Product Information

St. Bernard UpdateEXPERT

starstarstarstar

April 11, 2005
Website:

http://www.stbernard.com

Price

$5,460 for up to 500 machines incl. year subscription

RATING BREAKDOWN

  • Features:
    starstarstarstar
  • Ease of Use:
    starstarstar
  • Performance:
    starstarstarstar
  • Documentation:
    starstarstar
  • Support:
    starstarstarstar
  • Value for Money:
    starstarstarstar
  • Overall Rating:
    starstarstarstar

QUICK READ

  • Strengths:

    Supports Windows, Solaris, Unix, and Linux.

  • Weaknesses:

    Less flexible profile handling.

  • Verdict:

    Support for multiple operating systems is good, but the management could be improved.

The UpdateEXPERT helps you manage patches for Windows, Unix, Solaris and Red Hat Linux.

However, the focus of support is clearly with Microsoft products – Solaris and Red Hat support is limited to OS patches, while Windows support extends to applications including SQL Server and IIS.

Installation can be as simple as installing the console and using RPC to scan remote PCs for patches. But St. Bernard also supplies agents for Windows computers. For larger networks, this is likely to be a better option.

The management interface is not the best we have seen. The cluttered display does not help either, and it takes a while to get used to how the system works.

The left-hand panel displays a list of machines on the network, which you can browse by workgroup, Active Directory and Unix. You can also create custom groups of machines.

Finally, you can create automatically generated profiles of machines based on their OS, service packs and patches. While it is a useful alternative grouping, we would also have liked a way of generating a list of machines that do not match a profile, to see which PCs need updating.

Scans, particularly when using the agent software, are fast and effective. The results, however, take some sorting through. By default, the display pane shows, for the selected machine, all of the information including installed patches. It even shows patches for applications that are not installed, and which are not applicable to a PC – our XP Pro PC showed it was missing some SQL server updates, which you cannot install.

A better way of working is to change the view to the database of patches and select which ones are required to be installed. From the machine view, you can simply view all required patches, which makes deployment easier.

Selecting the patches you want is made easier with web links. Selecting an entry opens the information web page, so selecting a Microsoft patch loads the corresponding Knowledge Base article.

With good deployment tools to reduce the number of reboots necessary, UpdateEXPERT's multiple OS support is bound to get attention, although the UI could be tidier to make it easier to deploy patch groups.

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