Announcing the Enterprise Deployment Forum

*** Guest Blogger Karl Gibson, CS Enterprise Systems Engineer ***

In the past people have used this blog and the comments section to ask questions about Enterprise Deployment and the different Enterprise IT Tools. While that’s perfectly fine, it’s not terribly collaborative and it can be difficult for people to track. So I am very happy to announce we have set up the Enterprise Deployment Forum. A great place to ask questions and see what other people have been asking (let’s face it we are all a little nosey) So pop on over, see what’s already been asked and post that question that has always bugged you, (preferably related to Enterprise Deployment)

http://forums.adobe.com/community/download_install_setup/creative_suite_enterprise_deployment

Karl Gibson | CS Enterprise Systems Engineer

 

The Many Uses Of RUM

*** Guest Blogger Karl Gibson, CS Enterprise Systems Engineer ***

A few weeks ago, Jody was kind enough to ask me to write a guest blog about RUM. Misunderstanding him and keen to impress so as to secure a permanent spot on this blog, I threw myself into the research I felt was required. I visited all 1,000 pubs in Dublin to sample there finest RUM, what I came to realize in pub 999 is that Ireland actually only imports 3 brands of rum, lesson learned!  Needless to say when I presented my findings to Jody he was not impressed and clarified he would actually like me to speak about the newest Enterprise IT Tool codenamed RUM (Remote Update Manager) So let’s get on with it.

Through my experience in speaking with IT Admins in the Enterprise and Education sectors, I have noticed the default behavior in most cases when building packages with AAMEE is that most people seem to select to have clients suppress updates. This I think is for 4 main reasons:

  1. Users are not Admins on there own machine, which means updates will fail.
  2. Bandwidth
  3. Control and validation of updates
  4. They use AAMEE to create update packages

I think everyone agrees that keeping software up to date is important for a number of reasons, chief among them security and bug fixes.

The RUM tool allows you to remotely initiate the Adobe Updater on client machines. It works as follows:

1. Admin creates package using AAMEE and selects update options, for example admin chooses to suppress updates.

2. Package is deployed and installed on clients

3. RUM file is copied to clients

4. Using a 3rd party deployment tool, admin sends a command to all clients telling them to invoke the Adobe Updater. Updater launches as admin and pulls down and installs all updates for CS products installed on the client from either Adobe.com or if you have set up your own internal Adobe Update Server using AUSST then updates (Mac or Win) will come from your internal server (saving bandwidth)

RUM will run when executed regardless of the update selection you have chosen in AAMEE and works with Creative Suite version 5 onwards.

We have already seen this tool being used to great effect and with people implementing it into there update schedule and having it execute automatically with designated frequency.

But don’t take my word for it, test it out today. If you have installed AAMEE 3.0 then you already have RUM, which is located in the “Adobe Application Manager/Enterprise/Utilities” folder.

If you just want the RUM tool, here is the direct link

http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/aameetools/

Now I am off to get Vitamin A for my liver.

Karl Gibson | CS Enterprise Systems Engineer

New Creative Suite CS6 Install – Why we did it

*** Guest Blogger Annick Baudot Mohageg, Product Marketing for Adobe***

Since we shipped Creative Suite CS6 I’ve seen a few comments on our blogs or forums from users complaining that the new installation requirements were hurting the “good guys” (= honest Adobe customers) instead of the “bad guys” (= pirate folks). This made me realize that we probably didn’t do a good job explaining the background of why these changes came about. Hard to believe (aren’t we supposed to be the big bad wolf?), but the required activation and login were actually put in place to help the “good guys”!

Most people associate software piracy with back alley sales of cheap Photoshop, serial number keygens, or free illegal downloads. A simple google search shows that there is a whole group of people who will never pay for software and don’t mind the risks associated with installing pirated versions on their machines. If you ask me, that’s not cool. Most of us would love to get a new <insert your dream product name here> but wouldn’t think about going out of the store without paying for it. Plus I’m pretty biased since my job depends on people wanting to use and pay for my company’s software! But that’s how it goes, some people think it’s OK and ultimately those are not the people I want to spend my energy on.

The type of customer we had in mind when we put the new installation requirements in place were the thousands of customers who contact Adobe each year to troubleshoot problems with what they believe to be a genuine Adobe application (as in, they paid big bucks for it)…. but find out that they were in fact using counterfeit. They didn’t go in a dark alley to buy their software, they didn’t use a keygen. No, these customers actually purchased Adobe software from what looked like a legitimate online store and paid full/close to full retail price of their hard earned money for it. Plus the box they received wasn’t a cheesy home made DVD, it was a “real” looking box; and the software installed and seemed to work just fine ….. until it bombed or they couldn’t install an upgrade 18 months later and called Adobe customer service to find out why.

That’s the customer we care about- the honest Adobe customer who thinks they are doing the right thing and yet finds themselves loosing hundreds if not thousands of dollars to high quality counterfeit without having any recourse whatsoever. By the time they realize they were duped, the online store they purchased the app from is gone, the credit card has already been charged, and they don’t qualify for upgrade pricing. Plus who knows what other malicious code was installed with the counterfeit- which is scary- especially for those working with client files, etc. I’ve been a freelancer and know all too well that this type of unplanned business expense or worry about possibly corrupting client files hurts- big time.

With the new CS6 installation, honest customers will now get confirmation that the software they install is genuine Adobe software. The reason we set the 7 day grace (vs longer) to activate and login was so that customers who were duped into purchasing high quality counterfeit can immediately realize the problem and quickly act upon it- by either blocking payment on their credit card or taking advantage of 30-day money-back guarantees some marketplaces (like Amazon Marketplace for ex) offers.

There are 2 levels of confirmation:

  • The first one is during installation: the serial number and software installed gets checked by Adobe’s servers and the customer gets a confirmation at the end of install that the software is genuine (or if we detect it’s not genuine Adobe, they are notified and install will stop).
  • The second line of defense is that since serial numbers are now associated with Adobe IDs during installation, customers can login to MyAdobe to ensure that their serial numbers is listed under their ID, and if it’s not, they can contact Adobe customer support to help out with next steps.

So that’s the scoop. Although I understand that activating and logging in during installation or within 7 days of first launching the new Creative Suite adds a few steps to the process, it hopefully will help many of our customers confirm that they purchased genuine Adobe software and if not, gives them recourse to do something about it. And that’s why we did it.

 

For more info on the benefits of Adobe IDs, check out Jeff Tranberry’s blog here.

Having troubles with your Adobe ID? Check out our support page.

Need tips on getting started with Photoshop CS6? Jeff provided lots of information here.

“Protect Yourself from Counterfeit” blog here.

For more information on activation, visit this page.


JAMF Composer 2007-2012 R.I.P.

Okay, JAMF’s Composer has not died. I don’t even think 2007 was its release date either. That was just a cheap gripping, tabloid style sensationalist headline to get you to read this post. Truth of the matter Composer, JAMF’s packaging tool has a long life ahead of it. And it has been a valuable asset to Mac IT admins who support Adobe products since the CS3 days. In fact back in the CS3 and CS4 days it was Composer that made packaging CS a possibility on the Mac platform. JAMF stepped up and really did a great service to the community by offering this as an option and it was a good introduction for a lot of people to the great people at JAMF who do more than just create tools for packaging.

With the CS6 release Composer’s functionality as a tool for packaging the Creative Suite has though indeed come to an untimely demise. Adobe has introduced two new requirements with CS6 that impact Composer’s ability to package CS6: the validation/creation of the Adobe ID and the validation of the volume serial number. Neither one of these can be done by Composer and therefore Adobe’s own CS packaging solution Adobe Application Manager Enterprise Edition (AAMEE) 3.0 needs to be used. Of course there is other value in using AAMEE 3.0 including the ability to customize the package for your environment and disable the pesky new activation.

I would like to say that on hearing this change, the folks at JAMF were completely supportive about this shift and made sure to help us get the word out. They allowed us to speak at their National User Conference last year and a couple of West Coast Regional Conference events where we previewed these changes and there were no riots. I do not believe that anyone at JAMF shed a tear on hearing this news. Except maybe one JAMF instructor who I will not name, but hint: his first name is the same as a famous jazz trumpeter. I think he’ll miss teaching the packaging of CS with Composer. Time will heal.

We want to thank JAMF for publishing the tech note on how to use AAMEE 3.0 with the Casper Suite entitled “Administering Adobe Creative Suite 6 with the Casper Suite”  which they released in conjunction with AAMEE 3.0′s official release yesterday. This documentation is a great resource for anyone who is starting out using these solutions or seasoned pro.

There is great potential in using JAMF’s full set of tools to better manage your Adobe software. One example of this is the possibility of using our new Remote Update Manager tool in conjunction with their Self Service application. How cool would it be to have a button in Self Service that said Update All My CS Apps?

Thanks again to our partners at JAMF! Long live Composer!

Jody Rodgers | Sr. Product Manager | Enterprise + Volume | CS + CCM | Adobe

Guest Blogger-John Tomeny from Sassafras Software

[Note: After a few comments & questions on this blog about Sassafras Software KeyServer support with CS6, we have asked John Tomeny, VP of Business Development at Sassafras Software to make a guest appearance.]

Following are some notes to address the many questions here around the use of K2-KeyServer to manage either concurrent use, ELA, or per-device licensing.

Adobe continues to offer concurrent use licensing for CS6 products. As with previous product versions, a concurrent license specifies various terms and conditions, including the requirement of an effective method to ensure license limits are not exceeded. Here are a some relevant links on the Adobe site (revised April 20, 2012) :

http://www.adobe.com/volume-licensing/policies.html#concurrency-policy

http://www.adobe.com/volume-licensing/calculator.html

http://wwwimages.adobe.com/www.adobe.com/content/dam/Adobe/en/volume-licensing/pdfs/CLP5_Program_Guide_v3_EN.pdf

The new activation requirement for CS6 ensures that every installation will only run in trial mode until explicitly activated for each installed instance. Copying or cloning components from an activated installation to another computer will cause the copy to revert to trial mode – an activation process must be run on each new computer installation. This activation requirement simply converts the software from trial (expiring) to fully operable without performing any checks on licensing restrictions.

Adobe provides three methods for executing the activation process. Standard retail purchases include an install code much like previous product versions. But with CS6, the AAMEE deployment tool provides two additional methods for creating fully activated installations. Login to the AAMEE tool using your Adobe account credentials, then, based on your purchase records, you can create a custom installer that will silently install and activate a specific CS6 product configuration. Alternately, AAMEE can create an activation tool, again using your Adobe account credentials and purchase records. The activation tool is then used on each computer where an unactivated installation has been deployed by some other method (trial installation, copied, or cloned installation, etc.) in order to activate full functionality.

For more about AAMEE 3.0 and deployment of CS6 see:

http://www.adobe.com/devnet/creativesuite/enterprisedeployment.html

License compliance for activated installations must still be managed according to the terms and conditions specified in your purchase. For example, if you have purchased a concurrent license, in addition to the activation step on various computers that may “potentially” use the product, the concurrent limit must be enforced on computers while “actually” using the product. If you have purchased a per-device license, careful management of which computers are activated may accomplish license compliance but it may be more feasible to audit and enforce a node-locked license policy using a license management tool that is able to disable the product on unlicensed computers.

K2-KeyServer can be used to enforce whichever CS6 license model you have acquired: either Concurrent use licensing, ELA Enterprise Licensing, or TLP/CLP per-device (“node Locked”) licensing rights. For more information about Adobe Volume Licensing see:

http://www.adobe.com/volume-licensing/policies.html

As always, the responsibility rests with the license administrator to understand both the licensing restrictions, and the licensing rights that have been purchased (e.g. suite vs. point product, concurrent vs. node locked metric, perpetual vs. expiring).

John Tomeny | VP, Business Development | Sassafras Software Inc

http://www.sassafras.com/

AAMEE 3.0 for CS6 available now! Removes puffer fishes!

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!

AAMEE 3.0 Read Me

CS6 Enterprise Deployment Guide

AAMEE 3.0 FAQ

Adobe Application Manager, Enterprise Edition AAMEE 3.0 – Windows

Adobe Application Manager, Enterprise Edition AAMEE 3.0 – Mac

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

AAMEE 3.0 Available on Adobe Licensing Website (LWS)…Right Now!

The 3.0 version of Adobe Application Manager Enterprise Edition (AAMEE) and associated English language documentation (Read Me and updated Deployment Guide) are available on the Adobe Licensing Website (LWS) a tad bit earlier than the official release date of 5/14/12. Why early? Well we because we were starting to feel like the waiter who has brought you your food and then realized they hadn’t brought you any silverware. Of course we knew that AAMEE was going to be released a week after CS6 shipped so that is a somewhat flawed metaphor, but I am hungry.

In LWS, you can find AAMEE 3.0 and the docs in the “App Mngr Ent Edition” section under “All” of the Downloads area. I do not know why it is called App Mngr Ent Edition but you know the whole LWS site is full of such gems.

I want to thank everyone on the AAMEE crew for helping us get the release out ahead of schedule. And GG and the LWS folks too. You all rock!

We will do a proper announcement on this blog on Monday, have direct download links, talk more about the new command line tools Exceptions Deployer application and Remote Update Manager. I am also going to do a FAQ about some of the questions that have come up around the licensing changes in CS6. I really do hope we will be able to persuade folks that we have gone out of our way to make sure the new licensing has minium impact to the IT admins charged with deploying CS6.

Jody Rodgers | Sr. Product Manager | Enterprise + Volume | CS + CCM | Adobe

Deploying Creative Suite 6 Webinar

If you do a web search for “deploy CS6″ do you know what comes up? The Nerf Deploy CS-6. What is that? A clip system Nerf blaster that was released in 2010 under the N-Strike series. How did I become such a Nerf expert? The Nerf Wiki of course. If you want to be in the know about the Deploy CS-6 then head to the Nerf Wiki page for the Deploy CS-6. If you want to be in the know about how to deploy CS6, as in how to do a mass software deployment of Creative Suite 6 using tools like the Adobe Application Manager Enterprise Edition (AAMEE) 3.0 then mark you calendars for Tuesday, May 22, 2012, 10AM PST for the Adobe Webinar “Deploying Creative Suite 6″ with your hosts Jody Rodgers and Rick Borstein. We will cover AAMEE, the new CS6 licensing changes, and the new command line tools Remote Update Manager and the Exceptions Deployer application. We will answer questions about imaging, activation, and possibly how to get the most performance out of your Nerf blaster.

UPDATE: Webinar recording available online:

http://seminars.adobeconnect.com/p5cusn6zish/

Jody Rodgers | Sr. Product Manager | Enterprise + Volume | CS +CCM | Adobe

Adobe Application Manager Enterprise Edition (AAMEE) 3.0 available 5/14/12

The latest and greatest and fastest and best looking version of  AAMEE is not in your hands…yet. That is right, the latest and greatest and fastest and best looking version of  AAMEE is the 3.0 release which is required to package CS6. The best way to get ahold of it right now is via a time machine. Please set the controls of your time machine for 5/14/12 which is the release date. Actually if you have a time machine, I suggest going further into the future where you can download AAMEE 3.1 which will undoubtedly be even better!

Okay, let’s think this through, if you have a time machine or if you are a time lord like Dr. Who, then is packaging up the Creative Suite for enterprise environments really a concern of yours?

If you do not have access to a time machine or the TARDIS (wasn’t it just a matter of time before we used this reference on this blog?) then hold tight. We will announce on this blog and on our @Adobe_ITToolkit Twitter account the links to the Adobe.com site locations where you can download AAMEE 3.0 and the new documentation. For those who have access to our Adobe Licensing Website (LWS is its own kind of time machine) then we will blog and tweet when AAMEE 3.0 is available on there. It might be different times or even dates when they are available as I am doing some significant clean up of the related docs and coordination of all these moving parts is like directing traffic at the airport. I don’t really know who I am in that metaphor. Probably the guy in the lost and found luggage department.

Jody Rodgers | Sr. Product Manager | Enterprise + Volume | Creative Suite + Creative Cloud | Adobe Systems

Sneak Peek of AAMEE 3.0

Adobe unveiled our new Creative Suite 6 and Creative Cloud offering today. And with that news, you as an IT admin probably have one question in mind: Why me? That’s right, the burden is square on your shoulders to package and get this new set of products into the hands of your users. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Got your back. We are there for you. Would we leave you hanging? Okay, historically you could say that we have in fact, left you hanging. So to speak.  But let’s not dwell on history. In fact let’s not even dwell on the present. Let’s talk about the future. Far, far into the future. Imagine a time where people can communicate to anyone in the world or by the use of a computer that fits in their pants pocket. That’s right, I am talking about the year 2012. Imagine it is a week after CS6 is available for download on the Adobe Licensing Website and now imagine another blog post from me where I spend a long first paragraph not exactly getting to the point and eventually tell you that AAMEE 3.0 is available to download.

What is this AAMEE 3.0 that you speak of that will be out a week after CS6 ships? It is the third major release of the packaging tool called the Adobe Application Manager Enterprise Edition, but we call it AAMEE because we are risk of getting carpal tunnel for typing the whole name out. AAMEE 3.0 was made specifically to handle the CS6 media to prepare it for deployment by outputting it as a customized MSI or PKG. A special version of the product has been developed for the new licensing features of CS6 because we are trying really, really hard not to make your job harder than it is or impact your users. If you got the CS6 media and tried to deploy it without the use of AAMEE 3.0 then things will not go smoothly for you. You see, we have specifically designed this release so that your deployment of CS6 is enterprise friendly and so you don’t write me nasty emails or post mean spirited comments. Using traditional methods of packaging CS without AAMEE, doing manual installs, or creating images without the use of AAMEE 3.0 will lead to an excessive amount of unnecessary cursing. You don’t want that. We don’t want that. Are you seeing how you and this AAMEE 3.0 tool need each other?

We will go into the details of the AAMEE 3.0 release in the next couple of weeks in different posts, specifics about the new licensing and activation, and we will discuss and preview two new command line tools that will make your life easier. But for today, I just wanted to show you a quick sneak at the welcome screen of AAMEE 3.0. It has a simple and clean interface and is laser focused on doing one thing: packaging and licensing CS6. But wait, what about support for older versions of CS or other suites like Technical Communication Suite? What about support for packaging updates? What about the support for updating an exiting AAMEE package? Oh. Did you notice that? Would we do that? Would we take functionality OUT of a product? Would we do that to you? Um. Look over there! Is that an ice cream truck I hear? Okay, look, I have been straight with this community from day one. So let me say Y-E-S! I’ve broken the first rule of Product Management which is to not take features out that people like and use.

Now before you get your rotten tomatoes out let me tell you we already have a section of the AAMEE engineering working on a 3.1 release that will add some of the missing functionality. AAMEE 3.0 will meet the basic needs of IT admins supporting early adopters of CS6. In fact, it rocks at that. It straightforward and quick. In the second half of 2012 we will have a 3.1 release that will add some of the lost features. Well “lost” sounds like we simply misplaced them. That would not be accurate as we know where we left them, in AAMEE 2.1. Ha. That made me laugh. So, my work is done here.

Jody Rodgers | Sr. Product Manager | Enterprise + Volume | Creative Suite & Creative Cloud | Adobe Systems