Shavlik NetChk Protect 7.2
Strengths: Excellent product with a fantastic feature set.
Weaknesses: Minor tweaks during initial setup; relegated only to Windows-based hosts.
Verdict: Overall this is an excellent product and we grant NetChk Protect our Best Buy of the month.
SummaryShavlik NetChk Protect 7.2 is an enterprise patch management solution based on a client-server architecture. NetChk Protect manages Microsoft Windows-based assets and connects to the endpoints through either an agent (pull) or agent-less (push) architecture within the environment. Using Windows Management
Instrumentation (WMI) and other networking components, NetChk reports on and remediates assets based on missing patches, non-compliance with security templates or even customized policies. The solution is typically installed on a Windows 2008 server and uses MS SQL as its backend database.
We encountered a few small roadblocks when attempting to install our version of the product. One small hurdle was the fact that some installation tasks lack a status bar or general feedback with regard to whether or not a function has completed. A separate and interesting minor tweak had us editing the registry in order for our test server to properly connect with Shavlik's remote servers.
Despite minor challenges with the setup, the product is definitely impressive. The initial interface seemed intuitive and after a few minutes it becomes clear how the information is organized. There are initial dashboard views that provide an executive summary of the status of your assets, as well as several ways to view the overall organization (based on patches, machine groups, etc.). The console itself is easy to use and discovery and management of assets was fairly straightforward as well. The central database uses standardized XML for its repository of patches, as well as various configuration standards, which can be deployed to ranges of IP addresses or integrated Active Directory groups.
Additionally, machines can be protected with anti-virus using a local agent installed on every client with no additional costs or licenses. Machines can also be inventoried through a periodic scan of the network to report on rogue or non-compliant machines which may not have an agent installed. We became acclimated to the administrative tasks quite quickly, and were able to start managing assets, deploying custom templates and running meaningful reports.
The documentation for this solution is contained in an indexed help section within the interface itself. The support site offers an online knowledge base and FAQ section as well, and Shavlik offers many different types of support packages.