The cross-platform, software-based controller agent solution performs automated patch management and asset discovery from a single, Web-based interface.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

April 27, 2004

2 Min Read

Autonomic Software is attacking patch management with automation and affordability.

The startup venture on Monday introduced its Autonomic Network & Security Administration (ANSA) system, a software-based controller agent solution that performs automated patch management and asset discovery from a single, Web-based interface, said Tony Gigliotti, president of Autonomic Software, Danville, Calif.

The company is looking to add reseller partners for ANSA, offering lead programs and other incentives. Gigliotti said he aims to take the company's revenue mix to a sales target of 5 percent direct, 95 percent indirect.

ANSA works by deploying a central controller onto a standard network server, the inoculation server. Small footprint ANSA software agents are then deployed onto network clients, be they servers, workstations, PCs or laptops. From there, patch management routines and updates can be scheduled from either the inoculation server or the agents themselves. Application and operating system use and location within a network can also be documented using ANSA, said Ryan Riley, the inventor of ANSA.

"Policies can be pushed to the agent, and the agents can be scheduled to pull policy," Riley said.

Seat limits for ANSA are determined by standard network latency measures in the same way an administrator determines concurrent user session limits on a Web site. Multiple ANSA inoculation servers can be deployed and linked through the same Web-based interface, and such a scenario may be beneficial for geographically distributed networks. However, Riley said, "We haven't seen any limitations yet with controller or agent."

ANSA is a cross-platform product, capable of operating across Windows, Solaris, HP-UX, AIX, BSD, Linux and Mac OSes, Riley said.

Mike Crawford, a sales engineer at Innovative Solutions, a training consultant and Autonomic Software partner in Sacramento, Calif., said the low price and effectiveness of ANSA has quickly caught on with customers, particularly when taking into account the short time in which his company has had access to ANSA.

"Before we had [ANSA], many of our customers were going machine to machine doing patch updating," Crawford said. "There are more expensive patch management products available, but for its price, ANSA is our go-to solution."

ANSA starts at $35 per agent for networks with less than 100 clients. For networks exceeding 2,500 clients, the per-agent cost drops to $13.50, according to Autonomic Software.

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