Spending Big Bucks for NT Patches? Shavlik Can Help You Scan
- By Scott Bekker
Shavlik Technologies is going public with a very high-end patch management
offering for the most select of Windows customers -- those who have already
shelled out a reputed $200,000 or more to Microsoft for a Custom Support Agreement
for Windows NT 4.0.
The Microsoft Custom Support Agreement (CSA) is the official end-around to
the Microsoft's support deadlines of June 30, 2004 for Windows NT 4.0 Workstation
and Dec. 31, 2004 for Windows NT 4.0 Server. In cases where customers can prove
to Microsoft's satisfaction that they're planning migrations to Windows Server
2003, Microsoft will
agree to provide custom security patches for "important" and "critical"
security vulnerabilities affecting the aging platform. This program is supposed
to be available through the end of 2006.
Given the price tag, the program tends to appeal only to huge organizations
running important applications on Windows NT.
Shavlik, whose HFNetChkPro patch management application scans the network for
systems that need patches, has been working with one CSA customer since the
Windows NT 4.0 Workstation deadline a year ago. Shavlik creates patch signatures
that allow the customer, a financial institution, to scan the network for systems
that require the patch.
"On patch day, that customer will send us their private NT 4 patches that they've
received from Microsoft," says Eric
Schultze, chief security architect at Shavlik. Schultze adds that the customer
had to send Shavlik a letter verifying that Microsoft had granted permission
to forward the patches. "We parse open the patches, then we add those patch
details to our XML file for that customer. The normal XML files I post [for
all Shavlik customers] would be absent this patch." Shavlik distributes its
patch signatures and other patch information in public XML files that can be
read by HFNetChkPro and customized by users.
So far, Shavlik's customer base for the specialized service has grown to eight
organizations, with customers ranging from global system integrators to financial
institutions to commercial companies.
"Without doing anything, we've had these eight customers. Now that we're promoting
this program, this thing could grow larger," Schultze said.
Schultze hastens to add that Shavlik's program doesn't offer a back-door way
to obtain Microsoft's pricey NT 4.0 patches. Once Shavlik extracts the details
needed to scan for the patches, Shavlik deletes the patches and does not redistribute
To be eligible for the Shavlik program, customers must be up to date on their
Shavlik maintenance fees and must prove they have entered a CSA with Microsoft.
Shavlik charges an additional $25,000 to its customers for the service. Alternatively,
Shavlik customers can buy the service on a patch-by-patch basis for $1,000 each.
Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.