May 29, 2013
Top 5 Myths of Creative Cloud ***IT Edition***
I’ve been retired from blogging for almost six months, which in Internet Years is like six millennia. This whole post should be simply a Vine clip, right? You probably missed my retirement party when I retired from blogging. The guys all chipped in on a gold-toned watch. The inscription on the back “Did you notice the green squiggly lines?” was particularly touching.
What could draw me out of retirement? The fame? The money? Well seeing how I saw neither of those while I was blogging I’d have to say no. It was actually a blog post that my esteemed and ridiculously talented co-worker Terry White wrote entitled “5 Myths About Adobe Creative Cloud” a couple of months ago.
It is a good post, and features a photo of Nessie, the famed cryptid from Scotland. Which instantly makes me think of the show “In Search Of” which I loved as I child and honestly, creeped me out as well. Myths about Bigfoot or UFOs are still cool in my book, but myths about products…not so much. I always considered myself more Mulder than Scully but here I am dispelling myths, shining my over-powered flashlight on the the dark shadows of misinformation and confusion that IT have about the Creative Cloud.
1) Creative Cloud is virtualized or streamed
Wait, isn’t that pretty much the same as Terry’s #1 myth “I don’t want to run my Applications in a web browser!”??? Yes, but mine is phrased slightly differently, which in the world of blogging is legit. Seriously though, this gets brought up continually and it is worth mentioning again that the Creative Cloud is a new method of distributing our creative desktop applications but they are still applications that are installed and run the old school way. They still take up GBs of your hard drive. Oh wait, I wasn’t supposed to highlight that fact. Shrug. But you get it. Our beefy products like Photoshop work best installed on systems with lots of RAM and a modern GPU. Now, it has to be stated that virtualization technology is rapidly evolving and advancements like virtualization of the GPU is just plain awesome. But, the Creative Cloud at present remains a way to download the software from the Cloud, not run the applications in a browser or thin client.
2) Creative Cloud can’t be deployed
What? After spending the last 3-4 years trying to do right by the IT community by making packaging tools like AAMEE, licensing tools like APTEE, and updating solutions like AUSST and RUM do you really think we’d roll out a major offering and forget about the IT deployment infrastructure your organization has invested in? Seriously?
Now let me explain, briefly, that we have three different types of the Creative Cloud and I believe some of the misconceptions about deployment have been rooted in the lack of clarity about the different types of the Creative Cloud. If you are an individual, a freelance designer or one-person video production shop, then you can buy the Creative Cloud for individuals. They are admins on their systems. They are their own IT, Procurement, Accounting, etc. No deployment needed, obviously.
Now the next offering is tailored for small businesses or small groups within a large organization, they might want to look at Creative Cloud for teams. An ideal number of folks would be like 5 to 30. Let’s say it is a small game developer that buys 25 seats of Creative Cloud for teams, and they have an IT guy who has setup a deployment solution to manage their Macs. The IT admin would log into the Creative Cloud for teams admin portal on the Creative Cloud website and they see an interface for inviting Team members via email. They’ll also see a Deployment section and they’ll be able to download the new Creative Cloud Packager 1.0. This new tool allows the IT admin to download the Creative Cloud desktop applications and their updates and package them. So unlike AAMEE, it doesn’t point to locally downloaded media like the ginormous Master Collection but rather the IT admin can cherry pick applications they want to download to package. See, better! I’d like to take credit for this but I am no longer over the IT tools, so hats off to Karl Gibson and the crew formally known as the “AAMEE crew!”
A 1.1 version of the Creative Cloud Packager is due shortly after the new set of Creative Cloud applications are released next month. The 1.1 version will work for both Creative Cloud for teams and for Creative Cloud for enterprise. The Creative Cloud for enterprise is the third type of the Creative Cloud and is meant for larger institutions who need higher levels of control.
3) Organizations can’t control the frequent updates
One of the coolest parts of the Creative Cloud is that we are no longer waiting for annual or 18 month cycles to get new functionality from the products. If the engineers have a cool new feature in Illustrator they release it to the Creative Cloud members as soon as it has gone through the regular QE process. That team doesn’t have to wait for a year to have it be a part of a new boxed copy of the Creative Suite or wait for a marketing event. Nope, bam! Into the hands of their users straight away. Sounds great for individuals or people in design studios with mohawks right? But what about my enterprise production environment? What about my strict policy of evaluating all updates before they are released? Nothing changes. The updates are available via the Creative Cloud Packager and can be packaged at the IT admin’s discretion. Same level of control.
4) Adobe IDs aren’t for us
The way the Creative Cloud for individuals and teams versions work is that the applications, services and storage use a licensing/authentication process that involves an Adobe ID. For Creative Cloud for teams we have an admin portal that allows the IT admin or production manager the ability to send out email invites and those users have to create Adobe IDs in order to sign into the Creative Cloud (i.e. the applications or at creative.adobe.com.) The end users who are using Creative Cloud for teams have to obviously be online to authenticate with their Adobe IDs. Now that is the Creative Cloud for teams which stated above is ideal for small organizations.
Frankly, this doesn’t scale for large organizations for hundreds or thousands of users. It doesn’t work for organizations like video production places with offline workstations. Larger organizations want to use their own identity systems (like Active Directory or LDAP) and do not want to use Adobe IDs to identify their organization’s users who have access to the Creative Cloud. Of course. This is why the Creative Cloud for enterprise offering has this in mind. Presently if you purchase Creative Cloud for enterprise then the IT admin has the same flexibly to package and deploy the creative desktop applications without use of Adobe IDs. What? Yep. How are the applications licensed? A contract-defined expiring serial number. A serial number? Boring, right? Old school. Status quo. Status Quo.
Now there are a lot of great aspects of the Creative Cloud that go beyond just the core applications. It is essential that we provide this functionality to our enterprise customers. We are working on the ability for your organization to control login into the Creative Cloud using your authentication infrastructure by using Single Sign-On authentication via SAML 2.0. This will allow for the use of the cloud functionality including storage and services. I’ll come back and do an entire blog that outlines our strategy around supporting SSO and will separately write an entry explaining all the advantages you and your users will have once they are signing into the Creative Cloud for enterprise. Some really cool stuff. Are we aware that not every enterprise customer is ready to support SSO or use a different authentication method? Yes. Will we support other methods of authentication down the road? Yes. But we are presently working on Single Sign-On authentication via SAML 2.0 as a foundation of our authentication strategy.
5) Cloud storage isn’t for us, so neither is Creative Cloud
I have saved one of the most contentious myths for the end. First, there are always concerns from IT about files stored in the cloud and rightfully so. The “Adobe Creative Cloud Security FAQ for IT” doc covers a good portion of questions you or your organization might have about our cloud storage aspect of the Creative Cloud.
And for every CIO, CTO, or IT admin who tells me they are shrinking their data center and using more cloud services there is always a set of IT folks who tell me the opposite: My user’s data will never be in the cloud. To that I say: okay. No fight here. Seriously. You can’t turn off the cloud storage component for the Creative Cloud for teams, but there are ways of course for IT to control traffic and block ports. These are documented in the “Adobe Creative Cloud Network Endpoints” and “Controlling Access to Adobe Creative Cloud Services” docs.
And restricting storage access is certainly an option for the Creative Cloud for enterprise. Presently there is no identity login component for the Creative Cloud for enterprise so hence no accessibility to the cloud storage. When your organization begins to have access to the Creative Cloud via SSO then the IT admin will have access to an admin panel which will include granular levels of control over who has access to what applications, services and storage. Want to turn off storage? Okay. Want to give more storage to the marketing group. Okay. High levels of control for IT, is at the heart of my personal vision of the Creative Cloud for enterprise.
We’ll be more than happy to squash some more myths and answer questions in the comments. Or we can discuss who would win in a fight between Chupacabra or Moth Man. Your call.
Jody Rodgers | Sr. Product Manager | Creative Cloud for enterprise