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IMS Support for Adobe Experience Manager as a Cloud Service

Introduction

  • AEM as a Cloud Service includes Admin Console support for AEM instances and Adobe Identity Management System (IMS for short) based authentication.
  • The Admin Console allows administrators to centrally manage all Experience Cloud users.
  • Users and Groups can be assigned to product profiles associated with AEM as a Cloud Service instances, allowing them to log in to that instance.

Key Highlights

AEM as a Cloud Service offers IMS authentication support only for Author, Admin and Dev users. It does not offer support for external end users of customer sites like site visitors.
  • The Admin Console will represent customers as IMS Organizations, Author and Publish Instances in an environment as Product Context Instances. This will allow System and Product administrators to manage access to instances.
  • Product Profiles in the Admin Console will determine which Instances a user can access.
  • Customers will be able to use their own SAML 2 compliant Identity Providers (IDP for short) for Single Sign On.
  • Only Enterprise or Federated IDs for customer Single Sign On will be supported, no personal Adobe IDs.

Architecture

IMS Authentication works using OAuth protocol between AEM and the Adobe IMS endpoint. Once a user has been added to IMS and has an Adobe Identity, they can log in to AEM author service using IMS credentials.
The user login flow is shown below, the user will be redirected to IMS and optionally to the customer IDP for SSO and then redirected back to AEM.

How to Set Up

Onboarding Organizations to Adobe Admin Console

The customer onboarding to Adobe Admin Console is a prerequisite to using Adobe IMS for AEM authentication.
As the first step, customers need to have an Organization provisioned in Adobe IMS. Adobe Enterprise customers are represented as IMS Organizations in the Adobe Admin Console This is the portal used by Adobe customers to manage their product entitlements for their users and groups.
AEM customers should already have an Organization provisioned, and as part of the IMS provisioning, the customer instances will be made available in Admin Console for managing user entitlements and access.
Once a customer exists as an IMS Organization, they will have to configure their system as summarized below:
  1. The designated System Administrator receives an invite to log in to Cloud Manager. After logging into Cloud manager, the System Administrators can choose to provision AEM programs and environments or navigate to Admin Console for Administrative tasks.
  2. The System Administrator claims a domain to confirm the ownership of the respective domain (for example acme.com)
  3. The System Administrator sets up User Directories
  4. The System Administrator does IDP configuration in Admin Console in order to set up Single Sign On.
  5. The AEM Administrator manages the local groups and permissions and privileges as usual.
The Adobe Identity Management basics including IDP configuration are covered here .
Enterprise Administration and Admin Console usage is covered here .

Onboarding Users in Admin Console

There are three ways to onboard users depending on the size of the customer and their preference: manually create users in Admin Console, upload a .csv file or sync users from the customer's enterprise Active Directory.
Manual Addition through Admin Console UI
Users and Groups can be manually created in the Admin Console UI. This method can be used if you do not have a large number of users to manage. For example, less than 50 AEM users or if the you are already using this method for administering other Adobe products like Analytics, Target or Creative Cloud applications.
File Upload in Admin Console UI
For easy handling of user creation, a .csv file can be uploaded for adding users in bulk.
User Sync Tool
User Sync Tool (UST in short) enables our enterprise customers to create and manage Adobe users utilizing Active Directory. This also works for other tested OpenLDAP directory services. The target users are IT Identity Administrators (Enterprise Directory or System Admins) who will be able to install and configure the tool. The open source tool is customizable so that customers you modify it to suit your own particular requirements.
When User Sync runs, it fetches a list of users from the organization’s Active Directory and compares it with the list of users within the Admin Console. It then calls the Adobe User Management API so that the Admin Console is synchronized with the organization’s directory. The change flow is entirely one way. Any edits made in the Admin Console do not get pushed out to the directory.
The tool allows the system admin to map user groups in the customer’s directory with product configuration and user groups in the Admin Console.
To set up User Sync, the organization needs to create a set of credentials in the same way they would use the User Management API .
User Sync Tool is distributed through the Adobe Github repository at this location .
A prerelease version 2.4RC1 is available with dynamic group creation support and can be found here .
The major features for this release are the ability to dynamically map new LDAP groups for user membership in the Admin Console, as well as dynamic user group creation.
More information about the new group features can be found at this location .
User Sync Documentation
Refer to the UST documentation for more details.
The User Sync Tool needs to register as an Adobe I/O client UMAPI using the procedure here .
Adobe I/O Console Documentation can be found here .
The User Management API that is used by the User Sync Tool is covered here .

Adobe Experience as a Cloud Service Configuration

The AEM IMS configuration required will be automatically configured when the AEM environments and instances are provisioned. However, the administrator may modify it as per their requirements using the method described here .
The AEM IMS configuration required will be auto-configured when the AEM environments and instances are provisioned. Customer administrators may modify part of the configuration as per their requirements
The overall approach is to configure Adobe IMS as an OAuth provider. The Apache Jackrabbit Oak Default Sync Handler can be modified just like for LDAP synchronization.
Below are the key OSGI configurations that need to be modified in order to change properties like User Auto Membership or Groups Mappings.

How to Use

Managing Products and User Access in Admin Console

When the Product Administrator logs in to Admin Console, they will see multiple instances of the AEM Managed Services Product Context as shown below:
In this example, the org AEM-MS-Onboard has 32 instances spanning different topologies and environments like Stage or Prod.
Under each Product Context instance, there will be associated Product Profiles. These product profiles are used for assigning access to Users and Groups with the required privilege.
The Administrator_xxx profile will be used to grant Administrator privileges in the associated AEM instance while the User_xxx profile is used to add regular users.
Any users and groups added under this product profile will be able to login to that particular instance as shown in the example below:

Logging into Adobe Experience Manager as a Cloud Service

Local Administrator Login
AEM can continue to support local logins for Admin users. The login screen has an option to log in locally:
IMS Based Login
For other users, the IMS based login can be used once IMS is configured on the instance. The user will first click on the Sign in with Adobe button as shown below:
Any user created in IMS can be created using Adobe ID or Federated ID. If a user is setup using Adobe ID, they are authenticated using their Company's Identity Provider to login.
They will then be redirected to the IMS login screen and will need to enter their credentials:
If a federated IDP is configured during initial Admin Console setup, then the user will be redirected to the customer IDP for SSO:
After authentication is complete, the user will be redirected back to AEM and logged in:

Managing Permissions and ACLs in Adobe Experience Manager as a Cloud Service

The ACLs and permissions will continue to be managed in AEM. The User Groups that are synced from IMS can be assigned to local groups where ACLs and privileges are defined.
In the example below, we are adding synced groups to the local Dam_Users group as an example.
The user is part of the following Groups in IMS:
When the user logs in, their Group Memberships are synced, as shown below:
In AEM, the User Groups synced from IMS can be added as members to existing local groups, like DAM Users .
As shown below, the group AEM-GRP_008 inherits the permissions and privileges of DAM Users , this is an effective way of managing Permissions for synced groups and is commonly used in the LDAP based Authentication method as well.

Accessing Cloud Manager

To be able to access Cloud Manager or to AEM as a Cloud Service environments, you must be assigned to Profiles of the Cloud Manager Product.
Refer to Role Definitions to learn more about roles for users which govern the availability of specific features in Cloud Manager.
Cloud Manager has pre-configured roles with appropriate permissions. To learn about each of the roles with specific permissions, pre-configured tasks, or permissions, associated with each role, refer to Role Based Permissions .
Steps for Adding a User
  1. Add a user to a particular profile either from an existing user's screen or from a new user screen.
  2. Alternatively, you can also add a user from the Overview screen, as shown in the figure below.
    You can assign more than one profile to a user as shown in the figure below.
  3. Once you have been added to the appropriate profile, you should be able to access the respective tenants in Cloud Manager via Adobe Experience Cloud using the top right corner from the user interface.

Accessing an Instance in AEM as a Cloud Service

The steps mentioned in the preceding section must have already been completed before you are granted access to an instance in AEM as a Cloud Service.
In order to have access to an AEM instance within the Admin Console , you should see the Cloud Manager Program and the environments within the program in the product list on the Admin Console .
For example, in the screenshot below, you will see two available environments namely dev author and a publish .
To get access to AEM instances the user will need to be added to a group of the appropriate Cloud Service Product.
Every author instance will have an AEM Administrators and AEM Users Profile and every publish instance will have an AEM Users Profile. You can add other profiles as needed.
To get admin level access to the AEM instance, add the user to the AEM Administrators Profile for that particular Product.