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Microsoft Does SMS 2.0 Value Pack, Software Update Services

The Get Secure, Stay Secure initiative at Microsoft spawned two new methods for keeping enterprises up to date on Microsoft hotfixes and service packs.

This week at the Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas, Microsoft officials detailed the “Systems Management Server 2.0 Value Pack” and a separate “Software Update Services” for customers not using SMS or Active Directory.

The SMS Value Pack is a suite of add-ons for the three-year-old SMS 2.0 product. Microsoft this week unveiled the branding for the next version, SMS 2003, that will focus on bringing mobile-client and Active Directory support to SMS. “But there are features we realized were not necessarily dependent on the features in SMS 2003,” says Michael Emanuel, senior product manager for Microsoft’s management business group.

The value pack represents a scaled-back version of the Web-based reporting to come in SMS 2003, which goes into beta testing this summer. “It’s a group of reports that will tell you exactly the state of your service packs, your [Quick Fix Engineering] patch state on your Windows operating system and your Office applications,” Emanuel says.

The product connects the report to the SMS 2.0 console, guides the administrator through downloading the fixes across the firewall from the Microsoft download point, and helps the administrator package the updates into a single SMS job, which can then be targeted against vulnerable systems identified in the original reports.

“This is all about the ability to act at speed accurately and precisely to get people up to operate at the correct levels of security on Windows and Office,” Emanuel says.

The Software Update Services is a subset of the SMS 2.0 Value Pack for companies that aren’t using SMS or Active Directory. A utility sitting inside the firewall allows administrators to connect to the Microsoft download point; view, select and download critical patches; and perform limited targeting, Emanuel says. “We want to keep it, at least for now, very closed, very tightly associated with security,” he says.

Both pieces are expected to be available for download from Microsoft shortly.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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