The main advantage of Pega PDC is that it is hosted by Pega on the Pega Cloud. This means that you do not have to provision and maintain the application itself. Pega handles installation and upgrades, as well as fixing any bugs and maintaining the environment. This can lead to significant cost savings for customers. Pega PDC also gets frequent updates, whereas AES is only released once a year.
PDC application upgrades are part of the PDC service. There is no charge.
PDC is a SAAS product. There is no way to "opt out" of an upgrade or enhancement. Pega will regularly upgrade the PDC service to improve value, quality and performance. The PDC dashboard page includes upgrade notification when appropriate and link to release notes.
AES and PDC share common roots - and most rules. AES is an Pega application that is to be installed on a customer cloud or premise system and operated by the customer.
AES is customer-customizable - it includes an OOTB developer role with designer studio access and an open ruleset. PDC runs under a cloud security model - monitored systems send data to PDC but PDC never sends inquiries or commands to monitored systems. AES is designed to be deployed in same network as monitored systems - it uses an intranet security model and includes optional features based on AES-initiated communication.