Shavlik NetChk Protect 7.2
Strengths: Excellent product with a fantastic feature set
Weaknesses: Minor tweaks during initial setup. Relegated only to Windows-based hosts
Verdict: Overall this is an excellent product and we award it our Best Buy
Shavlik NetChk Protect is an enterprise patch management solution based on a client-server architecture. It manages Microsoft Windows-based assets and connects to the endpoints through either an agent (pull) or agent-less (push) architecture within the environment.
Using Windows management instrumentation and other networking components, NetChk reports on and remediates assets based on missing patches, non-compliance with security templates or even customised policies. It is typically installed on a Windows 2008 server and uses MS SQL as its backend database.
We encountered a few small problems when attempting to install the product. One was that some installation tasks lack a status bar, or general feedback as to whether or not a function has completed. A separate and interesting tweak had us editing the registry in order for our test server to connect properly with Shavlik's remote servers.
Despite minor challenges with the setup, the product is impressive. The interface seemed intuitive. There are dashboard views that provide an executive summary of the status of your assets, as well as several ways to view the overall organisation.
The console is easy to use and both discovery and management of assets was straightforward. The central database uses standardised XML for its repository of patches and configuration standards, which can be deployed to ranges of IP addresses or integrated Active Directory groups.
Machines can be protected with AV using a local agent installed on every client with no additional costs or licences. Machines can also be inventoried through a periodic scan of the network to report on rogue machines that may not have an agent installed.
We became acclimatised to the administrative tasks quite quickly, and were able to start managing assets, deploying custom templates and running reports.
Documentation is in an indexed help section on the interface. The support site has a knowledgebase and FAQs. Shavlik offers many types of support packages and maintenance is 25 per cent of the purchase price. It wins our Best Buy this month.