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Shavlik Blasts Patch Management Into the Cloud

Patch-management pioneer and long-time Microsoft partner Shavlik Technologies LLC revealed this week new cloud offerings that the company will use to distribute patch data and IT-management applications rapidly to customers.

Shavlik Technologies is introducing two cloud platforms: PatchCloud and OpsCloud. PatchCloud is a Web-based distribution method that can send patch data to millions of endpoints in minutes. It uses Shavlik Technologies' NetPt agent, which is part of the company's NetChk line of applications, and also integrates with Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, VMware's Update Manager and VMware Go platforms.

OpsCloud, which shares an underlying technology infrastructure with PatchCloud, offers SMBs cloud access to a range of IT-management applications. The new platform's Web site (IT.shavlik.com) gives IT pros access to apps that handle asset management, software management and patch management, among other capabilities. The site also offers access to the VMware Go platform, which IT pros can use to deploy, migrate and manage ESXi virtual environments.

Mark Shavlik, CEO of Shavlik Technologies, said that the new platforms are ideally suited for companies that have hybrid cloud and on-premises environments -- which, at this point, includes just about every company that has any cloud-based infrastructure at all.

After some initial hesitation about creating cloud-based platforms, Shavlik came to see the advantages of cloud development: "I didn't think [the cloud] was right for us," Shavlik said in an in-person interview. "What convinced me was how rapidly we could innovate because of it. We can respond to the market very quickly."

For instance, he said, the new cloud platforms aid customers with deployment. Companies have long had issues setting up Web servers to use Shavlik Technologies' applications -- problems the company simply can't solve for every customer it has, Shavlik said.

But with the cloud, issues with Web servers disappear: "I can't fly a person around to set up a Web server" for every customer, Shavlik said. But now, he noted, "The cloud does that for them. Deployment efficiencies are important." Shavlik added that while a deployment might take a year on-premises, a similar deployment takes just six weeks in the cloud.

In creating PatchCloud and OpsCloud, Shavlik Technologies didn't just port its on-premises application to a cloud-based platform. The company actually built its cloud platforms from the ground up -- and separately from its on-premises offerings, Shavlik said.

Shavlik estimated that cloud development is a process that takes 18 months to 3 years. "For the first six months, you debate whether it's right or wrong and fight the forces of old school," he said. After that, Shavlik said, vendors need 18 to 24 months to figure out "how [they're] going to do it."

Shavlik has brought on a new team of developers into his company of about 100 employees for the cloud effort, he said. He expressly instructed his new charges not to build cloud versions of the company's existing technologies but to come up with completely new ideas. His only rule, Shavlik said, was: "We can do anything we want except what we already do."          

About the Author

Lee Pender is the executive features editor of Redmond magazine. You can reach him at lpender@redmondmag.com or follow him on Twitter.

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