In early June, Microsoft released Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), the much-anticipated update to its Software Update Services (SUS) and Redmond's latest answer to server and desktop administrators' patching woes.
As the successor to SUS, WSUS features improvements in patch delivery, status reporting, network usage and implementation, and administration flexibility.
SUS had several limitations, including the fact that it only updated the Windows operating systems--and only Windows 2000 and earlier versions. WSUS includes support for Windows 2000 and later operating systems, as well as Microsoft Office Suite 2003, Microsoft Office Suite XP, Exchange Server 2003, SQL Server 2000, and MSDE 2000. And Microsoft plans to continue adding support for other products, eventually including all corporate software.
WSUS includes a number of helpful features that make it a worthy contender in the patching game. First of all, it's free--the tool is a no-charge add-on to the Windows Server family of products.
In addition, WSUS can install and uninstall patches, and it features rollback capability for the updates. Administrators can configure clients to periodically look for new patches. And for patches that don't require a reboot, WSUS can install them silently with no user interaction required.
To learn more about WSUS, check out Microsoft's WSUS Web page.