LANDesk Patch Manager
Strengths: A provider with established credentials and customers in message filtering and policy management, and a great product.
Weaknesses: More important features have yet to roll out.
Verdict: Top-class filtering and policy management as a managed service.
This product can run on its own, but really comes into its own when integrated with Landesk’s other offerings. This mix and match approach offers an impressive degree of flexibility. But, for some, this level of choice might make the initial installation appear daunting.
There was no written documentation, not even a quick-start guide for this relatively complex application suite, but the firm’s website was very useful, and the menu-driven installation wizard from the product CD was very easy to navigate. There was also a useful selection of well-written, but very long, deployment and users’ guides on the CD.
For the test, we opted to install the Patch Manager as well as the Management Suite because it automatically installs with this top-level component, and only needs to be activated if required.
The server-based installation, as you might expect for a product with such powerful enterprise functionality, was quite complex and requires additional components. The set-up process checks if necessary elements are installed. Windows 2000 Server, Advanced Server or Windows 2003 Standard or Enterprise Server were the required operating systems.
The set-up application also checks for the presence of additional required components, including .NET Framework 1.1, a valid domain controller, database connectivity in the form of Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) 2.8 or higher, an installed IIS web server, ASP.NET. It also checks for any installed LANDesk Agents.
After deploying the Management Suite, we were able to set about deploying Patch Manager as an agent, and any combination of the extra modules, if required.
Users can download a current listing of the latest known security and patch content either manually or via a scheduled regular update task to occur at set times.
An impressive feature is the sheer number and variety of views that are available from the comprehensive management console. This helps to make this complex interface more user friendly by allowing users to drag and drop windows providing data on various system elements into the most useful configurations. Thus the process of determining exactly which machines need to be updated with which patches can be easily viewed.