Adobe apologizes for repeated outages of its Creative Cloud video collaboration service

Frame.io admits it was 'slow to scale as demand rose


Adobe-owned cloudy video workflow outfit Frame.io has apologized and promised to do better after a series of lengthy outages to its service, which became part of Adobe's flagship Creative Cloud in 2021.

Frame.io bills itself as "The fastest, easiest, and most secure way to automatically get footage from cameras to collaborators – anywhere in the world" because its "Camera to Cloud" approach "eliminates the delay between production and post" by uploading audio and video "from the set to Frame.io between each take." In theory, that means all the creatives involved in filmed projects don't have to wait before getting to work.

In theory. Customers say that's not the current Frame.io experience. Downdetector's listing for the site records plenty of complaints about outages and tweets like the one below are not hard to find.

Frame.io's IP address appears to be owned by Amazon Web Services, so presumably the company has access to vast computing resources (depending on budget).

The service's co-founder and vice president for digital products, Emery Wells laid the blame at his own feet.

"Over the course of the past several months, the number of downtime incidents we've been experiencing has increased and has resulted in multiple outages that have sometimes lasted for hours. This is completely unacceptable," he confessed.

In Emery's telling of the tale, "The scale that our product needs to handle has steadily increased over the years and sharply increased over the past 12 months. Some of the early architectural patterns of our product were not able to handle this new scale and we have been hard at work on rebuilding critical parts of our systems."

Emery wrote that Frame.io has a to-do list that currently includes:

  • We have expanded our media pipeline and transcoding capacity by incorporating resources across multiple regions.
  • We've made improvements to performance and transactional behavior around uploads. We've also moved the asynchronous events generated by uploads onto a new, dedicated job system.
  • We've deployed improvements to the performance of our socket service that powers updates and presence across our applications, reducing unneeded load on our infrastructure.
  • We've made significant reliability and performance improvements to the archiving process while upgrading it to our new job system.
  • We've optimized database performance on digest jobs, which provides consolidated notifications for your projects.

The outfit is also "making a significant overhaul of our database infrastructure, including improvements and tuning to our connection pooling, multiplexing, and caching configurations to ensure we're getting the most out of our data layer." Once that's done, he anticipates reduced loads and faster service.

Emery added that the service is "continuing to expand the work we began with moving our media pipelines across regions, and will be looking into further separating our infrastructure for storage, data, and compute across regions to improve both capacity and resiliency."

Beta testing is already under way on a number of performance improvements to API subsystems such as storage calculation, designed to reduce overall load for upload and archival workflows. "We are also upgrading other event-heavy workloads such as asset management operations onto our new job system, and working on the next revision to our activity and bundling architecture," the co-founder wrote.

Personal responsibility is laudable, but Emery may be taking too much blame on himself. Adobe completed its acquisition of Frame.io in October 2021 – meaning Frame.io has in theory had access to lots of help and expertise for more than six months.

In theory. Perhaps Adobe hasn’t been that helpful.

Emery didn't offer a timeframe for completion of the upgrade. The tone of social media comments about Frame.io suggests it needs to happen quickly, lest customers consider alternatives. ®

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