Inception Style Installation of CS 5.5 Master Collection

Adobe Application Manager Enterprise Edition is a great tool for sys admins that need to manage Creative Suite installations. It allows sys admins to disable EULA and registration reminders, kill off Adobe Air, turn off updates, etc. The only problem with the tool is that the packages it produces, although technically native Apple PKGs, really are not. There's no feedback given during install time as the package is essentially just a massive script copying files. The other problem is that AAMEE packages are extremely slow to install. Using Munki for my images this year, I noticed the initial bootstrapping of a machine was taking upwards of an hour to complete, with more than a half an hour of that time dedicated to the Creative Suite installation. I wanted to fix that.

Problem: Installing Creative Suite (CS) 5.5, all of the additional content, and all of the current CS 5.5 updates was taking, cumulatively, 31 minutes. That was accounting for more than half of the bootstrapping time of a new machine being configured with Munki.

What I did: I launched Composer on a machine that was freshly imaged. I pointed Munki to a manifest file that only included the Creative Suite installation (including the extra content and updates) and allowed it to do its thing. For 31 minutes or so. After Creative Suite was finished installing, I created a package in Composer based on what was installed.

Essentially, I made a Composer package of a Munki installation of an AAMEE generated Creative Suite Package. Inception much?

The results: The Composer built package, which includes the entire Creative Suite, all of the extra content, and all of the updates takes only 13 minutes to install using Munki. That's almost 60% faster than having Munki install the AAMEE packages.

Was the extra time spent repackaging the Munki installation of an AAMEE generated Creative Suite Package worth it? Absolutely. It will significantly cut the time required to bootstrap a new machine.

EDIT: Everyone should also read the comment below by Greg Neagle. Fortunately what he describes does not affect my environment at Robert Morris, but it may very well affect yours. 

3169 views and 2 responses

  • Jul 18 2011, 3:11 PM
    Greg Neagle responded:
    This approach should work OK if the CS5.5 Master Suite is the only Adobe CS product that will ever be installed on these machines, or if you will remove CS5.5 Master Suite before installing any other version of CS (like CS6 when it ships).

    This is because by repackaging the installation, you are capturing a static registration database. If you were to later repackage CS6 and install that on a machine that already had CS5.5, the static registration database for CS6 would overwrite the CS5.5 registration info.

    Similarly, if CS4 or CS5 was already installed on a machine and you installed this CS5.5 Composer package, it would overwrite the registration info for the older CS versions.

    This may not be an issue for your deployment, but is something anyone tempted to repackage Adobe apps should be aware of before they proceed,

  • Jul 18 2011, 3:49 PM
    Mike Boylan responded:
    Thanks for that extra bit of excellent info, Greg. I wasn't aware of that technicality. Fortunately in our environment, we image once a year and whatever is out at that time is what is installed, assuming approval from the faculty and department heads. So thankfully, that doesn't affect us.

    I added an addendum to the post to make sure people read your comment in case it would affect them.