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XM Cloud FAQ

Learn more about XM Cloud and all of the features.


Provided for informational purposes only, this FAQ addresses common questions customers or partners may have regarding the roadmap vision for taking Sitecore to the next level of SaaS. The information provided herein is general in nature and not intended to provide an exhaustive explanation of Sitecore's development plans.

This FAQ may contain forward looking statements about products and services not yet released by Sitecore. Our product and service offerings, future updates, or other planned modifications are subject to ongoing evaluation by Sitecore and to change.

This information is provided without warranty of any kind, express or implied. Customers who purchase Sitecore offerings should make their purchase decision based upon features that are currently available.

What is XM Cloud?

Sitecore XM Cloud is a cloud-native, headless CMS, for developers and marketers to efficiently launch engaging omnichannel experiences. XM Cloud bundles:

  • The latest versions of Experience Manager
  • Pages content editor
  • Sitecore Experience Accelerator (SXA)
  • Headless Services
  • Sitecore Next.js SDK
  • Experience Edge, since XM Cloud is a SaaS solution

What’s the difference between SaaS and PaaS?

Platform-as-a-service (PaaS): Primarily useful for developers and programmers, PaaS allows the user to develop, run, and manage their own apps without having to build and maintain the infrastructure or platform usually associated with the process. In the all-in-one Sitecore Experience Platform we have Experience Platform (XP), Experience Manager (XM), and Managed Cloud.

Software-as-a-service (SaaS): Also known as cloud application services, delivers an entire application that is managed by a provider, via a web browser. Software updates, bug fixes, and general software maintenance are handled by the provider and the user connects to the app via a dashboard or API. There’s no installation of the software on individual machines and group access to the program is smoother and more reliable.

If XM Cloud is a headless CMS, what does that mean?

A headless CMS, also known as headless software or headless system, is any type of back-end content management system where the content repository, the “body,” is separated or decoupled from the presentation layer, the “head.” Headless CMS allows you to manage content in one place and still be able to deploy that content across any front end you choose. This is key to omnichannel strategies because it lets you integrate content into any system, software, or website just by calling the APIs the headless CMS exposes.

What problems does XM Cloud solve?

XM Cloud addresses the challenges faced by marketers and developers when using traditional monolithic CMS and modern headless CMS. The monolithic CMS provides convenience through tightly coupled content management and frontend presentation and delivery capabilities in a single application. However, this convenience comes at the cost of decreased developer agility.

With the modern headless CMS, the content management backend is decoupled from the frontend presentation and delivery capabilities. The decoupling enables developers to take advantage of popular frontend frameworks to rapidly build new digital experiences. While developers gain agility with this approach, it introduces friction for marketers who now need to rely upon developers for even the smallest of changes to the frontend experience. XM Cloud re-imagines the CMS and introduces a no-compromise approach that delivers developer agility through the best attributes of the headless CMS, while empowering marketers through a visual page composition experience. With XM Cloud, customers deliver to their markets:

  • Speed: Visitors are greeted with an experience that loads lightning-fast and engages instantly
  • Relevance: Customers are recognized and welcomed back to an experience that understands their needs.

While gaining for themselves:

  • Agility: Marketers can easily orchestrate the overall experience across digital campaigns
  • Flexibility: Developers can rapidly develop and launch new experience types with modern frontend frameworks

What’s the difference between Experience Manager, Experience Platform, and XM Cloud?

  • Sitecore Experience Manager (XM) is Sitecore’s CMS-only offering. It allows you to manage multiple websites, and multilingual content in the same CMS, as well as integrate with third-party applications, systems, and data. It also allows you to deliver content across multiple devices and channels. Sitecore XM also features Experience Editor and Horizon which allows content authors to edit pages, components, and items as they would appear on a page to a visitor. XM is part of Sitecore’s PaaS portfolio on Azure Managed Cloud. It can also be managed on-premises with a cloud provider or have a mixture of both fully managed and in the cloud.
  • Sitecore Experience Platform (XP) includes the CMS that you receive with Sitecore Experience Manager, as well as the exciting personalization and marketing automation features that marketers love. It allows marketers to deliver personalized content on any device or channel while giving them a 360-degree view of each customer’s journey. The marketing automation features remove the need for a separate marketing automation platform and allow marketers to nurture prospects using data from multiple sources and touchpoints.
  • Sitecore XM Cloud is a cloud-native SaaS. That means that XM Cloud is developed, designed, and deployed as a cloud-native app built with a composable architecture, centrally hosted, and licensed using a subscription model. XM Cloud is a fully headless Jamstack-ready CMS and introduces next-gen visual authoring through its Pages and Components tools. Pages includes embedded personalization and analytics.

What are the differences between cloud-native SaaS and cloud-hosted SaaS?

The differences in true modern SaaS offerings versus architectures masquerading as SaaS can be referred to as “cloud-native” vs. “cloud-hosted”. True, qualified cloud-native software vendors are able to leverage resource pooling, rapid elasticity, on-demand services, and many other tools to create the best product for the end customer. And the end customer benefits, too. Their concerns over managing complex software systems are eliminated and they can get back to devoting attention to their core business. Understanding the difference between cloud-native and cloud-hosted is important in determining if the technology has the scalability you need - and should expect! - to support your long-term growth.

What does Jamstack-ready mean?

Jamstack is a term that describes a modern web development architecture based on JavaScript, APIs, and Markup (JAM). Jamstack isn’t a specific technology or framework but a different architecture for building apps and websites. Instead of using a traditional CMS or site builder, a Jamstack site splits up the code (JavaScript), the site infrastructure (APIs), and the content (Markup). These will all be handled in a decoupled architecture and with a clear split between the server side and the client side. In fact, the main idea behind building Jamstack websites and applications is to push as much of the load as possible away from the server and onto the client. By doing so, it dramatically reduces the number of requests sent to a server and thus eliminates a lot of the waiting time that comes with a server handling a request and sending it back to the client. The name itself was originally coined by Mathias Biilmann, co-founder at Netlify, who wanted to make it easier to refer to this new way of doing web architecture.

How does XM Cloud fit with the other Sitecore products?

Sitecore XM Cloud helps solve the globally recognized problem of powering instantaneous, global digital experiences in the cloud without sacrificing the customer experience. This latest product release will provide brands with unrivaled speed to market in the implementation of customer experiences, simplifying design and deployment, and eliminating upgrades, which dramatically decreases the cost of ownership.

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