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Microsoft taking steps to integrate WUS with Windows

(First of two parts. Click here to read part two.)

LAS VEGAS -- At the Microsoft Management Summit last week, Steve Anderson, Microsoft's director of Windows Server marketing, delivered some long-awaited details about the evolution of Software Update Services, which will now be known as Windows Update Services (WUS). In the first of a two-part interview, Anderson discusses the integration of WUS with Windows Server, and with third-party management platforms.

For more information

News from Microsoft Management Summit 2004

Microsoft's big SUS plans

Any ideas on how this will be implemented?
We haven't decided which way to go yet. One way we can do it is to have third parties publish to Microsoft, like we do with drivers today. But all drivers are not created equally today by third parties. We ensure that patches are standard -- that would be one way to do it.

Or, when WUS talks with Microsoft, there is that handshake and trust. We could give users a way to authorize it so it can talk with another source. But then they would be the ones taking the risk.

One reason we are involving third parties today with the WUS API is because they will help us figure that out. SMS has its view. We want to hear from others. The overarching view of patch management is a customer problem. We want to solve it from a Microsoft view, but we want others to help solve it, too. It is an industry problem, but it is acute on our platform. So you will open WUS up to content other than Microsoft?
We have to open up [WUS] so it can get at content other than Microsoft. Technologically, that is not difficult. But our biggest fear is having this infrastructure compromised by an exploit. The doomsday scenario is that the exploit gets distributed by a patch. The reason that WUS only talks to Microsoft is that we can guarantee the signatures and sign-offs. How we implement updating third parties, Siebel, Oracle, etc., is something we are just starting to embark on now. We won't get it done until around 2006.

There is also an API in WUS that lets either SMS or a third-party control what WUS does but won't allow you to enter in content. Think about it this way: WUS has a user interface (UI). The API lets it programmatically be sucked into another console. Someone, like [IBM] Tivoli, can decide that they want to use WUS in a separate infrastructure, and not want their customers to know it is separate. They can integrate it into the UI with this API. What they can't do is put new content into that infrastructure. What's the timeline for integrating the two?
It will be in two phases. The first phase will be later this year, when WUS and SMS Service Pack 1 will be available. There will be a consistent catalog across WUS and SMS. And anything SMS can do, any third party can do.

The next phase is further out into 2006. This is when SMS will use WUS as its primary scanning and distribution engine. What has to happen between now and then is maybe SMS, or any other vendor, would have to develop an interface to WUS. Will WUS come out as a feature pack?

[2006] is when SMS will use WUS as its primary scanning and distribution engine.

Steve Anderson, Windows Server marketing director

If you had asked me six months ago, I would have said [it would be part of] Longhorn. But now, with other releases potentially happening, we could choose to put it in [a feature pack]. But the key thing is that the public knows it's available, it's a feature of Windows Server, and it's free. How is Microsoft changing the path of its basic patch management tool?
You have Windows Update, Windows Server -- which is WUS, or SUS 1.0. I think of it as Windows Server because they are [separate] today but meant to be part of Windows Server. [The two] will be integrated in the future.

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