Adobe All in the Cloud?

By Doug Barney

Adobe’s fan base – you all know those highly productive creative types – went to Adobe’s Creative Suite in droves. Think of this as the artists’ version of Microsoft Office.

Now, the decade-old suite is going the way of the dodo as Adobe pushes these loyalists to the cloud, Creative Cloud that is.

Creative Suite 6 comes in four editions and includes (at some point we’ll make this past tense), depending on what edition you buy: Photoshop, Acrobat, Dreamweaver, Flash, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, InDesign and some 10 other options.

Creative Cloud has the same basic lineup, just a completely different delivery model.

Adobe is breathless over its news, enthusing, “We're reinventing our desktop apps to make your creative process seamless, intuitive and more connected than ever. Our newest release – including Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC – is coming soon, and will be available only in Adobe Creative Cloud. If you join Creative Cloud now, you'll have access to the new CC applications the moment they are available.” Adobe will still sell the latest suite, Creative Suite 6, but “has no plans for future releases of Creative Suite or other CS products.”

Rather than producing a new locally-run Creative Suite 7, those users can only look forward to bug fixes and tweaks for compatibility with newer operating systems.

Creative Cloud, like Creative Suite 6, can be a monster if you opt for all the options. Besides the core Creative Suite tools, you can also get tools for building games and touch compatible apps.

The new model replaces the fixed price license with a monthly subscription. Miss a payment and your software will disappear into to the ether. For current Suite users, they can swap over to the cloud for about $30 a month, or $360 a year. New users will be dinged $50 a month.

Bold Move

The overall market move is clearly to the cloud, but few are cutting their older style apps completely loose. When Microsoft launched Office 365, it didn’t ditch regular old Office and related server apps, but instead kept on upgrading the on-premises wares just as aggressively.

The same is true for AutoDesk’s engineering apps, which also now have a cloud option.

The easiest apps to move to the cloud are the least demanding hardware-wise, as the cloud being remote by definition inflicts a performance penalty. And Adobe apps do tend to consume hardware cycles, including graphics processing.

The Great Cloud Bottleneck

Whether or not cloud apps work for you in large measure depends on the speed of your network, especially the WAN connections, as well as how the provider is architected and how many hops exist between you and them. I did an in-depth analysis of this bottleneck, and the answer to cloud performance is, well, more than a bit cloudy.

Edited by Alisen Downey

MSPToday Editor at Large

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