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Customers shouldn't have to pay for patching, MS says

(Second of two parts. Click here to read part one.)

LAS VEGAS -- At the Microsoft Management Summit last week, Steve Anderson, Microsoft's director of Windows Server marketing, delivered some long-awaited details on the evolution of Software Update Services, which will now be known as Windows Update Services (WUS). In the second installment of a two-part interview, Anderson discussed why the beta for SUS 2.0 was delayed and how the free utility fits into Microsoft's overall patch management strategy.

How does the WUS version of patch management compare with what Systems Management Server is doing?
Windows Update is for consumers, single nodes and other people with simple environments. When your environment is more complex, that's where SUS comes in, and now WUS will be an improvement to SUS. WUS is a solution and an infrastructure that lets me have a dialogue with SMS.

So WUS is for that relatively simple IT environment. It's hard to define 'simple,' but it speaks to small businesses and enterprises that have stable and simple configurations. For instance, it might work for an accounting firm that has consultants with clients and servers that don't change much.

Our overall strategy is to have Windows Server offer the core. And WUS is the next evolution that improves on that. The schematic is drawn where SMS is on top of that and [is] one [and] the same. So SMS uses Windows Server as its distribution engine. That's not the case today. They are separate. So the feature set for WUS, or SUS 2.0, has not been changed?
Those features are on track. [Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer 2.0] will be the scanning engine. [Third-party provider] Shavlik is out. We will continue to work with [Shavlik] on MBSA 1.2. But on [2.0], which we will release the same time as WUS, we will give it a consistent scanning experience.

When we took the strategy that this will be a core Windows component, we had to rebuild the scanning engine. Of course, we have to do it with Microsoft technology. Will WUS remain a free utility?

For more information

News from Microsoft Management Summit 2004

Microsoft taking steps to integrate WUS with Windows

We believe that customers shouldn't have to pay for basic patch management. That is why it's going to be a core component of the OS, and we will continue to evolve it and not charge for it.
[Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer] 1.2 will be the scanning engine [for WUS]. Shavlik is out.

Steve Anderson,

Windows Server

Marketing director,
Has Microsoft changed its SUS strategy only recently? Is that why the SUS, or WUS, beta has been pushed back so many times?
The biggest change was the decision to get XP Service Pack 2 out of the door on time. In XP SP2, we updated the auto-update function, which is the Windows Update Services client. It will let consumers choose to let Microsoft update them automatically in the background.

The SUS team is responsible for creating improvements in our client. So we could have made the decision to do that and cut features in SUS 2.0 [WUS]. But the features for WUS are still the same. The first delay around the overwhelming response to the beta program.

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