The ability to share patching responsibilities among staff.
The most pleasing of agent-based packages to install.
SummaryLife was made easier by PatchLink Update's ability to configure the Internet Information Services (IIS) server and Microsoft Desktop Engine database, and also by the administrator's ability to share patching responsibilities.
Patchlink has a web browser interface and the site to support this is generated on the IIS server. This allows easier access, but emphasizes security to prevent unauthorized access. It also makes installation easier by bypassing the need to install a console on workstations.
Agents can be deployed using the supplied application or from a script and the clients do not require re-booting to start. When clients are detected, the server accesses Patchlink's server with a SSL link and downloads current patches. Downloading patches can be scheduled, but the subscription includes email updates to alert the administrator when a patch is available. This means urgent security patches can be accessed through any browser.
Each client is grouped according to its operating system and then machines sharing a patch policy should be grouped. Patchlink has put a lot of thought into its application and the administration interface is logical. Most operations can be completed in a few clicks.
The patches cover Microsoft applications and other key applications (like Adobe Acrobat). They are tested on over 250 configurations before distribution and include mixes of applications and different patched combinations. Even so, the company advises customers to test patches on their own configurations before deployment.
A nice touch is an email alerting service that is triggered if any client in a grouping has software or hardware added or removed. This allows the administrator to take action by replacing or removing software or moving the client to a new grouping. PatchLink offers client agents for Windows, Linux, Solaris and Novell NetWare.