Deployment Tool Vendors

There are many deployment tools used by Adobe Creative Suite customers. Many of these products work reasonably well provided that they use the Adobe installer. To aid in push installs, CS3 and CS4 Products and Suites use executable modifiers to run in a silent workflow. This is described in detail in the following enterprise documentation: For CS4 please read Adobe® Creative Suite® 4 Enterprise Manual Deployment Guide and for CS3 please read Enterprise Deployment Options for Adobe® Creative Suite® 3 Editions and Components
Installation problems occur when deployment tools are used to alter or repackage the executable behavior. One example of this is installation via an application snapshot (a.k.a. – application cloning). Application snapshot refers to taking a before and after picture of a hard drive during the installation of a product. The resulting files will give you a list of everything that was placed onto the drive during installation. This does not work well because these systems copy the licensing database files that are specific to a given application. Specifically, this is an issue when you are creating snap shots of several different suite applications and install them on the same computer. Each time you place a snapshot down on a client, the same licensing files keep getting overwritten.
Some customers have been able to work around this issue on the Mac by creating a common set of shared files that make up all the applications they intend to install. This way these customers install the necessary licensing files once and then have the ability to independently install each application without overwriting any information.
Adobe does conduct basic testing with push workflows on Windows System Center Configuration Manager and Apple Remote Desktop tools. Other vendors provide deployment details specific to Adobe products on their websites. I have highlighted several vendors below that are frequently referenced by our customers along with links to relevant documentation. There are many more not referenced here. If you have a deployment tool that your organization used to successfully deploy CS3 or CS4 that is not listed here, please feel free to comment on it or email me directly at chohman@adobe.com with your thoughts on the tool.
Thanks,
Chris Hohman
Creative Suite Product Manager

Deployment tool vendors listed in alphabetical order:

Apple Remote Desktop
Filewave
Deploying Updates to CS3 using Filewave
Deploying CS3 for the first time using Filewave
JAMF Software
Deploying CS3 with Casper Suite movie
LANDesk
LANrev
CS Deployment Options using LANrev
Microsoft Systems Center Configuration Manager
Radmind

31 Responses to Deployment Tool Vendors

  1. Karl Kuehn says:

    I am one of those Mac admins who has figured out how to deploy the Creative Suite in parts. And my comment is that the registration database is a silly idea. A folder full of individual files (one per application) would work just as well, and would be more deployable. Stuffing everything into a database does not bring any adavantages that I can see, and brings this huge complication.
    Please make my job (and probably yours) easier for the next version and seperate this data into individual files. In fact I would really like to see a push to get all of the dependancies cleared out of the installers. Take care of loading dependancies at run-time, not install time. And I am NOT talking about self-heal… that whole idea was an abomination from the start.

  2. Whenever I try to install with the AdobeUberInstaller (created from the CS4 deployment toolkit), I get the message:
    “This application requires a version of Adobe Air which is no longer supported. Please contact the application author for an updated version.”

  3. Jeff Vandehey says:

    I wish that Remote Desktop was a more eloquent solution for these Adobe deploys than it is. It’s a bummer that the package can’t live on NFS when pushed out via ARD. That is a bit disappointing, and made using ARD much more difficult for me.

  4. Nicholas Woolridge says:

    We use Composer, after trying and failing to get Adobe’s network deployment tools to work.
    Your post highlights the main problem with such tools: the probability that a subsequent install will overwrite the licensing database. We just have to observe a strict sequence in remote deploys to overcome this. And, as the previous poster notes, this could really be considered a design flaw in your licensing scheme.
    The benefits of the third-party route are significant: much faster installs (an order of magnitude faster) using standard tools; perfect reliability in our experience and no need to trouble-shoot the install process.

  5. Kai Howells says:

    I’m a bit late coming to this party, however one tool/workflow that would be good to link to above is the InstaDMG and InstaUp2Date workflow scripts, developed by the guys at AFP548.

  6. Edrazeba says:

    If anyone can find any way whatsoever to get any deployment tool to deploy Adobe Acrobat Pro for Mac, in a manner where the user doesn’t have to:
    a) have admin access
    b) know the serial number
    since that *is* the point of a deployment tool, then I will hand you my first born child and a large wad of cash. It is my understanding that it is impossible, since there is no “installer” per se, and it always comes back to needing either a) or b) or both.
    That is not good enough.
    These deployment tools are all excellent products, however they are hamstrung by the poor installer tech used by Adobe. Licensing failures, region (en_US vs en_GB), error code 7, workflow errors… I have a situation where After Effects always comes up with a licensing failure on its first launch, then works correctly from the second launch onwards. That’s really poor.
    Seriously guys, what do you people do in Adobe to deploy Adobe products? Do you eat your own dog food? Go ask your IT guys what they think.

  7. Eric Wilde says:

    Acrobat family installers are done in a separate team here; but, I’ll forward your comments and queries to them.
    I also don’t think its possible to deploy without admin access. That’s certainly true for the Adobe Creative Suite 4. It is possible to generally deploy the Adobe Creative Suite in trial mode by not supplying a serial number; but, Adobe Acrobat Pro 9 for Mac does not support a trial mode and so a serial number is required.

  8. Pierre-Alain Reveillon says:

    The problem with acrobat pro is not related to the installation process (which can be done easily as an admin using ARD…). The problem with Acrobat occurs at first launch after the install, when it’s time for the user to work with it !! Acrobat Pro (And distiller) both asks :
    1 : that another CS app must have been launched before using acrobat ?!?
    2 : to install new pieces of software (this damned internet plugin that tries to resinstall itself every time, but it’s another issue) and the PDF printer driver.
    3 : At this time Acrobat asks for an admin password (even if the user is the admin. And that’s the real problem !!
    So here are some solutions I’ve tried :
    * making a “monkey process” using Applescript but the password dialog does not accept that (for obvious security reasons).
    * tried to launch the app as an admin: no way as it still asks for the password.
    * tried to create an “snapshot” package, but it seems the licensing stuffs are time or machine related.
    * tried to launch the perl files in the selfHealing subfolder. I havent succeed as it seems acrobat needs other licensing stuffs at first launch.
    If you have another solution, please tell us !
    Also, these licensing stuffs are really a mess. It only prevent good, honest user from working fast, it spends a lot of our time getting around the mess that that protection gives us and never prevents pirates from stealing your software anyway !! So by trying to protect you, you are spending time in protection (I’d prefer that you correct your bugs instead), your going to loose honest customers and urge them to use cracked versions available around the web!!
    There is also a dramatic lack of support for us IT guys. This tends to fed us up : A new release every year(which we have to pay every time) instead of giving correct patches. No support for IT. Though the new deployment tools are there, these are neither standard, nor easy to use, nor working as wanted! All we want is to install the files by a simple copy from a server.

  9. sneha jha says:

    I cannot install this player..I get the following error message..”Installer integrity check has failed,common causes include incomplete download and damaged media,contact the installer”s author to obtain a new copy.”Please help me out.

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  13. Thanks very much for sharing this interesting post. I am just starting up my own blog and this has given me inspiration to what I can achieve.

  14. It’s great to see people freely expressing their opinion.Thanks for your insights.

  15. Very interesting read. Thanks.

  16. I’ve been having with CS4 Enterprise edition for a while… thanks for helping clear this up.

  17. Thomas Glen says:

    I have to agree with Edrazeba and Pierre-Alain Reveillon – the CS4 Deployment Kit is not a suitable solution for an administrator like myself who has to image/deploy to large groups of macs. The entire point of software distribution tools (we use Casper) is to speed up the process and automate choices. The Adobe CS4 Deployment Kit takes an installer, allows the administrator to provide some configuration info, and generates ANOTHER installer. To be fair, kudos for saving us from having to do these steps over and over:
    1. Serialize
    2. Select components (Casper doesn’t do a good job with this yet, but that’s JAMF’s fault)
    3. Disable Automatic Updates
    4. Supress EULA
    5. Supress (most) Registration
    Yet there is more work needed. Acrobat in particular poses several issues post-install:
    1. It requires an admin password on first launch
    2. You can’t make PDF printer and Safari PDF plugin exclusion decisions ahead of time
    3. It requires its own EULA agreement
    4. You can’t make default PDF application choices ahead of time.
    Most of that can be countered with shell scripts or terminal commands which can be included in the build process (which is still a real pain), but the one thing we CAN’T script around is that the deployment kit produces an INSTALLER, not a package. It has to be run as if a human were at the keyboard. Casper tries to get around this (presumably after a long frustrating battle with trying the package route, like many of us) by scripting the launch and running of the installer, but it does so by waiting for -everything else- to be laid down the normal package way, then booting up the newly imaged machine, creating a user account called “Adobe temporary install”, logging into it, blanking the screen, and running the Deployment Kit installer, then deleting the account and rebooting. THIS TAKES A LONG TIME. And guess what, it doesn’t work properly at the moment, because of the most recent update to ARD, which they really can’t be blamed for since Adobe has forced them into such a corner to get the job done via scotch tape and superglue.
    A lot of good work went into the Deployment Kit – it’s a great tool for having to do manual installs on one, three, or even forty computers at once, but there are many of us who have to deploy it to HUNDREDS of computers at once, and you just can’t do that with ARD.
    One final note – for the love of Cthulu – pare down the documentation! Here’s what I had to wade through to figure out the Deployment Kit can’t do what I need it to:
    Creative Suite Deployment Toolkit Readme- 3 pages
    Creative Suite 4 Deployment Toolkit—— 20 pages
    Deployment and Provisioning Concepts—– 16 pages (and OH SO RIVETING)
    Enterprise Deployment Reference———- 15 pages
    Enterprise Deployment Guide————– 57 pages! (That diagram on page 5 is completely useless.)
    Thanks for listening!

  18. Eric Wilde says:

    Thomas,
    Thank you for the valuable input. Some of these items are slated for improvement in the immediate future.
    I particularly value your comments on the documentation since we’re now starting documentation on upcoming versions of products.

  19. I really think that this blog can help people. Well done :)

  20. Hi there.
    Great installation help…thanks, fixed my problem.
    Anyone reading this guys stuff should bookmark it.

  21. Nurlan Ospan says:

    Great article,very useful.

  22. Phil says:

    Having just spent the day wading through the Adobe ‘recommended’ documents and attempting to use the CS4 Deployment Toolkit to create a usable package to roll out to our users using Casper.
    I have only one question, why can’t Adobe create standard Windows and Mac installers? The technology is there and it works, why does Adobe have to come up with its own ham fisted deployment tools? OK so that’s two questions.
    A standard Windows installer and Mac pkg would or rather should be all that is necessary.
    It can’t be for copy protection, why? Because it is easier to find and install a ‘cracked’ version of any Adobe product, than it is to install a legitimate copy using the Adobe Deployment Toolkit.

  23. Eric Wilde says:

    Phil,
    There are some good reasons and some not so good reasons. For a full rundown see:
    http://blogs.adobe.com/OOBE/2009/02/msi_pkgs_and_adobe_installer_n.html

  24. Phil says:

    Eric,
    I followed your link and was about to reply. Then read the comments from Ian Curtinsmith, who has saved me some time and answered all your comments regarding use of industry standard installers for both Mac and Windows.
    If your own development team cannot find examples of standard installers on both platforms, which establish the installed OS or span ‘multiple disks, user input and options, then I suggest they are not doing their job. Try Google it’ll bring up any number of them.
    As ever, with Adobe installers I have wasted hrs and once again this time with CS4, I discover that the entire suite installs but Acrobat Pro demands an Admin login every time it is launched by a user.
    As said I can download a ‘cracked’ version of the suite that installs correctly and all apps function without error. Again, try Google you’ll find them in minutes. I have downloaded them, to see how they have got your product to work every time with out error!

  25. Phil says:

    I found the answers to problems with the CS4 ‘Deployment Toolkit’ etc, on a hack site. Comes to something when a legitimate licensed user, managing a large number of users. Finds more useful insights into a product, from hackers and crackers than can be gained from the developers themselves.
    As for my CS3 users, I followed up the comment below, and found the version they mention, they are right it installs easily and runs faster, though I wouldn’t say ‘FIVE TIMES FASTER’ it is noticeably faster.
    I may create a modified version of our install, based on their cracked version, perhaps Adobe could take a look at their installer, it works.
    Cheers
    ”CS3 *without* licensing crap in installer
    Submitted by I call BS (not verified) on Sat, 04/17/2010 – 17:12.
    I prefer the crack group that released a modified installer WITHOUT licensing crap.
    CS3 loads FIVE TIMES FASTER without all the licensing garbage
    reply”

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