BigFix is unique in our testing thus far in that its core patching functionality is an integrated part of a larger framework focused on all aspects of endpoint security and management. This framework, the BigFix Enterprise Suite, can include IT policy management and BigFix's own antivirus product as well as the patching functionality tested. Not surprisingly, that makes for a more complex user interface than we've seen in pure patch management products. It took us some time to get a handle on BigFix's modus operandi, but once we did, we found the interface and operations fairly straightforward.
BigFix is a complete endpoint management system that can be used to patch and control all aspects of your heterogeneous environment.
BigFix is the first product tested that can go beyond patch management. Like most rivals, it does require agents, but we were pleased with its cross-platform support. We've previously reviewed Shavlik, which, while polished, focuses only on Windows environments, and the cross-platform but pricey Lumension PatchLink .
For large enterprise organizations, BigFix can really deliver on help management Unix, Linux and Windows environments in a physical--or virtual--environment.
BixFix relies on "sites" for each type of technology you're managing, for example, Solaris or Windows. Sites are bundled into Solution Packs grouped to support the various roles BigFix can play. While each pack comes with a number of sites, you can choose to install only the sites necessary for a particular environment, limiting the resources needed for downloading and storing patching information.
Each site contains "fixlets," BigFix's name for the packages containing the patches, applications, or policies it can deploy. Most of the functionality BigFix Enterprise Suite provides is tied to fixlets, and the term is nearly ubiquitous.
Big on Windows