Cloudy With a Chance of Storms

(news & commentary)

The predicted happened. Starting Wednesday afternoon and lasting for as long as 18 hours Adobe Cloud had a widespread outage that seriously impacted some Creative Cloud users and showed just how vulnerable Adobe’s new required playing field can be. 

Adobe hasn’t released details about the problem, but the symptoms were this: if you were logged out of the service you couldn’t log in, and therefore couldn’t use any Cloud apps that you subscribe to (an error message was generated). Imagine the panic that caused at production shops expecting to get work done. Downloads were unavailable, any files you had on the Internet were unaccessible, and you couldn’t log in to your account. Adobe eventually posted a workaround for the problem, but you would only know about that if you had contacted customer support.

As of this morning, the Creative Cloud Status site lists “Creative Cloud is operating normally.” Hmm. I didn’t even know there was a status page, let alone that I might be needing to ever look at it to see what was going on. Now I know. 

There seems to be some confusion over whether CC apps actually need Internet access or not. Adobe’s FAQ says “An Internet connection is required the first time you install and license your desktop apps, but you can use the apps in offline mode with a valid software license. The apps will attempt to validate your software licenses every 30 days.” (99 days for annual members.) 

That’s true, but it’s a bit more complex than Adobe implies, I think. For example, on the machine in which I have CC installed, it’s running the Adobe Updater in the background, which keeps me logged into CC. My monitoring software shows fairly extensive communications between my computer and Adobe’s server most days. 

This morning I had to restart my machine for something, and that would have triggered an attempt to log into CC and made my machine prey to whatever ailed CC on Wednesday. I suppose you could disable the installer and not log into your account, but then you’d be potentially losing one of the things Adobe promised (but hasn’t really delivered on) when CC launched: a constant stream of updates and new features. 

Mac users have long used Little Snitch to monitor the communications between their computer and Adobe’s servers, and usually to just turn them off to keep a fully stable system. With CC, you’d have to let the license pings through once a month, though. (If anyone knows how to just let license pings through and disable the rest, please let me know.)

So, will I removed CS6 from my machine? Not a chance. Adobe hasn’t exactly delivered more updates via CC than they used to with Suite updates (other than a few new tweener apps that seem to be called “previews”). Certainly no significant updates as I’d expect with a Suite update. 

Caveat Nimbus.

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