by February 22, 2006 0 comments



Patch management has become an area of concern for both
SMBs and enterprises, given the crazy number of updates and patches being
continually developed by vendors to improve their solutions. Most network
administrators would know the chaos resulting from the release of a new critical
patch. This process is being partially automated with the help of a new genre of
tools called patch management software. PatchQuest is one such patch management
software for enterprises and SMBs that frees administrators from manually
managing patches for their existing Windows/Linux installations. You can
download its 30-days trail version from AdventNet’s website. There’s even a
free edition available, which can manage up to 10 computers. This one doesn’t
provide any technical support though. The software works on all versions of
Windows starting from NT Server and Workstation to Windows 2003 Server and XP
professional. On the Linux front support is provided for Red Hat and Debian. It
needs a system with P4 1.8 GHz and at least 512 MB RAM. Plus, it needs 10 MB
free hard drive space for installation and at least 10 GB for the database of
patches it will maintain. Turning off the firewall during installation and first
run is recommended to avoid niggles. After that you have to configure the
firewall to allow full access to this application. Once installed, you can
access the application from a Web browser.

Price:

Annual subscription of Rs 13,500 for 100 systems; Rs 1,35,000 for 1000 systems. Installation and training fee extra
Meant
For:
SMBs, enterprises
Key
Specs:
Centralized management, remote scanning and deployment, scheduled deployment 
Pros: Can categorize patches in groups and apply them to pre-defined groups of systems
Cons: Manual agent deployment
Contact:
AdventNet, ChennaiTel:
22431115
E-mail: sales@adventnet.com
RQS# E26 or SMS 132602 to 9811800601

The software is limited by domain and workgroup
permissions, which means that you have to edit the permissions to allow full
access control level to the administrator of the Domain before you try to use
the Web Console for patch management. On the home page of the web console you
will find a list of all the latest patches by Microsoft along with their
severity.

However, the product does not automatically detect most of
the network information so you have to provide the information for systems to be
managed manually. We found that after downloading and installing the software
you will have to download the Patch Quest Agent separately from the Web console.
Although there’s a link for deploying patches to clients, there’s no link to
deploy the agent itself to the clients. It provides different links for
deploying patches and service packs. There are two actions associated with every
patch. The download action simply downloads the patch for later deployment.
Deploy action downloads the patch if it has not been downloaded and then
installs it on a client or the server itself as chosen.

In this page, you can add new clients of your existing Windows or Linux domain which are to be managed by PatchQuest

A good feature in the software is that you can create
groups of systems as well as groups of patches. You can then decide which group
of patches to deploy to which group of systems. The software can send a warning
message to the user about when the patch will be installed, and close any open
applications if a patch installation requires rebooting the machine. You can
also intimate all clients about patch deployments via emails. However, there is
no option for deploying patches for third-party applications, which is a feature
that’s available in some other similar products.

Bottom Line: Overall, a
pretty good choice to track patches and updates for the machines on your
network.

Anadi Misra

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