Pick your patch management product -- admins enjoy choices

Matthew A. DeBellis, News Writer

Administrators often grouse that certain aspects of Windows management get the short shrift from vendors.

Thankfully, patch management is not one of those shafted aspects.

Software companies continue to shape strategies, build software and strike partnerships -- all aimed at administrators who are overwhelmed by software patches and application updates. And administrators continue to look for third-party vendor help in packaging and distribution of applications and patches.

"The timeline for the release of these products is much more rapid today," said Robert Sandri, senior network consultant at Association Technologies Inc., a systems integrator based in Rosemont, Ill. "Patch management is the great task."

Analysts said that customers certainly appreciate the risks associated with not applying the growing platoon of patches. "Patch management is an area in which manual approaches have no chance of being effective," said Ronni Colville, an analyst at Stamford, Conn.-based research firm Gartner Inc., in a March research report.

Sandri is an example of an administrator who routinely changes vendors in search of a favorite patch management application. He has worked with ZENworks for Desktops by Novell Inc., Systems Management Server (SMS) by Microsoft Corp., and Wise Package Studio by Wise Solutions Inc. Sandri recently switched to AdminStudio by InstallShield Software Corp. Its latest version, AdminStudio 5.0, is easier to use than Wise Package Studio, Sandri

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A few patch management vendors have been making noise lately to nab the attention of admins:

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