MacIT 2014

Hi All,

Last year Adobe was one of the sponsors of MacIT in SF. It was a great few days and we got to meet and have a chat with some awesome IT admins about the newly introduced Adobe Creative Cloud Offerings and the newest addition to the IT Tools, Creative Cloud Packager. These events are incredibly valuable to us as it gives us a great opportunity to speak with those who use the IT Tools like Creative Cloud Packager, AUSST and RUM on a daily basis. IT admins have always been incredibly generous with their time and knowledge and this has allowed us to steer the IT tools in the right direction up to now and hopefully continuing to do so in to the future.

So with that said I am very happy to announce that Adobe is returning as a sponsor for MacIT 2014. We will be presenting on Thursday 27th March at 1:15pm-1:35pm. Now you are probably thinking one of two things, wait that’s only 20 minutes and I really want to hear what Adobe has to say about Creative Cloud for enterprise and the IT Tools (you won’t be disappointed) or wait that’s only 20 minutes and I really want to give Adobe a piece of my mind, well good news my friends we will also have a booth and so you can pull up a chair and talk to us good or bad for even longer. If we are not at the booth then we are either having lunch , having a beer or being inconspicuous but if you can find us or identify us then feel free to come over and chat (warning please approach slowly, we scare easily and become shy)

Looking forward to seeing you all there.

Cheers

Karl Gibson | Product Manager | Enterprise IT Tools

Creative Cloud Packager 1.4 is Live

Hi, All

As we enter this period of festivity the thought crossed my mind, what do you get an IT admin for Christmas to say thank you? To me the most obvious gift would be a smart watch, but you know what I have found thus far in my experiments with smart watches, they are not actually terribly smart. It is difficult enough to justify having another piece of technology with you but then you get the dreaded question, “so you can send text messages from the watch?”  or  “can you make phone calls from your watch?” Well, no, I can’t do either of those things, but I can have different watch faces, not bad for $150. Again I digress and so smart watches are not what I would like to give to the IT admin this festive period. Instead, how about a new version of Creative Cloud Packager?

Creative Cloud Packager 1.4 – Features

Package Modification

Quite some time ago in the AAMEE days, you (the IT admin) asked for a way to modify a previously created AAMEE package so you could add applications and updates without needing to create a new package from scratch every time a new update came out. This of course was a great idea and we added this feature to AAMEE. The problem is although this feature was great, we were not able to get it in to Creative Cloud Packager… until now.

In CCP 1.4, you now have the ability to modify a previously created package. You now can add updates, as well as add or remove applications to your existing package. There is a small caveat in that this feature is only possible from CCP 1.4 onwards, so packages created with CCP 1-1.3 cannot be modified.

Support for Physical Media

One of the great features of CCP is the ability to pull the Creative Cloud Applications and Updates directly from the cloud and create a customized package. However, there are some rare instances where the time or bandwidth required to pull down the Creative Cloud applications and updates is not possible or feasible. For this purpose CCP 1.4 will now allow you to create a package from physical media. This means that if you are in a location with poor Internet bandwidth or a locked down environment whereby access to the Internet is only briefly possible, then we would suggest you request physical media and use CCP 1.4 to create a package.

CCP 1.4 Physical Media CCP 1.4 physical media 2

Note: Although CCP supports packaging from physical media, online connectivity is still required to validate licensing information.

How to order physical media

Physical media is granted on an exception only basis. To obtain the media you must contact your Adobe Account Manager or Adobe Support.

CCP 1.4 is live now and you will be prompted to install the next time you launch.

For more information on this release please visit the Creative Cloud Packager help page

Finally I just want to say a big thank you to the IT admin community for all your help this year. I have attended and spoken at many IT events, written on many blogs/forums and have been on conference calls with many of you. Your support, ideas and criticism are very much appreciated.

The CCP team wishes you and your families a great holiday period and we look forward to working with you next year.

Cheers

Karl Gibson | Product Manager | Enterprise IT Tools

Creative Cloud Packager 1.3 is live

Great news, Creative Cloud Packager 1.3 is now live.

We are genuinely excited about this release. Not that CCP 1.2 was not exciting, actually who am I kidding it was important in that it had some bug fixes but that’s not exciting is it ? Though maybe I am being presumptuous and their are people out there who just love a good bug fix. CCP 1.3 on the other hand brings some pretty exciting features and just to keep those aforementioned people happy we also have some bug fixes.

Here are the new features in CCP 1.3

  • Support for archived versions of Products
  • Support for Native application Installers (Edge Code, Edge Reflow, Scout, Gaming SDK)
  • Support for Proxy Auto Configuration (PAC) files
  • RUM support for Feature Bearing updates
  • New Shortcut locations
  • New IT Tools Un-installer
  • Build information in Product UI

ccp 1.3 archive

 

Let’s start with

Support for archived versions: The Creative Cloud gives you access to the latest and greatest Adobe products but also access to previous or archived versions of products which is a very important aspect to many peoples workflows. CCP 1.3 now allows you to package the latest and greatest but also archived versions of applications beginning with CS6 era applications. They can be packaged together or separately depending on what your requirement is.

Support for Native application installers: In the past you would need to download separately from Adobe’s licensing website any applications that were native installers. In this release those applications are now downloaded directly from CCP.

Support for Proxy Auto Configuration (PAC) files: CCP will now honor PAC files that are used to provide proxy information.

RUM support for Feature Bearing Updates: This was a big one, you can now install FB updates by invoking RUM or by going to the “Help” menu of the product itself, this was not previously possible for Creative Cloud Enterprise customers.

As promised there are some important bug fixes in this release. Some customers where having issues with imaging when non Creative Cloud products where included in the image, this should now be fixed. Customers using AUSST where experiencing an intermittent issue whereby downloads where timing out. We have now updated the version of AUSST carried in the CCP 1.3 download and also on Devnet to resolve these issues.

What do you need to do to get this amazing new release you ask ? Why just re-launch CCP and you will be prompted to self update.

For more information on this release please visit the Creative Cloud Packager help page

Finally a special thank you to all the participants who helped test out the Pre Release version. Your input as always is incredibly valuable.

Cheers

Karl Gibson | Product Manager | Enterprise IT Tools

Creative Cloud Packager 1.3 Pre-Release

Hi All,

We have received great feedback since the Creative Cloud Packager 1.1 release in June and by all accounts it has been a success. That said the AAMEE team (which we should really rebrand to the CCP Team) have never been ones to rest on their laurels so we have been hard at work preparing the next major release. This is where we need your help. We would like to run a limited Pre-Release of CCP 1.3 for existing Creative Cloud for team and Creative Cloud for enterprise customers. This allows us to gather valuable feedback from you the IT admin because as I have said before this is why we do what we do.

 

Here are the new features in CCP 1.3

  • Support for Archived versions of Products
  • Support for Native application Installers (Edge Code, Edge Reflow, Scout, Gaming SDK)
  • New Shortcut locations
  • New IT Tools Un-installer
  • Build information in Product UI
  • Support for Auto Proxy Pac files *in final release*

 

The highest priority has been to add the support for archived versions of products. This is to support Creative Cloud for team and Creative Cloud for enterprise customers who are entitled to the latest and greatest but also archived versions of products. Up until now you could use CCP to package the latest and greatest but what if you also wanted to deploy a previous version of Photoshop for example? In this scenario as it currently stands you would need to download AAMEE, point it at the CS6 media and create a separate package. This new release streamlines the entire process by allowing you to create a CCP package that contains the latest and greatest in addition to any archived versions you would like to select.

 

ccp 1.3 archive

Pre-Requisites for Pre-Release

Open for Existing Creative Cloud for team customers

Open for Existing Creative Cloud for enterprise customers

 

How long is the Pre-Release running for 

The Pre-Release will run for around 3 weeks however we do have a threshold in terms of how many users we will be able to add. So please don’t take it personally if you do not get a response from us as chances are we have reached our quota.

 

How to apply

If you are an existing Creative Cloud Team or Creative Cloud Enterprise customers. I would ask that you please go to the following link and provide the required information.

 

https://adobeformscentral.com/?f=byue-iCfXCTtJM-zDUvDTw

 

Cheers

Karl Gibson | Product Manager | Enterprise IT Tools

 

Creative Cloud Packager 1.1 – A big week for CC Team & Enterprise customers

Hi All,

There has been many big days in my life but very few big weeks. Perhaps the week I got married and the week I went to Disneyland (not the same week) but this week must also be up there. On Monday 17/06 Adobe released it’s brand new Creative Cloud branded applications. Which I must say are extremely impressive with lots and lots of new features. On Tuesday 18/06 we realised that as a result of the changes on Monday there was an issue with Creative Cloud Packager 1.0 which was preventing package creation.  Ooops this was obviously not intended. However stay with me we have a fix.

We are now on Wednesday ,  which also happens to be my favourite day of the week, just in case that comes up in the Karl Gibson trivia quiz at your local bar. Today we are going to release Creative Cloud Packager 1.1. for our Creative Cloud Team customers.

Fear not Creative Cloud Enterprise customers we have not forgotten you. The great and really exciting news is that Creative Cloud Packager 1.1 will also be available for you. Since we released Creative Cloud Packager 1.0 in April for Creative Cloud Team customers the feedback has been overwhelmingly favourable. With this in mind it was really important to us that Creative Cloud Enterprise customers also have this this experience when it came time to packaging the new Creative Cloud applications & updates. Here is the breakdown of Creative Cloud Packager Features

 

  • Downloads applications & updates directly from Adobe’s Creative Cloud- No physical media/ LWS downloads
  • Create customised packages containing just the applications you wish to deploy.
  • Support for Feature Bearing updates- Updates are broken up in to Feature bearing & regular updates. IT admin can choose which they want to package.
  • Creative Cloud allows you to select the locale you wish to create packages with
  • Ability to modify update behaviour of client applications
  • Ability to disable or enable Creative Cloud Desktop Application.
  • Caching of Applications and updates to save bandwidth- Ability to change where cache is located.
  • CCP offers in app updating. When a new version is detected you are asked if you want to update.

 

CCP 1.1 Sign In

CCP 1.1 Application Screen

 

How do you get Creative Cloud Packager 1.1 ?

Creative Cloud Team customers

CCP 1.1 is now live. if you already have CCP 1.0 then when you next open or launch the application you will be prompted to install an update.

CCP Update screen

 

If you do not already have CCP then you can go to the Team admin portal creative.adobe.com and sign in with your Team admin ID and you will see a deployment section on the right hand side. You can download CCP 1.1 from here.

CCP admin portal link

 

Creative Cloud Enterprise Customers

On June 21st we will be making Creative Cloud Packager 1.1 available on Adobe’s Licensing Website (LWS) licensing.adobe.com In the past when you have signed in to LWS you would see a list of all the applications. This has now been replaced and you will see only Creative Cloud Packager 1.1,  your License Key and a handful of applications CCP cannot currently package. These include Edge Code, Reflow, Scout and Gaming SDK.

Note although we are making CCP 1.1 live on LWS on the 21st it does take time to replicate on peoples LWS account.

 

The Roadmap

I am incredibly proud of the work the Team has done on Creative Cloud Packager. By downloading the applications & updates directly from the cloud we are removing a massive headache from the IT admin and also as you can see from the above there is lots of other great features. This is just the beginning however. We have lots of plans in store for CCP. As the Creative Cloud evolves the Creative Cloud Packager will also evolve and offer greater customisation of the services the Creative Cloud offers. Also top of our To Do list is to add support for packing of archived versions. As of right now if the IT admin for a Team or Enterprise need to package previous versions i.e CS6 they need to use AAMEE 3.1. This is something we are looking to remedy.

One more thing

Yes I did the one more thing……..thing

With Creative Cloud Packager we have included a new version of the Adobe Update Server Setup Tool (AUSST 3.0) the new version offers significant performance improvement and we have also made AUSST proxy aware and so you can now use AUSST even if you are behind a proxy. AUSST is included in the Creative Cloud Packager build.  We are also making AUSST 3.0 available on the Devnet site for those who are still pondering the Creative Cloud but want to take advantage of the new features, please keep an eye out over the next few days.

Help Page

The Creative Cloud Packager Help Page is located here

http://helpx.adobe.com/creative-cloud/packager.html

 

Cheers

Karl Gibson

Product Manager | Enterprise IT Tools

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

Somebody new brings you something new- Introducing the Creative Cloud Packager

Hi All,

Some of you awesome IT administrators will already be familiar with who I am, some of you may not but for the last few years I have been the Systems Engineer working with our customers on Enterprise Deployment Issues. You may also recognise me from such blogs as “The Many Uses of RUM”. What you may not know is that I am and have been for the last 4-5 months the Product Manager for the Enterprise IT Tools such as AAMEE, AUSST, RUM ,XDA & APTEE.

 

What happened to Jody Rodgers you may be asking ?

Has Adobe tried to silence him ?

Stop him in his tracks before he makes deploying Adobe software too easy for IT admins ?

Has he tried one last time to grow his hair, become cool and join Sigur Ros ?

No !  in fact he has been promoted to Senior Product Manager for Creative Cloud for Enterprise.

 

So with that said there is going to be some exciting times ahead and some great new tools. So let’s get started.

 

Adobe Creative Cloud for Team is a pretty awesome offering.  You get all of Adobe’s applications, you get new feature bearing updates, shared storage, folder syncing & lots of other cool stuff.

However before now there was no great way to deploy the products to systems where users were not administrators. Our workaround was that you should download CS6 Master Collection from our FTP Server and package with AAMEE 3.1 but this was certainly not ideal and not what AAMEE was designed for. So the team who brought you AAMEE is bringing you The Creative Cloud Packager a brand new tool which will in it’s first iteration allow you, as an administrator for a CC Team to download directly from the application all of the Creative Cloud Products & Updates (regular and feature), define custom installation behaviour and at the end have a native MSI or PKG that you use with your deployment tool to install on all machines you manage. Now just in case you missed that, this means no separate media download. WHOOOO

 

Some key points

If you have used the AAMEE workaround up till now you can still use CCP from now on.

CCP caches to a location of your choice and so if the applications and updates have not changed then you do not need to download the same bits again and again thus saving you some time.

CCP can be used to create an update only package by just selecting updates.

CCP produces an msi file for Windows which is also accompanied with a Setup.exe that can be used for manual execution on a single system basis, rather than deployment. The Mac pkg can also be double clicked.

There is a new version of Adobe Update Server Setup Tool 3.0 (AUSST) included with CCP. This has been changed from python to C++ and has significant benefits such as

-Reduced the amount of time it takes to perform initial and subsequent syncs

-Ability to set up cron jobs for automatic syncing and updating of repository

Remote Update Manager (RUM) is also now included in the package and copied to the client by default although this can be changed if you wish

 

This tool is live today and will be available to Creative Cloud Team administrators from the Team admin portal.

Documentation is live and can be viewed here

You can catch a video I created on our Adobe TV site here

 

Here is a screen shot (not a mockup) of Creative Cloud Packager.  CCP is something that will be evolving and we have some pretty awesome plans for it, so stay tuned !!

ccp copy

 

*Update 09/04/13 Included image of where you will find Creative Cloud Packager on the admin portal when you sign in with admin account*

ccp live

Karl Gibson | Product Manager | Enterprise IT Tools

Join Us At MacIT/MacWorld 1/31: What The Creative Cloud Means For IT

Headed to San Francisco next week for the MacIT/MacWorld event? Here are a few tips:

1) Ravens jerseys are not so popular at the moment in SF.

2) You shouldn’t leave town without going to the Mission and having a Papalote Mexican Grill burrito drenched in their amazing salsa. Or your mouth will resent you.

3) Adobe’s session on Thursday 4:45pm – 5:30pm will be THE best session of the entire conference.*

*Okay, so I just looked at the lineup and that statement might not be completely accurate. Chip Pearson from JAMF’s keynote is likely to be great. Oh, and I didn’t see that the likes of Rich Trouton and Randy Saeks are also speaking Thursday. Those guys are always good. So I guess I can’t even state that we’ll have the best session that day. Man, looks like on our time slot we are up against a DNS session that looks pretty good. And “iPads on Planes” sounds cool. Although seems like they missed their chance to call it “iPads on a Plane.” So okay, so let’s say the we will have one of the top 5 sessions at the conference during the Thursday 4:45pm – 5:30pm time period. Yes, I feel confident about that statement. Although I bet there might be some compelling conversations out in the hall during that time period.

In all seriousness we are really excited to be participating in the conference as a sponsor and getting to engage directly with the Mac IT community. Our session was initially entitled “Managing Adobe Software: Taking IT To The Next Level” but I’ve taken that Keynote presentation and I’ve Control clicked on it and chose Move To Trash. That’s right, I’ve scratched the whole talk so that we could bring you the latest info around managing the Creative Cloud. The new talk is called “What The Creative Cloud Means For IT.” What? You don’t have to manage the Creative Cloud yet in your environment? Well one great thing about conferences like this is the opportunity to stay ahead of the curve, to be the first on your block with the scoop, the 411, the…oh you get it. Plus we will have an unveiling of something new. And there will be prizes. Prizes!

And this year I will be joined on stage by the new Product Manager of the IT Tools, Karl Gibson… all the way from Dublin, Ireland. That is 5091 miles/8192km. Traveling 7689 miles/12,372km we have our QE Lead for the IT Tools, Rahul Baiswar, all the way from Delhi, India. And coming all the way from San Jose, California (wait, that is just a train ride away) is Eric Wilde, who is not only my fantastic guy and manager (it’s review time btw) but Eric is also my partner in internal advocacy for the Enterprise IT admin. We are all excited for the event and can’t wait to see old friends in the community and meet new ones.

Here’s the details of the season. Hope to see you there. Did I mention there was going to be prizes?

MacIT 2013

Session ID: 2396

Title: Managing Adobe Software: Taking IT To The Next Level What The Creative Cloud Means For IT

Date: Thursday 1/31/13

Start Time – End Time: 4:45pm – 5:30pm

Room: 3006

Jody Rodgers | Sr. Product Manager | Enterprise + Volume | Digital Media | Adobe Systems

32767 Days Left, But Who’s Counting?

A significant licensing bug has caused certain installs of CS6 software on Mac systems to begin prompting the Trial screen indicating that the software is no longer licensed but is now in Trial mode. Normally the trial period is for 30 days. But in this case, it states that the trial period is 32,767 days. Just a bit over 89 years. So imagine it is 2102. Your kids and grandkids have long since moved to Mars, but apparently you, the IT admin are still stuck on Earth dealing with the Adobe’s CS6 licensing issues! I joke. Why? Because this is particularly egregious and has been very disruptive for many production environments, school labs, etc. And we have been particularly slow to respond to this issue. I am not saying this as self criticism but rather as a simple fact.

Do we have a fix? Let me jump to the chase (for once) and then explain the root of the cause and explain why our response to this has been sloth-like.

How to resolve the 32767 Days Left licensing issue:

1) Apply the Mac Photoshop 13.0.4 update patch

2) Use AAMEE 3.1 to create a serialization file

3) Run serialization file on affected systems

Details on #1: Photoshop 13.0.4 is available via the Mac version of AAMEE 3.1 in the Update workflow. It can also be applied manually if updates are enabled. The Remote Update Manager (RUM) is also available to apply the updates on the system. The specific command line for this would be:

RemoteUpdateManager –channelIds=AdobePhotoshopCS6-13.0

Details on #2 & #3: Adobe Provisioning Toolkit Enterprise Edition (APTEE) is the command line serialization tool that is included in the AAMEE 3.1 install. It is covered in detail on Chapter 9 of the Enterprise Deployment Guide.

Now, why did this happen and if it hasn’t happened to you why not? The pattern we have seen appears to point at the Photoshop 13.0.2 and 13.0.3 updates as they had impacts to the licensing database. This update caused a synchronization call to the serial entry that would basically cause that entry to become unusable. Therefore the product that had been licensed would switch to becoming trial. Except of course a trial time period is 30 days and these installs would of been past 30 days so it displays that ridiculous 32,767 message.

We initially provided guidance on the Enterprise Deployment forum to use APTEE to un-serialize and then serialize and this resolved the issue for some folks. Same for the suggestion that came up to just use the serialization executable workflow in AAMEE 3.1. But, of course this wasn’t a proper fix because the same synchronization call would occur and then break things. Again. Ugh.

So, what was needed was the Photoshop 13.0.4 update that came out this week to stop breaking things. Then use APTEE to un-serialize. Bam, clean slate. Then use APTEE to serialize. Why not use the serialization executable workflow in AAMEE 3.1? Good question. The guidance from our Engineering Director I got was to stick with the APTEE step of un-serialization. Easier/cleaner to write to a file/entry that wasn’t there vs. one that is and might have been corrupt. Makes sense.

Why weren’t we able to diagnose and provide better guidance in a proper manner is two-fold. We are dealing with licensing that is time and actual product usage based. One would be unable to take the exact same AAMEE produced package with the same volume serial number and reproduce the issue after an install. Trust me, we tried. No, the licensing mechanism we have created is now like a ninja. One that we trained. Then we told it to go out in the woods at night and not be seen by us. Then we had to go out there in the woods to find him. Guess what? Totally hard. I am not sure if that metaphor works but I really like the imagery of a ninja hiding in the woods laughing (silently of course) at me.

In addition we did not want to announce a fix widespread until we had actual validation from customers that this was working. Once again, not a fix that they could validate instantly with any confidence that it had “stuck.”

We have learned a lot from this whole thing and need to do a lot internally to make sure this doesn’t happen with another product update…ever! In the meantime, you are owed an apology for the impact this had on your organizations. We understand that these types of issues are not simply things that make Adobe look back, but if you are an IT admin who manages a lab and the lab stops working the precipitation is that it is your fault. I know this first hand. Many moons ago I managed labs at a college and then when I first came to Adobe ten years ago I maintained Adobe’s training classrooms. I know what it is like to see a classroom of frustrated students and worse an angry instructor rolling their eyes at me or even yelling at me. Not pretty.

I also want to thank the members of the IT community that helped on this by reaching out to us with detailed info of the issue, providing logs, helping us test and validate, etc. Special shout out to the Enterprise Deployment forum posts. This forum has a large visibility internally and issues that get many reports here turn into data that is seen by our executives on a real-time basis. I also want to thank those who reported the scale of the impact to your Adobe Account Executive or your Channel Reseller partner. It is important that you be heard through all these outlets and that we understand the inconvenience and pain this has caused you and your organization.

Jody Rodgers | Sr. Product Manager | Enterprise + Volume | Digital Media | Adobe Systems

Update 1: Please note that if you have systems that have not seen these issues then our recommendation is to simply make sure that you update the Photoshop 13.0.4. No need to unserialize and re-serialize if the PS 13.0.2 or 13.0.3 updates were not on the system. If you have an AAMEE 3.1 package with the PS 13.0.2 or 13.0.3 in it be sure to update the package to include 13.0.4.

Update 2: This entry was changed to clarify that that 13.0.4 is for Mac systems only.

Update 3: For clarity instructions to resolve have been updated. No longer require un-serialize & reserialize. AAMEE 3.1 serialization file takes care of both.

Using Adobe’s IT tools to deploy Creative Cloud for teams

3rd (and final) UPDATE 05/13/13
This article is now antiquated and should not be used. In April we released a brand new tool for our Team Customers called “Creative Cloud Packager” for more information please go here

 

You are at your holiday party. You have had one, okay, more than one, glass of spiked eggnog. You are singing along to Wham!’s “Last Christmas” off key. Let’s face it, your judgement might be slightly impaired. And of course, as an IT admin, your goal is to avoid talking to your production manager at these type of events. Too late. He’s cornered you. Oh, that tie! Does he think he is being ironic wearing that Santa tie?

And the next day when you awake you have a slight flashback. What did I promise? Something about telling the production manager I would deploy Adobe’s Creative Cloud for teams before I left for my break. How can you package up and deploy the “cloud?” That doesn’t even make any sense. Oh my head. The nog!

Well I hope this blog will be your Rockstar Recovery drink to get you through this. First, let’s clarify a few things. First, the Creative Cloud for teams offering is different the Enterprise offering. We’ll have a few blog posts going into the Enterprise offering in 2013. This post is simply focused on what an IT admin who has to help roll out the Creative Cloud for teams can do with the existing Adobe IT tools like AAMEE and RUM to make things easier. We’ll be rolling out comprehensive documentation in January on this topic but want to give a quick overview.

Let’s say you are rolling out 50 seats of Creative Cloud for teams in your office. You may be involved with the actual administration of sending out invites. This is done through the admin portion of the Creative Cloud site. From the Invite Multiple option you can either copy and paste user’s email addresses (ouch! carpal tunnel) or import a .txt or .csv file of the user’s email address. Then you can send them an invite and they’ll login with or create an Adobe ID.

Screenshot of the admin portion of the Creative Cloud site

 Then they’ll download and install the Creative Cloud version of the Adobe Application Manager and begin downloading and installing the full offering of Adobe’s Creative Cloud applications and updates. All of them. All of the apps. All at once. All 50 of the users. What? This is in your Portland office? The only office that hasn’t had the network upgrade yet. Better turn off your mobile stat and hide.

Now that scenario of course could be avoided if you used your existing deployment infrastructure by pushing out packages of the apps rather than using your office’s internet connection for all 50 users. But how do you package up a set of apps that come from the cloud? Ah, you need a work-a-round, a hack. Well my friend, as a former IT admin I am all about the hack. Here’s how you do it: The bulk of the applications they are downloading from the Creative Cloud are the CS6 installers and to be frank, are not exactly what I’d call svelte in the MB/GB department. So you could download them yourself from our FTP site as the CS6 Master Collection and then use AAMEE 3.1, our CS6 packager, to package them out and distribute them.

But wait, AAMEE requires a volume serial number, right? Well remember we also have a Trial workflow in AAMEE 3.1. And the Trial workflow is really an unlicensed version of the CS6 app, just waiting for licensing via a serial number or an Adobe ID login associated with a subscription or Creative Cloud membership. Get it? So once it is packaged up you can distribute using your deployment infrastructure and then have them log in after you send the invites. This turns the unlicensed CS6 app into a Creative Cloud app. Magic. More like magic hack.

A few caveats about this plan/hack are:
1) apps such as the Edge tools, Muse and Lightroom aren’t part of CS6 so the end-users will have to download those apps on their own. The Edge tools and Muse are quite lightweight in size though.
2) the updates that you package with AAMEE 3.1 will not fully get the applications up to date. Why? Because the Creative Cloud have their own special feature updates that are not part of CS6. Therefore they can’t be seen in the Updates screen with the CS6-based AAMEE 3.1. You could execute the Remote Update Manager (RUM) once the end user has signed into the application with a valid Creative Cloud account. Then when you run RUM it will recognize the install as a Creative Cloud app and then pull that Creative Cloud-specific update down and install it.

(There is obviously a joke opportunity in there with RUM and spiked eggnog but I am going to refrain. Not because I am opposed to stupid jokes. Anyone who has read this blog in the past knows that. But this is out of principal. And that is because I am in the camp that firmly believes eggnog only has one true friend. And that friend is from Loretto, Kentucky. I’ll say no more.)

If you have read through this blog post cursing me and saying things aloud saying things like “Don’t you know my end-users aren’t admins?” or “There is no way we would give our users access to whatever apps they want.” or “I don’t want my users to have to have Adobe IDs.” If that is the case, then we have an Enterprise version of the Creative Cloud that can accommodate your organization. Lots more info on this topic coming early 2013 including us previewing some cool new stuff at the Mac IT event in San Francisco which we are are a sponsor.

If you are not familiar with our FTP site, you can get to the CS6 installers by going here:

ftp://ftp.adobe.com/pub/adobe/cs6/downloads/

And if you are unfamiliar with AAMEE you can download it here along with the tome that is the Enterprise Deployment Guide that covers AAMEE, RUM, and more:

http://www.adobe.com/products/creativesuite/technical-resources.html

Hope this hack helps. That is a lot of ‘h’ action. Here’s two more: Happy holidays!

Jody Rodgers | Sr. Product Manager | Enterprise + Volume | Digital Media | Adobe Systems

 

UPDATE: The PDF of the white paper “Adobe Creative Cloud for teams IT Deployment Guide” is live:

http://wwwimages.adobe.com/www.adobe.com/content/dam/Adobe/en/devnet/creativesuite/pdfs/CCT_IT_Deployment_Guide.pdf

 

2nd UPDATE 3/6/13: Two issues with the workflow mentioned, both fairly major. First, the media that is on the FTP is not for North American English. We are working to get that posted on the FTP site. In the meantime, you can find the CS6 MC media from: http://www.adobe.com/downloads/

[Note: Getting media from that page requires the use of the Adobe Download Assistant which is very consumer focused. Sorry about that.]

Second, in order to have the ability to login properly with a Creative Cloud for Teams account the system needs to have the latest copy of Adobe Application Manager installed. Unfortunately the Adobe Application Manager can’t be packaged with AAMEE nor is it a native installer. I know, I know!  Here are the links to the Adobe Application Manager files:

Windows: http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/detail.jsp?ftpID=4773

Mac: http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/detail.jsp?ftpID=4774

It can be installed from command line by:

Win: <Path to Setup.exe>Set-up.exe –mode=silent –action=install
Mac: <path to ASU> /ASU/Install.app/Contents/MacOS/Install –mode=silent –action=install