AEM Forms as a Cloud Service architecture architecture

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Adobe Experience Manager Forms as a Cloud Service is a cloud-native solution for businesses to create, manage, publish, and update complex digital forms and communications while integrating submitted data with back-end processes, business rules, and saving data in an external data store. It extends Adobe Experience Manager as a Cloud Service. To learn more about scaling, deployment, environments and other infrastructure, see An Introduction to the Architecture of Adobe Experience Manager as a Cloud Service.

AEM Forms as a Cloud Service supports two major use cases: Digital Enrollment and Customer Communications. The following illustrations depict architecture for both the use cases.

Forms Digital Enrollment

Forms-Digital Enrolment

Forms Communications



Forms as a Cloud Service comprises multiple components:

CDN (Content Delivery Network)

Every AEM Forms as a Cloud Service program has access to built-in CDN service. It is included in the license of Forms as a Cloud Services.


An Author is an AEM Forms as a Cloud Service instance running in the standard Author run mode. It is intended for internal users, forms designers, and developers. An Author environment enables the following functionalities:

  • Authoring and managing forms.
  • Connecting to Automated forms conversion service to convert a PDF or XDP form to an adaptive form.
  • Creating and running Forms-centric workflows.
  • Managing adaptive forms assets.
  • Managing Communications assets.
  • Synchronous RESTful APIs (Real-time APIs) and Batch APIs to create, assemble, and deliver brand-oriented and personalized communications.
  • Synchronous APIs to combine, rearrange, and validate PDF documents.


A Publish instance is an AEM Forms as a Cloud Service running in the standard Publish run mode. Publish instances are intended for end users of form-based applications, for example, users accessing a public website and submitting forms. It enables the following functionalities:

  • Rendering and submitting forms for end users.
  • Transporting of raw-submitted form data for further processing and storage in the final system-of-record.
  • Connecting to Customer Managed Storage to store data.
  • Connecting with Adobe Sign to e-sign an adaptive form submission record.
  • Sync APIs to create, assemble, and deliver brand-oriented and personalized communications.
  • Sync APIs to combine, rearrange, and validate PDF documents.

Reverse Replication is not available on AEM as a Cloud Service to send content/data from the Publish Service to the Author Service. However, you can configure an Adaptive Forms running on Publish to submit data to a Workflow on an Author (Workflows can only be run on the Author). This is helpful in approval use-cases.


Dispatcher is Adobe Experience Manager’s caching and/or load-balancing tool that can be used with an enterprise-class web server.

Adobe Services

Automated Forms Conversion Service

Automated Forms Conversion service automatically converts your PDF and XFA forms to device-friendly, responsive, and HTML5-based adaptive forms.

Adobe Sign

Adobe Sign is a cloud-based e-signature service that allows the user to send, sign, track, and manage signature processes using a browser or mobile device. You can integrate Adobe Sign with an adaptive form to automate signing workflows, simplify single and multi-signature processes, and to electronically sign adaptive forms.

Customer Managed Storage

Forms as a Cloud Service provide options to store content in an external storage system such as Blob Store, Database, or a storage service. You can also store in-process Workflows data (AEM Workflow Variables data) that contains Sensitive Personal Data (SPD) elements in a customer-managed repository for secure processing. Adobe recommends storing sensitive data on customer managed storages only.

You can use the Unified Storage Connector to connect to Blob Storage and Form Data Model to connect to databases or backend services (RESTful, SOAP, Azure Blob Storage, and more).

Document Services

Document services constitute of the following:

  • Output Service (Communications - Document Generation APIs) helps create brand-approved, personalized, and standardized documents such as business correspondences, statements, claim processing letters, benefit notices, monthly bills, or welcome kits.

  • Assembler Service (Communications - Document Manipulation APIs) helps combine, rearrange, and validate PDF documents.

  • Document of Record (DoR) Service helps generate Document of Record (DoR). The service runs in its own pods separate form Author and Publish instances of Forms as a Cloud Service. It helps provide a better performance and scale the pods independently depending on the load.

Cloud Manager

Cloud Manager is an essential component to AEM as a Cloud Service. It is the single-entry point for the operations and developer persona of our customers. It is the place from where the AEM programs and environments can be managed. Cloud Manager has evolved as a self-service portal where the main components of the AEM as a Cloud Service can be created and configured:

  • Creating and managing programs
  • Creating and managing the AEM environments within the programs
  • Creating and managing the pipelines for deploying the customer code and configuration to a particular environment
  • Getting notified of important lifecycle events for these components (for example, product updates)
    For more information about Cloud Manager, see Understand Adobe Cloud Manager and Introduction to Cloud Manager.

Developer Console

A Developer Console provides various details of each running Forms as a Cloud service environment. These details are helpful in debugging the environment. For details, see Debugging AEM as a Cloud Service with the Developer Console.

Adaptive Form Authoring local-development

When you set up and configure an AEM Forms as a Cloud Service environment, you set up development, staging, and production environments. In addition, set up and configure a local development environment for rapid iterations and development. You can download and set up AEM SDK and AEM Forms add-on feature archive to set up a local Forms as a Cloud Service development environment. For detailed instructions, see Set up a local development environment.

Debugging debugging

AEM as a Cloud Service runs on self-service, scalable, cloud infrastructure. It requires AEM developers to understand and debug various facets of AEM as a Cloud Service, from build, and deploy to obtaining details of running AEM applications. For detailed information, see Debugging AEM as a Cloud Service.