­AEM Vs Open Source Content Management

Web content management systems (WCM) have gained immense popularity in recent times to communicate with customers. Latest developments have necessitated WCM's integration and collaboration with a wide range of other systems. In this article, we'll look at the differences between AEM and Open Source Content Management systems. We will assist individuals in selecting the right content management system that best suits their needs by highlighting the features, pros, and cons of both platforms.

Content Management is the new necessary in the modern-day marketing world. There are several software and systems that have been formulated in the past couple of years to facilitate this purpose. With more businesses expanding in the digital space there is an increasing need to manage and optimize the content on this interface.

AEM and Drupal are two very prominent examples of the private and open source systems of content management respectively. We can understand the nature of both these types of systems through the advantages and shortcomings faced by both in their usage so far as discussed below.

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AEM Vs Open Source - What are the Differences?

Introduction to Web CMS (content management system)

As necessary as it is for all businesses and brands to have a website for it to serve as a doorway to their services, it isn’t improbable that not everyone has the technical ability or interest to be able to customize their websites. CMS allows you to add and update content and manage it, without any technical know-how.

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Why choose Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) for your Web CMS?

Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) is a widely and popularly used CMS. Its popularity can be attributed to the fact that AEM has several benefits in the way it is structured:

  • It comprises five modules, namely Sites, Assets, Mobiles, Forms, and Communities.
  • It has more machine learning features which can prove to be important for making several marketing-based decisions.
  • It has added customization features, which is always desirable for any brand to create a marketing strategy that can stand out.
  •  It is becoming increasingly open-source which makes it cost-effective and entirely flexible in form and structure.
  • A single code foundation can be used to build different applications with ease.
  • Content can be updated and tracked very easily with an efficient system that notifies you of all-important upcoming strategies.
  • Adobe Forms can be used for security and tracking purposes.
  • Advanced transactions can be simplified and executed easily.
  • Adobe Community helps to formulate an online interface for discussions and interactions amongst people in the relevant domain.
  • Valuable input in the form of feedback and ratings can be accumulated which is always beneficial for the growth and improvement of the brand as a whole

Adobe Experience Manager Digital Trends

Certain trends that can be considered with the changing technology and growth make AEM even more relevant in its use today.

In the past year, machine learning and artificial intelligence have seen a growth spurt in the industry. 

Anything which can inculcate AI features, therefore, by default becomes very promising for upcoming strategies in the future.

Adobe Sensei can be seen to be relevant in this domain. Smart tagging and other decision-making features can be availed which makes it a very relevant product [SD1] in the digital marketing world.

Another important marketing factor is the high flexibility of AEM.

It can be easily customized into a unique interface for different brands according to their requirements, thus making it possible for the brand to have a unique identity. 

The representation of the brand in the online marketplace is greatly impacted by its online apparel with AEM,

different departments inculcating a wide variety of features are integrated to provide a single platform that is able to tackle the daunting task of marketing along with being extremely efficient in the growth and economics of the trade.

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Why Acquia + Drupal is an Open source option

Drupal is an open-source platform with a content management framework. Acquia is a software-as-a-service company that offers paid Drupal services and also contributes in the form of codes freely to the Drupal community.

Acquia is built using Drupal as an open-source platform. They are integrated with various software programs in order to facilitate different features. Acquia is one of the leading open-source platforms present today and can be considered as an option with the following features:

  • It enables web developers and easy networking features, both of which are primary concerns for the marketing strategy.
  • It provides efficient hosting and management facilities.

Essentially, there are several open-source WCM but only Acquia is able to meet the present-day marketing standards, hence making it practically the only technically open-source option that is worth being considered.

[ Related Article: Adobe CQ5 Interview Questions & Answers ]

Drupal and its features

  • One of the earliest versions of Drupal known as Drupal core was formulated with basic content management features.
  • It is adequate because it is a sophisticated enough application programming interface for developers while having easy installation steps and administration that require no particular programming skills.
  • It facilitates an auto-update feature that notifies the user of any new modules or security updates. This can be really helpful in the field of content management. The faster the security updates are applied, the better it will be for the safe processing and usage of the content.
  • Data abstraction can also be ensured under Drupal. Newer versions of Drupal enable the user to use PHP data objects to abstract the database so that the developer no longer needs to use SQL queries.
  • There is increased accessibility in several ways which can be extremely beneficial. Web accessibility is at an all-time high with an effort at resolving the accessibility barriers.
  • Further, features like drag and drop, adding labels and skip navigation, and an active supportive community are strong features to aid a CMS.

Open source vs closed source systems: Pros and cons


  • In open-source systems, the source code is made available for public access. It can be altered and hence, becomes more flexible according to rising needs.
  • The open-source systems are free of cost which is a huge advantage.
  • Closed source systems, on the contrary, are built privately and sold to the masses for profitable purposes.
  • A license fee is included and there are further upgrades and packages that can be bought subsequently.
  • Closed source systems have a vast array of well-formulated features with a dependable security system.


  • Open-source systems are more flexible to customization as the source code can be easily modified and reinforced. However, since it has unprecedented access, this makes it subject to security concerns.
  • Without a high budget, they are hardly comparable to features of closed systems.
  • The cost, however, is definitely a drawback, along with the lack of flexibility and customization in closed systems.

[ Related Article: Adobe CQ5 System Administration Interview Questions & Answers

Let’s compare AEM and Drupal in a tabular form

It, being open-source, is more flexible.
It is becoming progressively more flexible but the implementation is likely to take some time.
As more access is provided, it has a directed security system.
Security maintained and managed by a proprietary team.
It has high scalability and integration features to increase speed.
It is moderately scalable.
It has a primary focus on accessibility and usability.
It is extremely easy to use.

The Open Nature of Adobe

Adobe is a commercial WCM. It is a commonly observed trend for commercial CMS to be used with sites entailing a higher traffic rate. There are several open-source embodiments that are used in AEM.

Therefore, contrary to popular belief, it is not an entirely closed source format system. In fact, it is one of the most open WCM available in the present scenario.

The expenses incurred using AEM

Adobe Experience Manager is chargeable in accordance with the different features that are availed and therefore can be fluctuating. The cost can range from $250,000 to $1,000,000 yearly.

Though there are additional costs for developing and implementation, Adobe is still considered one of the reasons sellers of a comparable standard of CMS.


Hence, considering all the factors, it can be said that, Adobe Experience Manager stands to be a very reliable and efficient option for content management among its contemporaries. It provides the twin benefit of being able to be open yet ensure a high level of security and customization. Drupal, on the other hand, is much more flexible and responsive in all its features. These factors must be observed while considering it for web and content management purposes.

List of Other Adobe Certification Courses:

 Adobe CQ5 Adobe CQ5 System Administrator
 Adobe Analytics Adobe Marketing Cloud
 Adobe Creative Cloud Adobe Analysis Workspace
 Adobe Target Adobe Audience Manager
 Adobe Experience Manager Adobe Dynamic Tag Management
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Last updated: 03 Apr 2023
About Author

Sandeep is working as a Senior Content Contributor for Mindmajix, one of the world’s leading online learning platforms. With over 5 years of experience in the technology industry, he holds expertise in writing articles on various technologies including AEM, Oracle SOA, Linux, Cybersecurity, and Kubernetes. Follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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