Network Computing Review of Patch Management Products

Connect with Contributing Editor Greg Shipley as he begins testing for his upcoming comparative review of patch management products.Check out the test plan and product requirements.

February 13, 2004

1 Min Read
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Evaluation Particulars

Network Computing will be conducting a comparative review of Patch Management products for our April 1, 2004, issue. Testing will take place in our Syracuse Real World labs.

What Do We Consider Appropriate for This Review?
We are considering products that offer the ability to deploy patches for Windows platforms (2000, NT, XP, etc.) in an enterprise environment. Vendors with products that have cross-platform patching functionality may be participants as long as one of the supported platforms is Windows.

To be qualified for this review products must: a) have patch "roll-back" functionality; b) have methods for "rate-limiting" patch deployments to control bandwidth consumption; and c) be priced under $50k (US) for 1,000 workstations and 20 servers.

Real-World Labs Testing ScenarioAll product testing is conducted under real-world conditions. We will judge products based on the following criteria:Product Architecture (distribution mechanisms, intrusiveness to the environment, reliability, features and flexibility)Administration / User InterfaceRequired Deployment OverheadReportingPrice

Product testing is head-to-head to compare how effectively each product addresses enterprise patching challenges. Our testing scenario is as follows: We will deploy each product in a mixed (but controlled) environment of Windows 2000, NT and XP systems that are operating at various patch levels. Each of the target platforms will be imaged and "reset" after each product evaluation to the base image. Resetting will ensure that each product is exposed to the EXACT same environment. We will deploy the patching products on standalone server(s) and use the test networks to measure the product's ability to meet our criteria. Should we encounter any problems with any of the products we will contact the vendor to attempt to resolve the issue.

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