sep. 01, 2020

Tom Humbarger


5 min. read

Implementing Solr with Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) can be complicated, but it does not have to be. In this post, SearchStax shares background on AEM and Solr and 6 reasons to use Managed Solr for AEM.

Editor’s Note: Managed Solr is now SearchStax Cloud. It is the same great product that lets developers set up and deploy Solr infrastructure in minutes.

Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) is a leading solution for creating digital customer experiences and Apache Solr Search is the highly reliable and configurable, scalable and open source enterprise search platform that powers the navigation for the world’s largest internet sites. Together, these technologies can be combined to develop even better cutting-edge digital customer experiences. This post looks at why you may want to incorporate AEM and Solr into a comprehensive enterprise solution. Read on for the top 6 reasons for using a Solr as a Service option for your Solr Infrastructure in your next AEM implementation.

Adobe Experience Manager and Search

Adobe Experience Manager or AEM is one of the top digital experience platforms (DXP) and is consistently ranked as a leader at the top of Gartner’s DXP Magic Quadrant. AEM gives organizations the power to develop exceptional customer experiences for digital marketing and e-commerce solutions.

AEM is based on the Apache Jackrabbit Oak platform which provides out of the box indexing and search services. While the basic Oak indexing and searching for AEM is powerful, there are some areas where Oak search presents a challenge and there are some popular features that are not available at all. 

On the challenge front, performance issues have been known to arise as the number of indexed documents and size of indexes increase, where searches for mixed content or complex queries impact the website caches. Features not available in AEM Oak include: natural language search, keywords indexing, query elevation, geospatial search and query suggestions and spelling.

If you are dealing with any of these challenges or issues, consider the Solr open source search platform. Some other interesting and desirable features of Solr include: advanced full-text search, near real-time indexes, faceted search and filtering, query suggestions and spelling, geospatial search and rich document parsing.

Implementing Adobe Experience Manager and Solr

Implementing a Solr infrastructure with Adobe Experience Manager can be a complicated and time-consuming endeavor. The initial setup for Solr includes building clusters, monitoring and alerting, log management, backup setup and testing and building disaster recovery. Ongoing support for the Solr environment includes scaling, upgrades, production support and backup and recovery. 

There are two ways that organizations typically develop, manage and maintain their Solr infrastructure with Adobe Experience Manager.

There are two ways that organizations typically develop, manage and maintain their Solr infrastructure with Adobe Experience Manager.

Until recently, the more traditional and only option was to take a do-it-yourself or DIY approach to building the Solr environment. The DIY approach costs days of effort and thousands of dollars of expense and more importantly, diverts developers’ attention to tasks that they may not be familiar with or don’t perform very often or well.

The other approach is to solve for Solr infrastructure through a Managed Solr or Solr-as-a-Service solution that offloads the effort to an experienced vendor. This lets your developers focus on value-added activities such as building a better user experience, not dealing with the mundane yet complicated operational details of the Solr infrastructure.

6 Reasons to Outsource Your AEM Solr Infrastructure

Below are some of the reasons to choose a Managed Solr option as opposed to a do-it-yourself approach for AEM Implementations.

1. Mission Critical Applications

When you have a mission critical Solr application that must be performant and available 24×7, you need a solution partner with the expertise and experience to architect and manage a highly available solution for your Solr infrastructure with a solid foundation of multi-node clusters, cross region backups and disaster recovery with CDCR. In addition, you want all of these features backed by a service level agreement (SLA) for support and uptime commitments.

2. Speed to Market is Essential

You have an AEM Solr project where speed is essential and you don’t have the time to worry about how to set up and configure Solr search for your project. This is when you engage a solution partner to quickly set up and manage your Solr infrastructure to get to market quicker and more efficiently.

3. Focus Developers on Value-added Activities

Your developers probably have the expertise to set up, provision, manage and support Solr, but is this the best use of their time? With a Solr-as-a-Service solution, your team can focus on value-added activities like improving the customer experience while letting your solution partner use their expertise and automation to set up and manage the Solr infrastructure.

4. Lack of Solr Expertise

Your AEM implementation team does not provision or set up Solr search infrastructure very often or you’re not sure if they have the expertise to architect a solution to meet your business needs. This is when you want to engage a solution partner to augment your team with proven Solr experts.

5. Scalability with Flexibility for AEM and Managed Solr

If you want the ability to easily scale your Solr infrastructure up and down as needed and you want to do that in an automated way, fully-managed Solr-as-a-Service gives you both. This flexibility will save you money in the long run as you can add capacity as needed instead of overdesigning a solution from the beginning.

6. Future Proofing and Extensibility for AEM and Solr

You want to be confident that your Solr solution is designed and built to be “future-proofed”. This means that you want to know that your Solr infrastructure is regularly maintained and updated as needed to keep up with underlying changes in Solr and cloud technology. You also want the ability to extend the functionality of your solution with customizations such as APIs and Webhooks to ensure your infrastructure continues to meet your business needs.

Whatever your reason, combining Adobe Experience Manager with a Solr-as-a-Service solution will deliver a highly available and performant Solr infrastructure to enable you to move faster and do more with less.

By Tom Humbarger

Senior Product Marketing Manager

“…search should not only be for those organizations with massive search budgets.”

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