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In some Components I have lots of large images and PDF documents. During publish time, these pages take much longer to publish than other less content-heavy pages. I use Tridion 2013 and it is an upgrade from Tridion 2009.

I would like to research using an ECL to connect a Digital Asset Management system (DAM) to Tridion. I understand the idea is that I move my images, PDFs, and videos to the DAM system (out of Tridion) and then use an ECL provider to connect to the DAM. During publish time the images are not transported to the Content Delivery server, but instead stay on the DAM system.

Are there any open-source or low-cost DAM solutions I could use to experiment with?

Media Manager, Adobe, ADAM, a free DAM?

And, to confirm, would that make it much much faster?

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3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

It should be possible to make it faster, but it all depends on implementation.

Notice ECL supports two ways of publishing. One is as you mention here - the image stays in the DAM, or is published by the DAM. But it does also support publishing the images through Tridion - and this would most likely be considerable slower than what you have now.

When you want the DAM to handle publishing, there are a few things you need to consider.

Obviously you need a reasonable fast connection - while the full image is not transferred as part of the publishing operation there are still read operations going to the DAM. If you have high latency it will be slow.

You need to deal with images being removed from the DAM (or prevent it form happening). ECL does not have a full solution built in to handle this but it does notify the provider when stubs are created/deleted - and which TCM URI is used. In some DAM systems it would be possible to call the Tridion core service to check if the item is in use before allowing removal.

If the DAM - like Tridion - has a publishing step where the image is made available (typically on a CDN) you need to design a way to handle publishing. One way would be to only display published images in Tridion. Another - more complicated - approach would be to perform the publishing on demand from Tridion. Again this is not something ECL supports straight out of the box, but it can be done either by using the Invoke method on the ECL item or passing information though the attributes available when getting the published link to the ECL item (both would be done from the Tridion templating code). But I suspect this approach would result in even longer publishing times as you now have to wait for the DAM.

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Thanks for outlining the steps and challenges to solve. My goal would be to fairly painlessly modify a sample ECL and then point it to a DAM. Feels like there's a lot of options for the task of 'store images in a DAM and serve to visitors'. I accept the CDN solution would be more challenging - but I would hope the Tridion ECL comes with 'batteries installed'... –  robrtc Feb 18 at 18:05
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Definitely the publishing of the pages will be much faster, as you are not publishing the binaries with the page.

As introducing a DAM is a change in the architecture, one thing you could evaluate is publish the binaries separately and do not force the republishing of binaries when publish the page. You can still ensure the binaries are updated in the delivery by republishing each one when the binary changes. This could be a reasonable solution without adding impact in the existing architecture. If you follow this approach, I recommend to resolve the binary paths in the content delivery using dynamic linking instead resolving those during publishing time. This will avoid broken references and ensure that references will be correct for multiple pages pointing to same binary without having to republish all pages in case the binaries are moved/relocated/deleted.

Also, keep in mind that if the binaries are in a DAM, those won't be managed in the CMS, just will be referenced from the CMS, which strongly impacts the Editorial process also

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And, to confirm, would that make it much much faster?

Definitely Yes.

For various DAM system available in the market, you can refer this link and choose something that matches your requirement:

http://digitalassetmanagementnews.org/dam-vendors/

I had experience with Oyaala and Brightcove, they does improve performance a lot though both of them are premium and expensive.

To play around, you can use Alfresco (Which is not a DAM but a Document Management System and can be used to manage images) - Would not be a good idea for millions of images, but just suggesting to get a feel.

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