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Adobe Creative Cloud crash shows that no cloud is too big to fail

A problem with Adobe Creative Cloud locked users of Adobe's software out of their programs -- and a good deal else on top of that -- for more than 24 hours starting Wednesday night.

According to a blog post by Adobe, the failure "happened during database maintenance activity and affected services that require users to log in with an Adobe ID." This includes Adobe's Creative Cloud service, which provides cloud-hosted and -managed versions of Adobe's flagship software, such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Premiere. More than 1 million subscribers (according to The Next Web) were locked out of their Creative Cloud accounts for 28 hours.

But every other Adobe service that used Adobe's ID system was also affected, as noted by The Register's Alistair Dibbs. At least one "national [UK] newspaper" wasn't able to publish its Adobe DPS tablet edition on Thursday because of the outage. Dibbs also claimed Adobe's suite of analytics and marketing tools, such as Adobe Business Catalyst were also affected. Adobe customer support ended up urging people via Twitter to disconnect their Internet connections and launch their Creative Suite programs in offline mode to make them functional, added Dibbs.

Creative Cloud and other Adobe ID-related services finally came back online last night.

This isn't the first cloud-related black eye Adobe's suffered, either. Last year Adobe admitted to having 130 million passwords stolen from a backup system that was to have been decommissioned. Many Facebook accounts were also indirectly affected. Adobe's also received sharp criticism for aggressively shepherding its users into cloud subscription, pay-as-you-go plans for its software; in 2013 Adobe stopped selling standalone editions of the Creative Suite altogether.

The breadth and duration of Adobe's service interruption ranks as further evidence that no cloud infrastructure is too big or too important to fail. Dropbox went down for 16 hours in January of 2013, and Google Drive experienced a similar 17-hour meltdown of its own in March. One estimate has put the cost of major-league cloud outages at some $71 million since 2007, but failures like Adobe's -- where a single piece of failing infrastructure brings down multiple systems --have most likely driven that estimate far higher.


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