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What We're Working On For Patch Manager (Updated August 14, 2020)

Solarwinds Patch Manager 2020.2 has shipped and we are already busy working on the next release. Here's what we're working on:

  • Web Console: updates to the Orion web console, adding new reports/views:
    • Last Patching Date.
    • Computer and Update views.
 
  • LDAPS support for encrypted domain controller communication.
 
  • Add capability to execute remote PowerShell scripts on agents.

 

As always, if there are features that you'd like to see implemented in Patch Manager, please submit your ideas here.

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2.0 was released over a year ago (11/26/2013), I think you meant to post 2.1 RC? The truth is not much as changed since the 1.x days aside from branding, os support, and Orion integration... Earlier this year andrewm. created a post asking Is Patch Manager dead?  The fact is development on PM has slowed greatly... GREAT questions like List systems without a specific application installed are not even being answered... It feels like PM is not getting the internal support it needs... I have not heard much chatter on the 2.1 RC other than the beta announcement post Patch Manager 2.1 Beta 1... what would be nice to know is when this will be out of beta, if the laundry list of bugs will be addressed, the clunky and slow UI/X will be improved...

Hey Mark, a couple things.

Before I get started, the only reason this was re-posted was to move to a new Roadmap/What We're Working On system we're implementing on Thwack. This isn't actually new content, it's the same thing Kevin posted on the Product Blog... yes, we're talking 2013/2014. These posts generally get updated as we're releasing and planning new releases, so there will be a new one sometime after the release of 2.1. When that happens, I'll update this post so if you get subscribed (which by commenting you do by default) you'll see the new content.

Now that that's out of the way, the first thing I wanted to say was the release of Patch Manager 2.1 is imminent - you'll see an announcement about availability soon. It has been in RC for quite a while since that beta post (and on the customer portal available for download), but I don't know if the announcement made it very widely. Most of the things that are in this list today are covered in that release (publishing third party patches, new reports, better grouping, for example, the beta post you referenced covers it pretty well).

Secondly, we've actually taken some initiative to give Patch Manager more love. We've moved it over to the Security product team (together with Log & Event Manager and Firewall Security Manager) and as a part of a smaller scoped team we'll be able to dedicate more resources to content, feedback, and a long-term roadmap that doesn't make you wonder if Patch Manager is dead. We're not abandoning the server operations (non-security) audience (similar to how Log & Event Manager also plays in multiple audiences), but we're taking a fresh look at what we want to do in the long term.

I appreciate your response.  I would respectfully ask going forward such information be shared before it is asked for.

I agree, I've only been using PM since 6/2013 after coming from an SCCM background while working at another company and it seems like major development on the product has stalled. And after the great loss of Lawrence Garvin even tech support has dried up now in the support forums. Even the release of 2.1 left me underwhelmed and when 2.1.1 was released the release notes weren't even updated so we have no idea what changes were made in that (bugfix I guess). Eventually I'll get around to installing the upgrade but there's really no "must have" feature in it that I need.

Just a comment on the 2.1 vs. 2.1.1 issue - there was a problem in the files uploaded initially and we had to quickly correct them. We decided to increment the version in case someone had inadvertently downloaded 2.1.0 in the small window before we found the issue.

All three items you listed would be a huge benefit.    I recently joined a company and  I was tasked with implementing patch management in our Data Center and remote sites and these three items are the great features that the product needs.

I have been patching servers that have been in the field for 3+ years that have never been patched at all.     The ability to keep on patching until complete would be a HUGE feature and would take a lot of pain from having to constantly

having to resubmit jobs and babysit a system until it is fully patched. 

I will be impatiently waiting for these new features!  

is there any plan to include cluster aware?

Currently Patch manager is not cluster aware.

Is this is a dead product?  Supported products seems very small to the competition.  I believe I might have been sold a bit much by the sales people on it's real potential here. 

I think we are in the same boat as you.

I'm still not seeing it. You claim that you've got folks working on this product, but the 2.1 update included only minor changes and, other than Windows 2012 R2 support, added no major features and addressed no significant long-standing bugs or UI issues. I have seen no updates on the progress of the new automation features listed above in the seven months since this post and no indication that there is really much interest from Solarwinds in improving the product at all, aside from what appears to be the bare minimum necessary.

This software has much potential and has already saved us hundreds of hours in admin time, but it needs developer attention to keep up with competition in terms of functionality and usability. I have been using Patch Manager for over 4 years now, and as a customer every year my maintenance renewal date rolls around, I ask myself what I am paying for and whether it's worth it; and every year I feel a bit more hesitant.

I feel the same way as you. I came from an SMS/SCCM environment to this new job in 2013 where they used Patch Manager. In the 2.5 years I've been using the product I've seen very little in the way of new features being added. I'd love to see the reporting features completely revamped as the current system lacks many features, especially compared to something like SCCM. It can be very labor intensive to extract the data you need and present it in a report format, if you can get it at all. I'm sure there are other features that would be useful but I'd have to compare it to their competitors to see where it is lacking, but I just don't have time for that at the moment.

While I don't currently use this product I have considered looking at it as a potential replacement for my current system on several occasions; however, the two things that keep putting me off are the lack of updates I have seen to the product in addition to it's reliance on WSUS.

I love SolarWinds products and we use a ton of them; however, it seems like SW hasn't done much with this product since it's acquisition.

Are any of the features listed in this article being actively worked on? We are using this product but not being able to just patch a server until there are no patches left leaves a lot of manual effort to a patching process. I see that this feature is on the list...but there aren't a whole lot of updates going on here, which leaves us looking for replacements.

With the SolarWinds Agent in SAM 6.2, there are probably a lot of great ways Patch Manager could be better integrated into SolarWinds overall than it currently is. But I don't get the impression that the development of this product is very active.

We are getting to a point of needing to re-evaluate patching solutions and since we are a very heavy SolarWinds shop I would love to consider using this product (keep in in the SolarWinds family); however, I would really like to see a Product Manager comment here on the status and future of this product.  mrs.alterego​ I see you most recently updated this; are you the new PM for this and would you be able to comment?  Otherwise DanielleH​ would it be possible for you to ask the PM to comment?

Hi byrona​ - I am not the PM for Patch; however, Dani and I did reach out to the Patch PM so you should be hearing something soon.

You guys are awesome!  Thanks so much!

Hi byrona​, it's good to hear from you! I'm the PM for Patch Manager and will contact you shortly to discuss.

Nice information on Patch Management. Thx alot

Any chance on a update on the features listed in the road map?

  • Adding VMware Tools to our Third Party Updates
  • Providing an automated way to take snapshots as a part of your virtual system patching process (and revert if necessary)
  • Adding a mechanism to let you "patch until it's done" for new or behind systems, without having to take manual steps between reboots

All three would be amazing in our environment. Are they still actively being worked on? Patching is at the forefront of security audits, I'm surprised this product doesn't get more love.

VMWare Tools was added as a supported app; the other two are still feature requests.

Are there plans to merge the PM database with the Orion database? I have a requirement to run asset reports to include patching and other information which the default reporting under NPM doesn't allow me to do as I can't query external databases. If the patch database were merged I could at least report on that data, although I still really want to be able report on external databases.

Here is the link to the idea for reporting

https://thwack.solarwinds.com/ideas/7797

Still waiting for an update...  I too am trying to wait patiently on the features listed above.  Now we need support for Windows 2016 added to the mix!  Wonder if Microsoft's new patching model has changed the game?  

Full support for Windows 2016 will be available in the upcoming release.

Thanks for the quick response Ding.  I may have missed it somewhere, but is there an ETA on the upcoming release?  Thanks. 

Just saw this, so thought i'd mention:

Patch Manager 2.1.4 was released last week

Patch Manager Release Notes for version 2.1.4 - SolarWinds Worldwide, LLC. Help and Support

Thanks Kelly.  It looks like we gained Windows 2016 support, but unfortunately the other features are not there.  In particular we are very much looking for the automation of snapshots and "patch it till it's done" features. 

We recently started moving off Patch Manager to SCCM due to this feature not being available. It wastes too much of our time baby-sitting patching tasks to make sure all the patches get installed.

chadsikorra​ I am super depressed to hear that as we were considering looking at moving away from our current patch solution to Patch Manager.  If Patch Manager can't fire off patches on a schedule and requires a bunch of baby-sitting then it won't work for us. 

To be clear:  Patch Manager can fire off patches on a schedule.  That can be done for a specific set of updates or it could target a wider range of patches ("all needed approved updates" for example); both of those options can be targeted to a machine or a group and scheduled immediately or for a specific time, recurring or not.

The specific feature they are wanting (and I'd like to see it too!) is one that addresses the "i've patched and rebooted, and now there are X more patches showing as needed for that machine!" issue.    The Feature Request is for the Update Management Wizard task to be configurable to patch/reboot and then re-evaluate and do a 2nd/3rd/nth number of patch/reboot cycles until it no longer showed needed updates. 


Currently the closest that Patch Manager can get to that is that you can:

A) schedule independent Update Management Wizard tasks to get "all needed approved updates" but space them a bit apart so that the target machines will reboot after the first task is run and then the 2nd task will kick off a bit later at a different preset time.  If you're relatively up-to-date on patching, it usually won't take more than a couple of patching tasks to get a machine up to date.

or

B) schedule one Update Management Wizard task and configure it to recur hourly and stop recurring after 2 or 3 executions.   This isn't too much different than the other option except that you're just configuring one task instead of multiple tasks.  The other option, however, lets you be more specific with when the 2nd/3rd,etc... tasks are run.

kellytice​ Thanks for that clarification!  If we get closer to looking at getting Patch Manager would it be possible to schedule a phone call with you or somebody else there at SolarWinds to do a Tech Demo and see how it might fit our needs?

If you're evaluating a product, I'm certain your sales rep can nab an SE for a tech demo if you'd like one.   There is a decent chance that the nabbed SE will be me (though there are a few other SEs that know the product; it largely depends on what's open on the schedules).

When are these features due for general availability?

There has been movement here for a while, what's the latest on these roadmap features being implemented? When is the next version coming out? ding

Hi DanielleH I notice you have updated this page, but I don't see what has changed. Also are you able to provide details on when to expect the next release?

Thanks

Mike

Why do the product team refuse to update this page?

Is this product being actively developed at this point?  We have more and more MS Server 2016 VMs in our environment which is causing problems with Patch Manager.  A 'patch until its done' feature would be a huge time saver for us. 

I have logged this to our reseller to question the product team. I need to find out roadmap as we'll be looking to use server core and server 2019 next year.

I have seen no indication that there has been any significant development focus on this product for at least the past 5 years, and almost no development at all in the last 3. If you are hoping for any improvements in functionality, I wouldn't hold my breath. You may be better off looking for an alternative patch manager system. If you find a good one, I'd love to hear about it.

I've a RFI in with my resller so will post back here with what i get back.

**7/5/2019: Updated to include summaries of updates through version 2.1.7 (6/6/2019). Still no notable improvements, aside from adding support for technology that had been out for over a year**

Here's a short summary of the release note changes from the past 5 years of updates to Patch Manager. No new features in over 3 years. No significant updates in over 5. The product interface is virtually unchanged in the nearly 7 years since Solarwinds acquired the product from EminentWare at the beginning of 2012, and retains almost all of the UI bugs and quirks from version 1.72 (List of bugs and feature requests for Patch Manager 1.72), with only a few new features or notable improvements.

The last 3 years of releases have consisted almost exclusively of bug fixes and compatibility updates for new Windows editions (usually several months after general availability). Even the most recent "new feature", automatic 3rd party update publishing, way back in 2013 felt like an anemic attempt at new functionality, as it didn't (and I assume still doesn't) provide any way to manage those updates by version or edition.

2.1.7 (7/6/2019)

  • Run reports from Orion console
  • Integrate with Orion Platform 2019.2
  • Support for Microsoft Azure
  • Support Windows Server 2019 (wasn't this already included in 2.1.6, or did you jump the gun?)
  • Support SCCM 1810 (7 months after GA)

2.1.6 (12/4/2018)

  • New Feature: Support for remote Powershell scripts (WMI clients only)
  • Support for TLS v1.2
  • Support for:
    • SCCM 1806 (5 months after GA)
    • SQL Server 2016 Express SP1 (over 2 years after GA)
    • SQL server 2017 (14 months after GA)
    • Windows Server 2019 (2 months after GA. Good job!)

2.1.5 Hotfix 1 (6/14/2018)

  • Address issues collecting or displaying data on MAC addresses, Windows Firewall rules, Update history and Windows Update logs under certain conditions

2.1.5 (7/10/2018)

  • Add support for SCCM through version 1802 (released 03/22/2018)

2.1.4 (3/14/2017)

  • Add support for Windows Server 2016 (released 10/12/2016)
  • Add time zone options to approval
  • Some changes to dialog boxes and informational messages, installation and log file paths

2.1.3 (4/17/2017)

  • Integrate HA and licensing improvements from the Orion platform

2.1.2 (6/7/2016)

  • Numerous bug fixes
  • Add Windows 10 MMC support

2.1.1 (02/04/2016)

  • 4 bug fixes and a change to user detection and logging

2.1 (04/07/2015)

  • New Feature: Auto publishing of third party updates (but no rules system to manage product versions or editions)
  • Logging improvements
  • Support for Windows 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1
  • Enhancements to nofications
  • New Computer grouping options
  • Numerous bug fixes

2.0 (11/26/2013)

  • New Feature: Endpoint agents
  • New Feature: First Run Wizard
  • Improvements to install experience and OS support (compatibility with Windows 8, 8.1 and 2012)
  • Licensing improvements
  • Error message improvements
  • Numerous bug fixes

Came here looking for answers on how to get pre- and post-update powershell scripts to run. I wish I'd found this thread on Saturday morning, would have saved me 2 days of making it just about work before having to completely eliminate this as an option. (Also seriously, why is the first line in the configuration guide to ignore the Let's Get Started option in the program?)

The Patch Manager 2.1.6 Release Candidate is now available on the Customer Portal which includes the ability to run pre and post-update PowerShell scripts. You can provide any feedback you may have within the RC forum.

How long til it hits the trial? Dying to give it a go!

Good job team Dev.

Is patch to completion still in the roadmap? 

Also can PM either have full functionality in Orion or just leave it alone?  Please dont waste resources for PM dev on orion

We applied a patch in attempts to fix our ongoing issues with Patch Mgr and it crashed our entire Orion platform, 00210951. We had to restore the database from backup.

I really love this single-pane-of-glass approach but Patch Mgr is really trying to break me.

I've been interesting in trying PM, but these comments give me pause...what's the story with Patch Manager?

Anyone know how to provide patching for hosts that are in the DMZ? 

what-do-crickets-hear-in-silence.jpg

The Patch Manager 2.1.7 Release Candidate is now available on the Customer Portal. Head on over to the RC forum to see what's included: Patch Manager Release Candidate

Nice! I'm looking forward to running a trial of PM. It looks like our timeframe will probably line up with RTM.

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