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Benefits and Challenges of a Cloud Digital Asset Management Infrastructure


The types of media stored in DAM systems have evolved over time. Digital assets are no longer static, they are constantly evolving, customized for every campaign and touchpoint. In order to deliver the high-quality service the market requires, DAM companies must make the important decision of what type of infrastructure will best suit the needs of their solutions. The specifics of the DAM industry require a high-performing, scalable and flexible infrastructure.

What Is a Cloud DAM System?

Cloud digital asset management (DAM) is a solution that allows companies to store, organize, and manage their digital assets in a cloud-based environment. In cloud DAM systems, assets are typically hosted on virtual servers in a secure cloud infrastructure and delivered in the form of software-as-a-service (SaaS).

Because it is hosted, it is becoming an increasingly popular form of DAM for brands as they grow and need a scalable assets system. While the DAM deployment methods are different for each enterprise and their needs, there are many benefits of a cloud DAM.

Key DAM Cloud Infrastructure Features

  • Many DAM SaaS providers leverage an IaaS provider behind the scenes.
  • Direct network connections between data centers and the SaaS provider are not typically available.
  • The SaaS provider is responsible for managing the overall service to the customer.
  • DAM vendors leverage third-party services to provide and manage their product..
  • There is no third-party services in a SaaS model.

Benefits of DAM Cloud Infrastructure

Cloud DAM systems offer multiple advantages related to flexible infrastructure, cost, speed, scalability and accessibility.

Minimal IT administrative cost-the SaaS model entails by far the lowest administrative costs of all the DAM deployment models. The only responsibilities of the customer's IT organization are usually light administration and configuration of the DAM application such as creating users, granting access, managing workflows and other lightweight administration tasks.

Time-to-market deployment-the time it takes to implement a SaaS solution is faster than any other deployment model. The time it takes to onboard a new customer will change from vendor to vendor, and will depend on complexity and feature set of the product. Typically, a SaaS model is the fastest way to get a DAM service up and running.

Software upgrades and maintenance-SaaS vendors handle all the maintenance of a cloud DAM system. Organizations get the latest product updates available without having to go through an upgrade process themselves. This process is also transparent to your users.

DAM Cloud Infrastructure Challenges and Requirements

Taking into consideration the competitive nature of the DAM industry and the specifics of its IT infrastructure, DAM providers are facing several challenges when host their services in the cloud.

Limited customization-it is easier for the SaaS provider to limit customization of a DAM system. This can be a significant challenge for enterprise customers that usually require a significant degree of customization.

Vendor lock-in-when migrating a DAM system to another SaaS provider, you should export the customer repository, database configurations and related data. Typically this option is not available in most SaaS providers. It's important to understand and clarify all migration options with the SaaS provider in case of need.

Infrastructure management-the primary concern of a DAM vendor is to develop and sell its products and services. Management of servers, storage, networking, data backups and security is not a core competency. DAM SaaS vendors are unable to provide the same level of infrastructure capabilities and support that an IaaS vendor or dedicated IT infrastructure staff typically can. The best-case scenario would be a SaaS provider that leverages IaaS infrastructure. This combination will give the best of both worlds.

Limited network performance-typically in a DAM SaaS model, all means of communication is across the public Internet. Direct or private WAN connections between a customer site and the SaaS cloud provider are usually not supported. This puts limitations on the quality and availability of bandwidth to transfer content. This can be a problem when managing rich media files such as video or 3D and 360⁰ images.

Limited backup and disaster recovery-SaaS vendors provide limited archiving, backup or disaster recovery services for individual customers. Shared tenancy of the back-up data stored within their systems, makes it a difficult service to provide for many SaaS vendors. When evaluating a SaaS vendor, clarify what archive and backup services it can provide and request specific details about how and when it will recover your organization's data and restore the DAM service in case of failure.

Limited SLAs-service level agreements (SLAs) of SaaS providers will focus more on application support rather than the underlying infrastructure services provided by traditional data center hosting providers. When choosing a DAM service, review what SLAs they offer, especially around support, maintenance, response time and mean time to repair.

Third-party service integration-DAM SaaS products may have limited third-party integration capabilities. This limitation forces DAM providers to communicate with third-party services via the public Internet. This type of communication is exposed to security attacks and poor performance. Additionally, customers with legacy third-party systems that do not support Web services will not be able to easily integrate with a SaaS DAM without having to rewrite their legacy applications.


There is no doubt that cloud computing provides great benefits to DAM systems. Overall, it ensures that DAM providers can dedicate enough time and resources to concentrate on delivering a competitive, high-quality service. Giving them a chance scale and innovate in the field.


About the Author

Gilad Maayan 

Gilad David Maayan is a technology writer who has worked with over 150 technology companies including SAP, Imperva, Samsung NEXT, NetApp and Ixia, producing technical and thought leadership content that elucidates technical solutions for developers and IT leadership. Today he heads Agile SEO, the leading marketing agency in the technology industry. 

Published Wednesday, September 11, 2019 7:37 AM by David Marshall
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