Ecora Patch Manager
1,000 nodes at $17 per node
Agentless deployment and web access.
Patches have to initially come from Microsoft instead of a mirror.
Friendly interface makes this one of the easiest to use and deploy.
This company has become well known for its patch management product and this latest version continues to do a thorough job.
Although it is mainly aimed at Windows, the product will patch Sun Solaris systems as well. It also has support for SQL Server, Exchange, Office 2000/XP and IIS, to name but a few.
The interface is clearly laid out and pleasing to the eye. Buttons along the top guide the administrator to common tasks.
The process of scanning for computers is very intuitive and the agentless patch deployment saves administrators shoe leather as well as time.
We scanned our testbed of servers and computers in little time. Ecora Patch Manager stores details of computer hardware (inventory) in either an SQL Server database or in the MSDE database.
As with other patch management products in this group test, hardware can be grouped together for administration purposes, and patches can be rolled out in an appropriate manner.
The software downloads patches from Microsoft's website and stores them in a cache, or repository. What this boils down to is that, should many machines need the same patch, it only has to download the patch once from the website.
The rest can be installed from the repository. Naturally, this significantly speeds up the whole patching process.
There is also, as seen in other products tested in this group, a patch roll-back function in case there are clashes.
The interface lists computers in there various states, and the view can be filtered to show which machines require which patches.
Information on individual patches can be obtained via the interface. Not only can TechNet pages be viewed, there are also a number of other links administrators can look at to find out more on a particular patch.
The policy manager allows administrators to create general rules on how patches should be deployed and which groups of computers get patched.
We found it easy to create policies in the software.
Reporting is very good, although this requires installation on a Windows server running IIS.