Industry Insights

Alfresco Makes it Easy to Move Fast & Deploy Efficiently

2018 has been quite a year for Alfresco with a newly appointed CEO and beefing up to their executive team, it’s only natural to announce some of their major product updates. Last year, Alfresco introduced its new Digital Business Platform and earlier this month Alfresco announced that it's bringing its open-source enterprise content management and business process management services platform to the Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes and adding support for Amazon Glacier archival storage.

Using the Digital Business Platform will allow you to create automated workflows involving multiple documents and users for tasks such as case management, project collaboration, web content publishing, and compliance records management. Alfresco said its platform can be used to reduce the time to create complex workflow applications from "weeks to minutes" speeding things up tremendously!

In a previous interview, my colleague Laura Myers asked Alfresco's CEO Bernadette Nixon to comment on the changes happening in the ECM market and how speed is a factor. “Speed is really at the root of what I see, the speed of change, the speed of transformation and the pressure that it puts on a business. You’ve got changes in business models and the way that translates into IT who is typically the part of an organization that we connect most with. They’re under a lot of pressure, they have to be nimble so when the business says pivot, they’re able to pivot and that’s really hard when you’re a product of your history and you’re a product of your systems and the infrastructure in place.” 

Following the product update release, I was able to connect with Chris Wiborg, Vice President of Product Marketing at Alfresco to inquire what the benefits to these significant updates hold for the Alfresco users.

What were the biggest areas of importance that this product update to your Digital Business platform were trying to address?

"Let me break that answer into two parts: on the “backend” of things, our objective was to further increase the speed at which our customers can rapidly deploy solutions built atop Alfresco at a global scale, while at the same time reducing infrastructure storage costs. On the “frontend” our objective was to deliver an intuitive (and extensible!) out-of-the-box experience that makes it easier for folks to complete the most common tasks associated with managing enterprise content."

Your press release mentioned the New Alfresco Digital Workspace, could you tell us more about this and how it will benefit users?

"Traditionally, the user experience of robust content management systems can be complex, often getting in the way of the most common tasks people want to perform such as uploading/downloading, viewing and sharing content. With this new out-of-the-box experience, we’ve streamlined the default Alfresco UX to focus on the activities that are most important - many of which are made available through a contextual right-click actions menu. But don’t be fooled: the power of the underlying platform is still there to meet the needs of the most sophisticated power user. And if the experience you get out-of-the-box with the Alfresco Digital Workspace isn’t quite enough to meet your needs, modifying it to do so is a snap given that under the hood, it’s powered by the Alfresco Development Framework."

By supporting Amazons Glacier how will this directly benefit Alfresco users?

"Amazon Glacier support will actually be relatively transparent to users: as far as they know any content stored in Glacier is just part of the system in which they manage their documents, images, videos and more. For administrators on, the other hand, this is a big deal. By creating rules within Alfresco to manage the lifecycle of an organization’s content to take advantage of Amazon’s different storage tiers (S3, S3IA, Glacier), organizations can save up to 70% on the cost of storage as compared to traditional on-premises storage systems. So for example, if a document or folder hasn’t been accessed for a long period of time – or if it’s two versions or older than the “final” – it might make sense to move those into the lower cost “cold storage” option Glacier provides. Particularly for customers who need to keep a lot of content around for regulatory purposes, but access it on a very infrequent basis the cost savings can really add up quickly here."

Supporting Amazon EKS, I understand that it will reduce build time, could you explain how this is achieved for Alfresco users?

"Our announced support for Amazon EKS is more about making sure that it’s easy for our customers to rapidly deploy, manage, and scale an Alfresco implementation.  As application containerization is the direction many of our customers are headed as they modernize their IT environments, in our prior release we delivered Alfresco component services as a series of Docker containers orchestrated by Kubernetes. With this announcement, we’re taking things a step further for our customers who have chosen AWS as their preferred public cloud provider. Using a reference AWS CloudFormation template, they will be able to use EKS to provision a cluster that ensures Alfresco applications are secure, scalable, and globally available within minutes. Infrastructure as code is a very freeing thing: allowing organizations to focus more on building and delivering value-add applications on top of platforms such as Alfresco."

Ending Notes

The rivalry through modern software today is overturning entire industries and forcing companies to change how they think. The biggest changes we'll face will come not from the software applications, but instead from the modern application platform and integration of the information that powers it. Having a modern application platform will enable organizations to create new customer-friendly services, unlock data from legacy applications, and build the foundation of a digital core that will support the continuous transformation of the business.

In the press release Bernadette mentioned “we are proud to lead the charge in taking advantage of what the cloud has to offer. Alfresco’s support for Amazon Glacier unlocks up to 70 percent savings when compared to on-premises solutions while offering secure, durable storage for content archiving. And with its query-in-place functionality, Glacier support brings old information back to life by allowing you to run powerful analytics against your archival content with the Alfresco Search and Insight Engine.”

Alfresco has been listening to their customers’ requests and the newly announced updates to Alfresco Digital Business Platform is intended to make the user experience simpler, easy to build on and allow for easier integration. Ultimately digital transformation is about the journey, not only the destination.

Natalie Evans

Natalie Evans

Natalie Evans has over 16-years in the tech industry and currently works as the event coordinator and tech reporter for CMS-Connected, keeping up-to-date on what's happening in and around the Content Management industry.

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