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Beta for SUS 2.0 utility proves elusive

Creating a test version of Software Update Services 2.0 is taking Microsoft longer than expected. There are signs, however, that Redmond is close to finishing work on the free patch management tool.

The beta program for one of Microsoft's patch management tools is taking a lot longer to pull together than the company had anticipated.

The trial program for Software Update Services 2.0, a free utility that comes bundled with Windows Server, was delayed from its September target release date. Now, a January release that was predicted in the fall by Steve Anderson, a director in Windows Server product marketing group, has slipped as well.

Microsoft has refused recently to talk to the media about the beta for SUS 2.0, but there may be new information coming soon. Some customers received an invitation from Microsoft to a Feb. 12 briefing on SUS 2.0 at the company's San Francisco Bay area campus.

Microsoft decided it's a critical tool, and they want to get it right.
Unnamed analyst,

SUS 2.0 has been highly anticipated. In a previous interview, Anderson said that an informal beta was delayed because response to the initial program was so overwhelming that Microsoft decided to prepare a more formal test program. Previously, Microsoft said it expected a final version of SUS 2.0 to be available sometime in mid-2004.

Users and analysts have said privately that the delays may have to do with the fact that the technology now has to interoperate with many more platforms. Creating that kind of interoperability takes time.

"SUS is not standalone," said one analyst who asked not to be named. "Microsoft decided it's a critical tool, and they want to get it right."

Anderson said last fall that 500,000 customers had downloaded SUS 1.0. The new version will be able to patch Microsoft platforms other than Windows. The utility will also include some reporting features, so that when patches are deployed, IT administrators will be alerted that the installations were successful.


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