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Adobe Creative Cloud failure impacts millions of designers

  • Published on May 19, 2014
Adobe Creative Cloud failure impacts millions of designers

Adobe Creative Cloud was blown off course last week, as millions of users couldn’t use their copies of popular tools such as Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. This impacted our Adobe training courses last week, as the company indicated “Adobe login is currently offline, impacting access to Adobe services. We apologize for the disruption.” The problems with Adobe servers lasted more than 24 hours, which means that many designers couldn’t work on their Adobe applications at all during this time.

This was a significant service failure, as the latest update to Adobe’s creative tools requires you to log-in and connect to Adobe’s servers. Adobe Creative Cloud versions of their software including Photoshop and InDesign have added a requirement that your computer check-in to make certain you are not using a pirated copy of the software.  

Additionally, users of Adobe Creative Cloud services, such as Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, were complete disrupted. Digital Publishing Suite, or DPS, enables publications to transition content from print designs to tablet, such as the iPad, using Adobe InDesign. Because much of the work occurs in Adobe’s cloud, the inability to log-in stopped designers from being able to use the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite.

Adobe provides a reason to not upgrade to Creative Cloud

Although it is named Creative Cloud, or Adobe CC, you still install the software applications on your computer, as occurred with earlier versions of the Adobe Creative Suite. The difference lies in the Adobe CC applications insistence on each user logging-in to confirm the applications are registered and legitimate. Last week’s failure showed the problems with this process, as legitimate users were unable to perform even the most basic tasks if they were logged-out of the Creative Cloud at the time the Adobe servers failed.

Adobe Creative Suite users decision to not upgrade is validated

Many designers who are work with Adobe Creative Suite 6 or Creative Suite 5 have been reluctant to upgrade due to both Adobe’s licensing model, in which you now pay Adobe annually for the applications rather than buying them indefinitely. A smaller portion of users have objected to Adobe’s move to the cloud, expressing concerns for data security. This widespread outage has affirmed both groups concerns, as the Creative Suite users own their applications perpetually, don’t pay regular fees to Adobe, and are not required to log-in at regular intervals. These Adobe Creative Suite users were not impacted the outage last week.

Adobe becoming more like Quark

Organizations that previously used many copies of QuarkXPress were accustomed to needing to run a special license server in their office to make certain that all versions of the software were not pirated. When Adobe launched their competing product, InDesign, they used Adobe’s lack of license verification as a selling point to large enterprises. Chief Information Officers liked the idea of not needing to worry about each individual license, and whether the license server might not be reachable. Adobe has come full circle, and is now using its own version of the Quark License Server with their requirement that every user be logged-in to the Adobe servers. Users have noticed these changes by Adobe, and have responded using social media to vocally criticize the software maker.

Unique Adobe Creative Cloud capabilities

When you can log-in, Adobe has added some capabilities that didn’t exist in the Creative Suite. For example, the Creative Cloud incorporates online backup and file sharing, which weren’t available as part of the Creative Suite. Yet unless you need these capabilities, it may be sensible to hold on to your current version of Adobe Creative Suite and allow Adobe more time to work out kinks in their Creative Cloud services.

About the author

Christopher Smith is president of American Graphics Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the publisher and editor of the Digital Classroom book series, which have sold more than one million copies. At American Graphics Institute, he provides strategic technology consulting to marketing professionals, publishers and to large technology companies including Google, Apple, Microsoft, and HP. An expert on web analytics and digital marketing, he delivers Google Analytics training along with workshops on digital marketing topics. He is also the author of more than 10 books on electronic publishing tools and technologies, including the Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies. Christopher did his undergraduate studies the at the University of Minnesota, and then worked for Quark, Inc. prior to joining American Graphics Institute where he has worked for 20 years.