Unveiling AEM Remote Assets

May 31, 2019
By Brett Birschbach,
Director, Digital Experience Platforms

Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) Remote Assets is finally here! With the Generally Available release of AEM 6.5, Adobe has released their own flavor of our in-demand Remote Assets feature branded “Connected Assets” (which they also term “remote assets” in their documentation – go figure!). But that’s not why I’m excited. The release of Connected Assets acknowledges the critical gap that Remote Assets solve, and what I am truly excited by is that ACS AEM Commons has released Bounteous’ version of Remote Assets, the winner of the 2018 AEM Rock Star contest.

If you’re new to the concept of Remote Assets, a quick recap of use cases covered on my Adobe blog article include:

  • AEM Sites management with assets from a separate enterprise assets (DAM) server
  • Synchronization of assets to non-production (Dev/QA/Stage) environments
  • Access to assets on websites copied to local development servers

The basic concept is that Remote Assets allows you to search, find, and use assets from a remote server within your AEM Sites instance, syncing only the assets you need on-demand. [View a full demonstration of ACS AEM Commons Remote Assets.]

Shouldn’t I Use Connected Assets with AEM Sites?

With AEM now supporting Connected Assets, shouldn’t we all just use that to satisfy our remote asset needs? Absolutely, if your use case applies. I strongly believe in using the tools any framework (in this case AEM) provides rather than a custom solution. If your use case is enterprise assets and you’re running an AEM Assets DAM on Adobe Managed Services (AMS), look no further than AEM’s Connected Assets solution.

However, there are times when an out of the box solution is limited for your particular use case. Sometimes those limitations may even be purposeful, and thus not even on Adobe’s roadmap to resolve. The out of the box solution is great, but only if you “fit the box.”

What If I Don’t Fit The Box?

There are many reasons you might not “fit the box,” for Connected Assets and require a more customized solution. Perhaps your AEM Assets server is hosted on-premise and Connected Assets is not an option for you, as described by Tad Reeves in his article covering Connected Remote AEM Assets Instances. Or maybe you’re looking at other use cases, supporting auto-sync to non-production and development server instances where Connected Assets doesn’t really apply. Or maybe, just maybe (shhhhhh…) your assets are in a system other than AEM (Don’t worry, your secret is safe with us!).

For any and all of these reasons, Remote Assets in ACS Commons exists for you.

My Assets Aren’t in AEM

When we created Remote Assets, it’s always been on our mind how the feature could lower the barrier of entry for new customers to AEM Sites. If your company’s assets are stored in a non-AEM DAM or PIM solution, there’s currently no great solution for using those assets in AEM Sites, and that can be a real drawback of using AEM. Don’t get me wrong, AEM Sites has a lot of upsides too, so much so that we see countless clients choose AEM anyway, but there has to be a better way to use existing assets other than finding them in the remote system and manually copying them into AEM.

What if Remote Assets could automatically sync assets from your corporate Box or DropBox accounts? Or maybe your Canto or Bynder DAM? What if the bulk of your marketing assets are already in AEM, but you also want access to your product assets from your Akeneo or inRiver PIM? Wouldn’t it be great to have AEM work “with” these systems rather than have to “replace” these systems that are already serving critical business needs? That’s Bounteous’ vision for Remote Assets.

Is "Remote Assets" The Solution I’ve Been Looking For?

I don’t know, you tell me. Our first cut of Remote Assets contributed to ACS Commons solves the simpler use cases of syncing assets from one AEM server to another, in cases where Connected Assets isn’t a viable option. Going beyond these use cases, especially those concerning non-AEM asset sources, leaves us standing at a fork in the road with a hundred ways to turn, and that’s where we need you.

Should we build support for pulling assets from shared file drives? Integrate with MediaValet DAM or Salsify PIM? Or maybe you need Bounteous simply to further harden the solution into a production worthy alternative to Connected Assets for your on-prem AEM DAM. Whatever would be specifically helpful to you, let us know. We’ve seen tons of interest in Remote Assets, and frankly, our head is spinning on which direction to go next!