This is it. The official launch day. You’ve seen the trailers. You’ve bought your popcorn, soda and candy combo. You are in your seat. The lights fade. You are reminded to mute your cell phone ringer. You adjust your 3-D glasses. And here it is Adobe Application Manager Enterprise Edition 3.0 in 3D! Or AAMEE 3-D as we like to call it. Wait why are you taking off your 3-D glasses? What? Your head is hurting? You didn’t ask for the ability to package CS6 applications for the enterprise in 3-D? But our marketing research firm told us that 3-D was still popular. Ugh!
We did not in fact, make AAMEE 3.0 in 3-D. Although that would of been awesome! Okay, no it wouldn’t. A little bit awesome? Okay, I’ll drop it. AAMEE was created back during the CS5 cycle to address the fact that our proprietary installer format was about as helpful to enterprise IT admins as a puffer fish. A puffer fish? What the heck is this? Does Adobe know anything about how things are deployed in an enterprise? What am I supposed to do with this tetraodontidae? But AAMEE outputted the CS installers into pkg and msi files and worked with existing deployment solutions and life was good. Okay, life was bumpy at first, but then it got better. But some folks in the IT admin community simply patted us on the head and said “Nice, Adobe. I’m going to keep my workflow as it is, thank you. You go play now.” And honestly, that was fine. At least we gave folks the option to use our tool and those that did mostly liked it and thanked us even.
Flash forward to the release of CS6. Adobe has introduced new licensing and activation in CS6 that are as helpful to IT admins as, well, a puffer fish. If you are not into the puffer fish metaphor I apologize. That’s all I got. But don’t worry, when we saw these changes coming we said wait, wait, they do not want a puffer fish. So that was the main goal of this release: minimize the impact of the CS6 licensing and activation on the the IT admin. Nothing else. Nothing. Okay, that is not true. We also wanted to update the look and feel. We wanted to re-evaluate the text and make it more user-friendly. And we also wanted to make it easier for the IT admin to push out the items in the Exceptions folder. Okay, well that is it. Nothing else. Except we wanted to give admins a way to remotely update the Creative Suite apps. But other than that, nothing else. Really.
Let’s get into some specifics. How bad is this puffer fish and how are AAMEE 3.0′s de-puffer fish abilities? If you do a manual install of CS6 on a system the following will happen: An Adobe ID request will come up. Your end users HAVE to login with an Adobe ID account or they can’t use the software. Oh, that will be popular. Wait, the systems aren’t online or behind a secure firewall? Won’t work. Also, the systems HAVE to activate on a regular basis. Once again, not connected to the internet or behind an overly secure firewall? Won’t work. Now maybe you do imaging for your organization. You do an install on one base system. Login in with an Adobe ID and serialize it. Looks fine. Then you clone it to another system. Won’t work. There is now a relationship between the machine and the licensing in CS6. Let’s say you used a third party packaging tool like the venerable JAMF Composer tool. Guess what? Won’t work. No place within Composer to validate the Adobe ID or the online serial number validation.
Okay, so how well does AAMEE 3.0 reduce the pain of this puffer fish? First, using AAMEE 3.0 makes it so you only have to create/login with one Adobe ID on behalf of your organization therefore negating the need for your end users to have an Adobe ID at all or even know what one is. Second, the serial number is validated and activated within AAMEE 3.0. The end user’s system does not have to activate because you have already done it using AAMEE. Third and final, if you are imaging then AAMEE 3.0 has a special unserialized/trial workflow and a new serialization executable that can be used to serialize once the image has been applied to the machine. BAM! Puffer fish be gone!
I realize this is a weird product announcement. But I wanted to cover again our focus for this release as there has been a lot of reaction in the comments of previous posts. We really have gone out of our way to make sure these licensing and activation changes have the smallest impact to our enterprise customers. In a perfect world, AAMEE would of also removed the licensing-to-machine relationship all together, but that didn’t happen and I think we have an adequate workaround. Not awesome, but bearable. But the truth is, nobody likes change when there isn’t an obvious benefit for them personally. Like the time the construction on Highway 99 was going on and I had to do a massive reroute. I was grumpy. But then I realized that the reroute took me by one of my favorite bakeries so I could stop and get breakfast each morning. And there is no hidden bakery with the CS6 and AAMEE 3.0 release.
Okay, there is no hidden bakery but we did provide betas of our the new command line tools with this release: Exceptions Deployer application and Remote Update Manager which are pretty sweet and we’ll go in depth on them in another post. And we even put the Adobe Customization Wizard X in the Windows installer into AAMEE’s Utilities folder just to save time for IT admins who need to tweak their Acrobat install on Windows.
Give us the links already! Okay, but before I do, let me warn you that AAMEE 3.0 is only for CS6 media with a volume serial number. It does not work with CS 5.x media, eLearning Suite, TLS, etc. Just CS6. It does not work with retail serial numbers. AAMEE 3.0 and AAMEE 2.1 can not exist on the same system. That is my list of caveats, except the obvious one: AAMEE 3.0 should only be used for good, never for evil. Good and evil is very much on my mind as I am counting down the hours for another 3.0 release: Diablo III. Links Jody, give us the links!
Thanks to the entire extended AAMEE crew for pulling together this release. I am very lucky to work with such a great team. And thanks Adobe for giving me the resources to put puffer fishes back into the ocean where they belong.
Jody Rodgers | Sr. Product Manager | Enterprise + Volume | CS + CCM | Adobe