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5/16/2014
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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."

NIST's cyber security framework gives critical-infrastructure operators a new tool to assess readiness. But will operators put this voluntary framework to work? Read the Protecting Critical Infrastructure issue of InformationWeek Government today.

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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melakfilms2011
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melakfilms2011,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/2/2014 | 3:16:23 AM
Re: Hogwash
Adobe's Cloud issues move focus away from the acutal reason many long-time Adobe product users are upset. The trivialities regarding login failure and the fact most could still work has never been the issue. The issue is that we don't want to pay a monthly fee for eternity for products we could once own and use whether enjoying economic growth in our lives or trying to stretch every nickel during the harsh. Software is a tool. It is not cable TV, nor is it a gardener or a newspaper subscription. Those things offer consistant service to their customers. The gardender turns up once a week to mow the law, trim the hedges. There's a completely different newspaper with all-new news upon each page on your doorstep every day of the week. They are services. Software is, for the most part, static. Aside from periodic updates to fix issues or add drivers, software versions rarely add on an amazing change until a new release comes out. I look at my Adobe products as tools through which I make money. They rarely change in some massive way. They are there when I require them whether I'm working or trying to create something that might garner me work. Software, whether Office or Adobe Creative Suite, are toolboxes we open up when we need a hammer. Oh my God, I just realized - Home Depot will soon start charging us monthly under their new "Tools As Service" plan. I can't wait.
D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
5/19/2014 | 4:57:00 PM
Re: Hogwash -- and when a cloud isn't really a cloud
As I acknowleded in an author's note and several comments below the article, it's clear that Adobe's Creative cloud isn't as cloudy as billed. It's really just a collection of desktop apps with a thin layer of cloud connection for license verification and updates. It's not quite clear what aspect of this cloud is mission critical, but it's obvious -- as acknowleged -- that the vast majority of these creative types could continue working locally even if they couldn't sign in to the "Creative Cloud."

 
anon9267987092
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anon9267987092,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/18/2014 | 8:36:47 PM
Re: Lawsuit! -- nonsense
You write nonsense.  Read the news report again, while paying attention.  Only users needing to log in to PCC may've experienced a problem, meaning a small fraction of the total, not all users.
anon9267987092
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anon9267987092,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/18/2014 | 8:32:51 PM
Hogwash
JOURNALISTIC HOGWASH:  "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."  

Even as the news media worker writes, only a fraction of the PCC users would experience the outage:

"The failure happened during database maintenance activity and affected services that require users to log in with an Adobe ID."  Some small fraction of ttal users may've had to log in.

Weasling with the qualifier word "potentially" allowed the news media worker to pen his overstatement.  Shame on his butt.
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
5/16/2014 | 7:13:14 PM
Caught in the act of cloud washing
Use of the term cloud, as in Adobe Creative Cloud, is like calling Microsoft Windows updates a hybrid cloud operation. It's not. Adobe users experienced login failure as a result of "database maintenance activity," an explanation that leaves out more than it explains. Adobe must have somehow corrupted data in its production identity management system to suspend so much log-in activity for so long. Then it took a long time to restore it. If that maintenance activity had been occurring in a true cloud fashion, there would have been an uncorrupted copy of the data readily available. It's a cloud, in Adobe parlance, until it fails. Then it is clearly not a cloud.

 
D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
5/16/2014 | 3:14:03 PM
Re: Lawsuit!
Hold your horses there, bub. Turns out the log-on snafu didn't necessarily prevent users from using their tools locally. Just how many were impacted is unclear, as monthly subscribers can continue to use apps for 30 days and annual members up to 99 days without having to log into the cloud to reverify the status of their subscriptions. For enterprises and SMEs, the cloud introduces centralized app-management and cross-tool workflows that may have seen more of an impact by this login problem.

If the impact was minimal, it's pretty clear the Creative "Cloud" is a bit of a cloud wash. If the impact was more severe -- I haven't seen or been able to score any interivews with Creative Cloud customers -- it's another example of beyond-customer-control cloud vulnerability. In my book, enterprise data centers are more likely to go down than cloud data centers. On the other hand, desktop apps are as reliable as the PCs they're installed on.
JanetA472
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JanetA472,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/16/2014 | 1:36:15 PM
Lawsuit!
Not a fan of the "Cloud". Maybe Adobe needs to be zapped with a nice little class action lawsuit. A million creative people lose work for a day, times an average of $100 per day income, comes out to somewhere around $100,000,000. Hmmm.
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
5/16/2014 | 1:24:27 PM
Re: Slooooow
That makes much more sense, Doug. Quark has long done the same sort of verification. As long as the licensing "fails open" if cloud system is down, fine. If people can't work, well ...

And yes, it smells like "cloudwashing" for sure.
D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
5/16/2014 | 1:08:33 PM
Re: Slooooow
It's a hybrid cloud approach with software deployed on the desktop but software updates, asset uploads and login handled centrally in the cloud.

FAQ: "Do I always need an internet connection?"

Adobe Answer: No. Your Creative Cloud desktop applications (such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator) are installed directly on your computer, so you won't need an ongoing Internet connection to use them on a daily basis. An Internet connection is required the first time you install and license your desktop apps, but you can use the apps in offline mode with a valid software license. The desktop apps will attempt to validate your software licenses every 30 days. For annual members, you can use the apps for up to 99 days in offline mode. Month-to-month members can use the software for up to 30 days in offline mode.

So it's pretty clear the outage wasn't as dire for many as advertized. But it also makes the "cloud" billing sound like marketecture. No wonder the already have 1.84 million "subscribers" after just two years or so on this push. Sounds like it's mainly a conversion to subscription licensing.
GaryB230
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GaryB230,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/16/2014 | 1:02:35 PM
Re: Not Great
It's not a hosted application it's local.  Lightroom and Photoshop run on your box but you need to occasionaly log into adobe to confirm you are paid up. 
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