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Deployment options

You can deploy Alfresco Community Edition in many different forms and topologies. Because its infrastructure foundation protects Alfresco Community Edition from the environment within which it executes, you can choose components such as operating system, database, application server, web browser, and authentication system. It's designed to scale down as well as up.

Embedded Alfresco Community Edition

An embedded Alfresco Community Edition is contained directly within a host where the host communicates with Alfresco Community Edition through its embedded API, meaning the host and Alfresco Community Edition reside in the same process. Typical hosts include content-rich client applications that require content-oriented storage, retrieval, and services, but can also include hosts such as test harnesses and samples. A client can choose to embed the web application framework or content application server, or both, treating Alfresco Community Edition as a third-party library. In any case, the client can pick and mix the services to embed, allowing very small-footprint versions. The host is responsible for the start up and shutdown of Alfresco Community Edition.

Content application server

An content application server is a stand-alone server capable of servicing requests over remote protocols. A single server can support any number of different applications and clients where new applications can be arbitrarily added. Clients communicate through its Remote API and protocol bindings, although you can configure a server to omit or prohibit specific access points. This type of deployment takes advantage of an application server where Alfresco Community Edition is bundled as a web application. Application server features, such as transaction management and resource pooling, are injected into the infrastructure foundation, allowing Alfresco Community Edition to take advantage of them.

For example, you can embed the content application server inside Apache Tomcat for the lightest-weight deployment, as well as inside Java Enterprise Edition compliant application servers from JBoss, Oracle, or IBM to take advantage of advanced capabilities such as distributed transactions.


Multi-tenancy allows a single content application server (clustered or not) to support multiple tenants, where a tenant such as a customer, company, or organization believes they are the only user of the server as they connect to a logical partition. Physically, all tenants share the same infrastructure, such as deployed nodes in a cluster and content, repository storage. However, data maintained by one tenant cannot be read or manipulated by another tenant. A deployment of this type eases administration and reduces the cost associated with maintaining many different applications and user bases, in particular when upgrading core services or performing backups, as this only needs to be done once for all tenants.

Alfresco Community Edition provides administration tools for managing tenants, including the creation of tenants at runtime. In conjunction with clustering, multi-tenancy provides an ideal deployment option for the Cloud.

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