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Ease The Pain Of Patches

Configuresoft tools manage the costly and time-consuming process of patching software.
The cost of patching faulty operating systems and applications keeps growing. Research firm Gartner estimates that IT managers spend two hours per server testing and deploying patches, and it can cost a company with 1,000 servers about $300,000 for each patch.

Staying on top of patches is a challenge, says Mike Knott, supervisor of network operations for energy provider Ameren Corp. "Sometimes, there are three or more in a week." Ameren has 5,000 Windows desktop computers and 200 servers.

Knott is using Enterprise Configuration Manager, an application from system-configuration management vendor Configuresoft Inc., along with the vendor's new Security Update Manager 2.0 module to deploy patches. Security Update Manager is available now; prices start at $25 per server and $5 per workstation. Enterprise Configuration Manager starts at $995 per server and $30 per workstation.

Security Update Manager should help with another problem: Servers often must be turned off to install a patch, and Knott has to negotiate with business units for the best time to shut down a system. Knott says he plans to "establish user roles within Security Update Manager so we can send the patches to the business units and they can make the changes to their own servers."