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Introduction to Patch Manager

Product Manager

In case you haven’t heard, Solarwinds recently acquired a company called Eminentware that provided a set of products for patch management.  Prior to the acquisition, Eminentware sold three extension packs for Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), and 3rd Party Updates.  Now that Eminentware is a proud new member of the Solarwinds family, we’ve combined all three extension packs into a single product called Patch Manager.  This means that you can now buy a single Solarwinds product for patching in your WSUS environment, SCCM, or Windows-based 3rd party applications like Adobe or Java.

The real value of Patch Manager is the ability to streamline the arduous process of ensuring the applications in your environment are up to date with the latest patches.  This is particularly important from a security perspective, as many hacks out in the wild exploit known security vulnerabilities in older versions of software.  Making sure your environment is up to date with the latest patches and security updates ensures your environment is less susceptible to attacks and exploits from hackers.  Patch Manager not only streamlines the process of deploying the latest patches, but it also gives you a great deal of visibility into that status of your environment in terms of which machines need to be patched, and which machines are at greatest risk.

You’re going to ask, if I already have WSUS or SCCM, why do I need Patch Manager?  Patch Manager was purposefully built on top of these existing solutions to provide much greater control and flexibility in terms of how patches are deployed and where critical updates are needed in your environment.  While WSUS or SCCM will tell you which patches are available, they’re not going to give any visibility into where those patches need to be deployed in your environment.  Patch Manager gives you the ability to build complex, multi-step workflows around how patches are deployed, including the ability to schedule patches around maintenance windows or times that won’t impact end users of the systems being patched.   

Patch Manager also gives you the ability to patch Windows-based 3rd party applications like Adobe Reader, Flash, and Java.  Given the variance of these applications in terms of how they’re deployed, what the prerequisites are, and the frequency in which updates are released, ensuring they’re up to date can be prohibitively time consuming without the proper tools.  Patch Manager’s Package Boot technology makes this much easier and greatly simplifies the process of building and deploying patches for 3rd party applications.

Check out the video below for a quick tour of the product.  You can also read more about how Patch Manager works with WSUS, SCCM, and its ability to patch 3rd party updates. Pricing starts at $1195 for 100 nodes; get a quote for your environment here. As usual, you can try before you buy.   Download a trial version here and let us know what you think.

Level 8

I've got a fairly basic question about the best PM design for our particular setup - is there a forum here I can ask people about it, or would it be best to just take the question to support?


Product Manager
Product Manager

You bet.  The Patch Manager forums are here:

Level 8

Thanks Craig, I've got a post up there asking for advice about oir deployment plans. Still finding my way around thwack!

About the Author
Let me introduce myself.  My name is Craig McDonald, and I come from the land of video games and stock trading, sprinkled with identity management, and, by the way, I like to write.  Checkered past, you say?  How did you end up in network management, you ask?  Perfectly valid questions; I will connect the dots for you and it will all make sense shortly. I studied journalism at the University of Texas at Austin where I had the opportunity to write for The Daily Texan and Texas Monthly.  Upon graduation I was faced with two options: move to a small town and start my career at an even smaller newspaper, or make a home in Austin and see where this crazy tech town would take me.  I chose the latter, and ended up working in support and managing QA for a popular MMORPG called Ultima Online (this was before WoW was a sparkle in Blizzard's eye). After a few years of policing the haXXorZ, overseeing a few in-game weddings, and shipping several expansion skus, I decided it was time for a change.  I remember the advice from one of my journalism professors when I asked about pursuing a graduate degree; his suggestion, "Go to business school!"  I heeded his advice, got accepted to the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, and started working on my MBA. While finishing my MBA at McCombs, I was presented with an opportunity to work for a company that developed online trading software (Charles Schwab, formerly CyberTrader).  This may seem a stretch from video games, but the client/server infrastructure and the uptime requirements for an MMORPG and a securities trading engine are quite similar.  Although the content and use cases are obviously very different, both require fast connections and the ability to allow users to log into the service at any time.  My next career move was into the enterprise software arena where I worked as a product manager for Sun Microsystems in the Identity Management space. Fast forward to today, I'm your newest product manager at SolarWinds.  I will be managing Toolset, VoiP, and eventually the Kiwi products.  Outside of the SolarWinds 'Borg' (assimilation is swift and definitive), I keep busy with my lovely wife, two beautiful kiddos, and a pug named Marley.  When they go to bed, I'm either watching a movie, reading a book (working on Atlas Shrugged, and it is work, indeed), or staring at the red circle of death on my XBOX 360.