Installing Adobe Creative Cloud with VMware AirWatch

Installing Adobe Creative Cloud with VMware AirWatch

So this week I have been playing with AirWatch (AKA WorkSpace One) and the latest version. I have been slowly working on fully automated MacOS build and I came across a bit of a snag with deploying some of the application or rather to my surprise, AirWatch could do apps that are not in the App Store.

One main application I have always had issues with is Adobe and getting this to package nicely has always been a pain down for various reasons. I did try and see if this would work with AirWatch natively and well it doesn’t but thankfully digging into some of their code it appears at the time of writing this they are using a Munki backend of which I am quite familiar with. In essence, it’s like SCCM for Windows.

The first point I need to make is I am offering this advice assuming you are correctly licensed for Creative Cloud and you take the relevant steps to ensure it only goes to the intended users despite them needing a registered email to activate the software.

If you want to learn more about AirWatch I am going to be doing a series of posts to complment this one or head over here for more information

TLDR:- Basically you need to create a managed package as the self-service isn’t signed and Apple Gatekeeper blocks this (a few hours wasted here). This then also caused the install to fail in a managed package but you also need to make this a managed install for it to work. Hopefully I can do a video guide soon

TLDR2:- I want to keep working on this and see if I can just get the Creative Cloud App so it reduces the install size

One of the first steps to do is generate the installer for Creative Cloud. You can do this by logging into https://adminconsole.adobe.com/ and selecting Packages at the top.

Once in here select create a package and select Managed package.

Select all the options you need within here such as locale

From here select Photoshop, I know this one works and to be fair most people using the cloud apps will need this. I did try Adobe Reader but again for some reason the install would fail

In this next screen it will confirm the application selected. Use a name that will be displayed on AirWatch, for example, I used Adobe Cloud to make it obvious to my users. It appears that you cannot change this in the main console which would be a nice feature to see in the future.

Once the package has built, download this if it doesn’t start automatically. You will now need the VMware AirWatch Admin Assistant which you can get here.  Open this and then drag you Adobe Cloud Install PKG file that is in the build folder of your download from Adobe

The application will sit there for a little while whilst it process the PKG file depending on its size as you may want to push the whole suite. Once it completes it should ask you to reveal this in finder

You should now see a folder with your application name, go into this and it usually has the please edit me at the end

In here you will find a .plist file you need to open this up in an editor and change the unattended_install value to true , I am using Xcode that allows me to select yes. At this stage, you could rename the DMG file and plist to something nicer reflecting this in here but it’s always best to test this as is first

Now due to the size limitation of 200mb at the time of writing this you need to upload the DMG that is within the same folder to a web server you clients can see. I would suggest protecting this still by HTTPS if you can and ensure you have this URL for the next step. In your AirWatch console select Apps & Books from the left and then Native. Within the sub window select App Application

Within this window select upload

In this window select Link and paste the in the URL to your web server hosting this file, select save and continue on the previous window

On the next window we need to upload the plist file you modified so the App Store knows how to install your app, do this by hitting choose file and then locate the file. Once done you will be back at the add application screen and select continue

You should now see the following screen and if possible at this point I add an icon so it doesn’t get the standard AirWatch icon. Fill in your categories and also and other details the like description you want and hit save and assign.

In this screen this selects which users will get the application shown in the app store, Press add assignment and fill in the details you want. I have selected All Devices just for demonstration purposes but do this to a group licensed for Adobe

I have found a bug on this next screen especially on Safari but select the radio button and then save and publish otherwise the assignment may not be saved.

You should now see a list of users this may affect if they are already in the correct groups and press publish

From here head back to the users machine and see if the application now exists, select Install and then confirm the installation

The icon should then change and this next bit can take some time depending on your web server and network

Eventually, this should go green and state installed. If you head into the users application folder you should now see Photoshop and the Creative Cloud Launcher where they can sign in for more applications

Android Enrolment on VMware AirWatch

Android Enrolment on VMware AirWatch

So I am going to be honest as many of you know I use Apple devices most the time just down to their simplicity and integrations but recently I have had the chance to use the latest version of AirWatch and a newer based Android Device.

The enrolment process is not quite as slick as iOS where it forces the user to enrol with your companies deployment but it can be as simple as a few taps (7 plus a few more) and a scan of a QR code. You may find as an IT department you still enrol users devices anyway so this won’t bother you that users may try and skip this step. At a guess I am sure some vendors will catch up and have a portal similar to Apple DEP before long.

The actual term for this in the Android world is called “Work Managed” but you will need to ensure you have your Google for Work set up before you do this or you won’t be able to push any applications to the device. This can also negate the need for the Google Play store on the device and your users needing separate accounts or everyone sharing a department account. I will do a separate post on the Android at Work as this also offers some great features.

But back to the enrolment, its as simple as open the box, pop the SIM in the phone, power it on. From here tap ‘Welcome’ 7 times and this will then take you to a hidden screen. Join the WiFi to save data if you wish and then this will download a QR reader. You will need to generate your own code using this guide from here and I found leaving the username password as it was caused the agent to get confused then ask me for that users credentials so I didn’t have to create unique codes. I used this website to generate my QR code

I used my top level group ID as when the user authenticates this should override this if they are in other smart groups. You can easily find this by going to the top of your organisation and then hovering over the name for a moment and this box will appear

Once you have added a user if you have your profiles and apps set up they should start streaming down to the device. I do certainly like the fact Boxer can be setup to auto configure from the user who enrolled and all they then need to put in is their password to start getting their emails. This is also quite nice if you wish to offer a BYOD or let user have their personal account on their phone as the in built client can then provided segregation.

The hidden power of doing it this way is when the user leaves despite being a good or bad leaver if the device is reset you can get back into it as the device is managed by the organisation. I have seen many devices been handed back into IT that have personal Google account on of which we can then not reactivate the device easily without the leavers details.

If you want to learn more about AirWatch I am going to be doing a series of posts or head over here for more information