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Adobe Creative Cloud Crashes, Is Restored

Adobe says day-long log-in snafu blocked access to cloud-based home for Flash, Illustrator, Photoshop, and other creative tools.

If you can't log onto a cloud-based application, is it still really there?

That's the conundrum many of the 1.84 million paid Adobe Creative Cloud subscribers faced on Wednesday night into Thursday as they found they could not log into the cloud-based home for Flash, Illustrator, InDesign, Muse, Photoshop, and other Adobe creative tools.

[Author's note: Despite the "cloud" billing, it turns out many of these creative apps are installed on desktops but are periodically validated and updated online, so it is possible to use them without cloud connectivity; see comments below with log-on and license-verification details.]

Adobe reported via Twitter last night at around 6:00 p.m. Pacific time that access to its Creative Cloud, which was inaccessible for more than 24 hours, had been restored. In a blog posted Thursday night, Adobe's Customer Care Team described the cause of the log-in problem and apologized for the lapse in service.

[Want more on Adobe's other cloud? Read Adobe Marketing Cloud Gets Predictive, Real-Time.]

"The failure happened during database maintenance activity and affected services that require users to log in with an Adobe ID," stated the blog. "We want to apologize for this outage because we know how critical our services are to you and how disruptive it's been to those of you who felt the impact."

Adobe has been trying to shift customers from desktop-installed software to Creative Cloud services since 2012. Subscription prices vary from $30 to $75 per month, with discounts for a full-year commitment.

The Creative Cloud is one of two big cloud initiatives for the company, the other being the Adobe Marketing Cloud. This week the company highlighted the synergies between the two clouds as it announced Marketing Cloud upgrades at Adobe Summit EMEA 2014 in London.

Noting the "thousands if not millions" of creative marketing assets that enterprises deliver through marketing and advertising campaigns, not to mention websites, packaging, and more, Suresh Vittal, VP of marketing strategy for Adobe's Digital Marketing Business, told InformationWeek in a phone interview that ties between Adobe's Creative and Marketing clouds "ensure consistency in marketing and for the brand in general."

In contrast to the Creative Cloud, which is a collection of applications with desktop roots, the Digital Marketing Cloud has been built up over the last five years around Omniture, the web analytics business Adobe acquired for $1.8 billion in 2009.

Whether you call it a cloud outage or log-in issue, the bottom line of this week's incident is that more than 1 million illustrators, photographers, designers, developers, and other creative types were potentially unable to do their jobs.

"We know we let you down," Tweeted the customer care team. "We apologize and are working to ensure it doesn't happen again."

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Doug Henschen is Executive Editor of InformationWeek, where he covers the intersection of enterprise applications with information management, business intelligence, big data and analytics. He previously served as editor in chief of Intelligent Enterprise, editor in chief of ... View Full Bio

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D. Henschen
D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
5/16/2014 | 12:54:10 PM
Why do creative tools and marketing tools belong together?
I'm guessing a shared digital-asset-management system might be one key area where Adobe's Creative Cloud and its Marketing Cloud might meet, but I'm still struggling to understand why you would need much more than that and why you couldn't create those ties with any other marketing cloud? I'm sure the answer is that you don't really need much more than that and that customers are able to use Adobe's creative tools and even its Adobe Analytics (formerly Omniture) quite effectively with other marketing clouds, like, say, Oracle's or's.

Can anybody at Adobe or any customer explain why the Creative Clouds and Marketing Clouds are complementary? I'm afraid my coverage of this week's Marketing Cloud updates didn't get beyond the top level on this separate topic.

User Rank: Ninja
5/16/2014 | 12:51:18 PM
Not Great
I like the idea of Adobe Creative Cloud, the problem is that the company has to be able to consistently deliver. People are relying on these apps to do their jobs. While I am sure that Adobe is aware of that, this is a known problem with moving software to the cloud. 

Adobe's more reource-intensive software moving to the cloud signals that even the most proprietary software will soon be hosted. But this event is a sign that there are still risks to this type of stratgey. 
Lorna Garey
Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
5/16/2014 | 12:46:43 PM
I can't even imagine doing Photoshop work on the cloud over a public Internet connection. How can performance not be ridiculously bad?
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