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Announcing the official release of Patch Manager v1.8

Level 17

Today I am happy to announce the general availability of Patch Manager v1.8. All current Patch Manager customers under active maintenance can download the upgrade immediately through their customer portal.

What's new in Patch Manager

  • Most notable in this release, which we've been discussing since June in this Product Blog, is the integration with the Configuration Manager 2012 console for third-party update management and the client management toolset.
  • The other significant component of this release is the addition of a web console as part of the SolarWinds Orion family of products. Take a look at the web console in this online demo.
  • For those of you involved in package creation, particularly with our PackageBoot functionality, you'll be happy to see the new PackageBoot Graphical Editor, which will eliminate the need to edit the PackageBoot.XML file manually, plus we've enhanced the capabilities of PackageBoot to do even more than before.

The product also rolls up a number of incremental changes that have been made over the past six months:

  • Integration with the SolarWinds Customer Portal providing self-service product activation codes
  • Removal of activation codes for secondary application servers
  • Change of authentication methodology from LogOnInteractive to LogOnAsBatch, which eliminates UAC complications
  • Certificate enhancements in preparation for KB2661254
  • Upgrade of certificates to 2048 bits

For new installations, we've added the third-party update wizards to the auto-launch sequence that runs after the first console launch, and we now give you the option to not auto-deploy the WMI Providers on first-use, protecting your systems from accidental unwanted software installations.

System Center Configuration Manager 2012 console integration

Configuration Manager 2012 Console - 3rd Party Updates View.png

All of the third-party updates functionality is now available directly from the Software Library page of the Configuration Manager console. Drilling into the Third-Party Updates node, we provide a handy filter list by synchronization date, so you can quickly get to this week's updates, or this month's updates, and no longer have to filter through the hundreds of legacy packages you may no longer need. Within the update view, the same multi-pane navigation that you are already familiar with is still used, with the dynamically generated vendor subnodes. Selecting the Sun node, for example, allows you to focus directly on the latest Java update packages. All package functionality is available from the context menu, or from the ribbon bar at the top of the console.

On the Asset & Compliance page, in the Devices node, we've integrated all of the client monitoring and management functionality: Client Actions, Agent Configuration, and the Computer Explorer.

Configuration Manager 2012 Console - Client Tools.png

Patch Manager Web Console

Patch Manager Web Console - Summary.pngPatch Manager Web Console - WSUS Client Info.pngPatch Manager Web Console - Update Details.png

Brand new functionality in the form of a web interface will be very useful for getting quick looks at the state of your environment, or for sharing information with managers, executives, or other system administrators, but eliminating the need to create, schedule, and distribute reports. The Home Page of the web console shows a user-customizable view of important patch management status information, and each update or computer item can be drilled into via hyperlink to get detailed per-update or per-computer status information.

PackageBoot Graphical Editor

Patch Manager PackageBoot Editor.png

One of the most powerful tools in Patch Manager is PackageBoot. Unfortunately, though, until now it's also been one of the most complicated to use. Nobody likes editing XML by hand, and nobody should have to know and understand an XML schema just to use the functionality it provides. We heard you loud and clear and this release introduces the PackageBoot Graphical Editor. Now, rather than focusing on the how something gets done (and fighting with the predictable syntax errors), you can focus on the what that needs to get done.

Addiitionally we've enhanced the operational functionality within PackageBoot.

  • We've added the ability to configure the service startup options. Previously you could stop or start a service, now you can disable it, set it to manual, or ensure it's set to automatic.
  • Previously an event could only trigger a stop or continue action when encountering a failure; now you can also configure a failed event to skip ahead to the postexecution phase. For example, if you're unable to stop a service, terminate a process, or unlock a file, you can skip over the attempt to install the update, and just do the cleanup.
  • We've extended the ability to run local programs (e.g. WUSA, CScript) into the pre-execution phase, and the ability to terminate processes and manage file locks into the postexecution phase.

And more new resources!

Finally, we've been hard at work developing a new series of product videos

and a few of the older popular ones are now available on the Thwack Patch Manager Resource Library along with a brand new Patch Manager Administration Guide on the Patch Manager Documentation webpage that consolidates everything you need or want to know about Patch Manager into a single document.

We've added two content exchanges to allow us all to collaborate on report templates and update packages.

We also recently launched a new community for patch administrators everywhere.. checkout the new PatchZone.

For more information about Patch Manager, or to download a free 30-day evaluation, see the Patch Manager page.

About the Author
I'm a Head Geek and technical product marketing manager at SolarWinds. I wrote my first computer program in RPG-II in 1974 to calculate quadratic equations and tested it on some spare weekend cycles on an IBM System/3 that I ‘borrowed’ from my father’s employer. After that I dabbled, studied, and actually programmed in just about every language known for the past 40 years; worked on a half-dozen different variants of Unix on 3B2s, RS6000s, HP9000s, Sparc workstations, and Intel systems; connected to CompuServe on a 300 baud modem; ran a FidoNet BBS on OS/2 on a 9600 bps modem; and started working with Windows when Windows NT4 was still the latest operating system. Along the way, I did a few years in database programming and database administration. I installed some of the first ADSL and SDSL Internet circuits in Texas, and then migrated into full-time Windows systems management, which had a lot to do with my interest in SUS and WSUS 10 years ago. This ultimately led me to EminentWare in 2009, and SolarWinds three years later.