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Microsoft's Management Solution Still Years Away

Unfortunately, DSI will offer only limited help for desktop administrators who must patch and upgrade software before the next decade. But there is some good news for these admins now. At its annual Management Summit last month, Microsoft showcased the first release of its WUS (Windows Update Services), an improved version of its SUS (Software Update Services), which will help automate patch deployments and software updates in Windows environments (see cover story, for more on patch management and Microsoft's role).

WUS--which is supposed to rhyme with "bus," though many summit attendees were heard using a less flattering pronunciation-- can update more Windows apps and provide greater administrative control than SUS 2.0, which was launched last year. Now in beta and available as a free add-on, WUS will be Windows Server's update-management component.

But real change is still a good way off. SUS and WUS have yet to unseat Microsoft's own SMS (Systems Management Server), much less the wide array of third-party software-distribution tools. And since WUS works only for Windows apps, it doesn't begin to solve patch-management problems in environments that include Unix or Linux.