Adobe Creative Cloud Goes Down… World Doesn’t End

In case you weren’t already aware, the Adobe Creative Cloud platform went down this week, but the chagrin of many (I’m sure) the world, in fact, did not end. While I’ll admit it was unfortunate that certain services were unavailable (Typekit desktop sync, file syncing, etc.) I was still able to open all of my Creative Cloud apps and use them as normal. According to Adobe’s blog post the outage was not security related, so no information was lost or compromised in any way. In this article I’ll discuss the outage, how it affected my workflow, and why you shouldn’t be that pissed about it.

What Happened?

I was actually working in the Adobe booth at the HOW Design Live Conference last week when the outage began. At first I thought someone had hacked my Adobe ID, because my account was inaccessible. However, upon contacting customer support, I was told that they were experiencing issues and that service should be restored shortly. As my primary job in the booth was to demo Adobe software and answer questions about Creative Cloud, this outage couldn’t have come at a worse time. However, I quickly realized it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

For the most part my workflow remained much the same as it always had. I fired up Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and several other apps without any issue whatsoever, and (surprisingly) my desktop fonts still remained working as well. The only real issues I had were with Adobe Muse, file sync, and logging into Adobe websites with my Adobe ID credentials. If you’re uber-dependent on Adobe services like Business Catalyst or need the file sharing for your work environment, I can see why this would be such a frustrating thing, but I’m not sure how many people have jumped completely on that bandwagon. I still host all my websites outside the Adobe ecosystem, and my main file storage services are Dropbox and Google drive.

How’d it Happen?

That’s the question on everybody’s mind… Exactly what caused this outage? While Adobe is being somewhat vague on the actual cause of the ordeal, it is shaping up to be akin to some sort of technical failure and not any sort of malicious attack. What does that say about the stability of the Adobe infrastructure? Well, quite frankly, that it’s just as stable and/or vulnerable as any other cloud-based platform.

What Did Adobe Do About it?

Adobe’s initial response was a little lackluster, in my opinion, but they quickly rebounded by continuously updating their Twitter account(s) and also giving realtime updates via their Creative Cloud Status Page. As I said before, I was in the Adobe booth at HOW, and I can tell you that their #1 priority was their user base. There was a genuine sense of urgency amongst the employees I interacted with and they did everything they could to answer my, and everyone else’s, questions about the problems that were happening that day.

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Why You Shouldn’t Be Pissed

There are a ton of people that are mad about the CC outage, and I guess there are some instances where those feelings would be justified. However, I think many people are pissed because it’s en vogue to piss and moan about Adobe switching to this new SaaS model for their apps.

The truth is that we all use services like this every single day, and they all go down every once in a while. Gmail goes down quite a bit, Twitter is so flaky it has its own failure mascot, and even internet behemoths Dropbox & Netflix experience outages occasionally. That is the unfortunate consequence of putting so much faith in services that rely on the internet to function. They’re all fragile, vulnerable, and should never give you complete peace of mind, but they’re a necessary evil these days.

What blows my mind is that even people who still had access to their apps were screaming for Adobe’s head during the outage. If Netflix goes down, can you still watch movies? If Gmail goes down, are you still reading email? No, you aren’t, but you could still launch Illustrator last week, couldn’t you? Yes, most of us could. In a way, this should be looked at as a positive thing, and also dispel the myth that you must be connected to the internet 24/7 in order to use Creative Cloud.

Conclusion

Granted, Adobe didn’t do themselves any favors giving this platform a name with the word cloud in it… But honestly it’s not really a cloud based service. Your apps still live on your computer, and even if you’re disconnected from the internet, or if the “cloud” happens to crash, you should still be able to use your apps. Yes, there’s a cloud component to it, and if you’re invested in that branch of the ecosystem, you run the risk of being locked out every now and then. That’s exactly why I don’t put all my eggs in one basket, and I always make sure I have backups and contingency plans for all my sites, services, and applications. Thanks for reading!