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, and provides the top 6 reasons for using a Solr as a Service option for your Solr Infrastructure needs 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 there searches for mixed content or where complex queries impact the website caches. Features not availabile 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, your other option is to 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.
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.
This other approach is to solve for Solr infrastructure through a Managed Solr or Solr-as-a-Service solution that offloads the effort to a experienced vendor and lets your developers focus on value-added activities such as building a better search experience rather than dealing with the mundane operational details associated with the Solr infrastructure.
6 Reasons to Outsource Your AEM Solr Infrastructure
Below are some of the reasons why 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 scalability and flexibility you need to efficiently get the job done. 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 to bring in other technologies using 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.