10 Reasons to Upgrade to AEM 6.4 with Rackspace Application Services

Our team of AEM engineers, architects and solution engineers working on details of implementing a new AEM environment.

Adobe Experience Manager 6.4 is arguably the most compelling new release of Adobe’s digital experience management platform to come along in years, offering extremely powerful new features.

With Rackspace’s industry-leading, fully-managed AEM hosting options, customers can take advantage of AEM 6.4’s new dynamic media, fluid experiences and advanced artificial intelligence features without the expense and complication of managing it internally, all in the service of driving your marketing presence to the the next level.

So whether you’re evaluating a version upgrade or your current hosting paradigm, below are ten reasons to consider moving your site to AEM 6.4 with Rackspace Application Services.

The first three are made possible by connectivity to Sensei, Adobe’s amazing new AI platform.

Powered by Sensei AI:

Smart crop and imaging 

Individually cropping images for various experiences (mobile vs. desktop, portrait vs. landscape, square vs. long-rectangle ad formats, etc.) has traditionally been an excruciatingly labor-intensive part of executing a marketing campaign. Adobe Sensei AI machine-learning can identify important elements of an image and intelligently auto-crop and resize images for various layouts, resulting in massive time savings for your creative and content authoring staff.

Additionally, smart imaging allows AEM to detect available bandwidth and device type to automatically reduce image size down by up to 70 percent upon delivery with no loss in fidelity on that device.

Smart layouts

Smart Layouts also makes use of Adobe Sensei machine learning, as well as data from Adobe Analytics and Adobe Target to automatically build relevant experiences for a given content set. A feature Adobe has been working on for the last three years, Smart Layouts built a page layout automatically to optimize for a KPI which you select (value per visit, customer lifetime value, subscriber growth rate, etc), thereby magnifying conversion rates for every page. (Note: the foundational technology for Smart Layouts is included in the April release of AEM 6.4, but full functionality on this will not be available until mid-summer.)

Automatic Smart Tags 

Powered by Adobe Sensei, Smart Tags uses a self-learning algorithm to automatically identify and tag items in your photos — including both generic objects (sky, buildings, clouds, etc.) as well as items specific to your business (i.e. clothing types, automobile models, etc.). As your library and your image taxonomy expand, Smart Tags allows your content authors to quickly and accurately be able to make use of your digital library.

A diagram of an example Adobe Experience Manager 6.4 infrastructure design, showing its connectivity to Adobe Marketing Cloud.

Seven more reasons to upgrade:

Experience Fragments hotspots with Dynamic Media

With AEM 6.4, users can compose Experience Fragments with Dynamic Media to instantly reassemble fragments upon delivery into layouts that fit any targeted screen size. This additional capability empowers marketers to add more interactive or engaging experiences like clickable hotspots, videos or product information pop-ups.

Style System for web components

AEM 6.4 rolls out a new theming system for individual page components to create a consistent look, feel and experience across components or pages — maximizing design flexibility while minimizing development effort. The Style System allows you to create visual variations of web components with zero back-end development, which an author can then select from when designing experiences.

Adobe Launch integration 

Adobe Launch (Previously known as Dynamic Tag Management) is an embracive solution for managing all the various tracking codes used across your properties for user behavior tracking, performance and user experience measurement, e-commerce and conversion metrics. Adobe Launch now has deep integration with AEM so as to be able to instrument any of the properties you manage with AEM. Also, because Adobe Analytics and Adobe Target are required for the amazing Sensei-driven Smart Layout to work, this is a critical component to implementation.

Multi-language search and reverse translation memory

New multi-language features include automation around “reverse translation memory,” which stores edits you make to inbound translations, so that future translations of similar text can be automatically re-used across authors. Also, AEM assets search now has multi-language capability, using Sensei to translate search terms in real time. Users can enter a keyword in one language, and the Sensei algorithm will translate that keyword instantaneously, searching and delivering matching assets across defined language libraries.

Single-page application editor

A groundbreaking new feature for AEM is support for single-page apps written in React.JS or Angular. Whereas content authors trying to edit a single-page application previously would have needed deep Javascript development experience, AEM will be able to import single page applications into the Author environment, allowing content authors to select and modify content areas in the application without having to write any code.

Enhanced maintenance functionality

Properly maintaining an AEM installation is one of the most critical parts of ensuring the site runs smoothly and reliably. AEM 6.4 adds enhanced system logging to each of the main maintenance functions, extremely helpful for system administrators as the status and efficacy of maintenance actions could sometimes be opaque as to what was really happening  while the system conducted performance-degrading, IO-heavy operations.

Also, AEM 6.4 introduces a new “Tail Compaction” method for reducing disk utilization.  Previous versions of AEM had an achilles heel, in that they would need to be periodically brought offline entirely to execute a “Tar Compaction” routine, which was the only mechanism for reducing disk usage. In large repositories, this Tar Compaction could take hours, and in some very large repositories, DAYS to complete. AEM 6.4’s Tail Compaction allows one to run a compaction online, and then quickly run a compaction periodically on the “tail” of only those things which have been added and modified in the repository since the last compaction. This would allow a compaction to be run even several times per DAY as appropriate, thereby keeping all of your AEM instances lean, mean and performant.

Rackspace Application Services automates updates

Rackspace Application Services for AEM is a fully-managed AEM hosting and management service which owns the full infrastructure end of your AEM footprint, including infrastructure architecture, deployment, version upgrades, maintenance and 24×7 monitoring.

For customers looking to upgrade to AEM 6.4, our team of AEM engineers will upgrade your platform as part of our managed service, whether on AWS, Azure or Rackspace high-performance, single-tenant VMWare or Bare Metal infrastructure, using automation designed to provide repeatable installations on all environments with security and performance best-practices built into every install. We have upgrade paths designed to support both the in-place upgrade for our existing customers, as well side-by-side migrations for new installations and upgrades from older versions and configurations.

While our AEM DevOps team sweats the details to get your Adobe Experience Manager platform installation and upgrade working, your development team can then be free to implement the new features enabled in AEM 6.4, as well as address potential issues that may come up in the repository restructuring this version upgrade entails.

Contact our Rackspace Solutions Engineering and Adobe-certified AEM Architects to discuss how your company can take advantage of our years of expertise in managing some of the world’s foremost Adobe Experience Manager deployments.

Tad Reeves is an Adobe Experience Manager engineer on the Rackspace Critical Application Support team. He came to Rackspace after working as a DevOps engineer on numerous AEM/CQ-driven websites, as well as having worn a number of other hats around site development, UX design, infrastructure architecture and dreaming of the perfect deployment pipeline. He lives in Portland, Oregon, and spends as much time as possible out mountain biking with his wife and three kids.