By Cameron Sturdevant  |  Posted 2004-01-05 Print this article Print

However, Marimbas addition of patch management to its otherwise well-developed hardware and software management suite is a step in the right direction. And aggressive cross-platform support makes Marimba Six a formidable competitor to Altiris Inc.s Management Suite and LANDesk Group Ltd.s LANDesk offering. IT managers are in a choice position to ask for quite a bit in terms of price discounts and support largess from these fierce competitors.

During a briefing at eWEEK Labs, Kia Behnia, Marimbas chief technology officer, said other operating systems would be supported in upcoming versions of the patch management component.

We tested Marimba Six by installing Marimba agents on a variety of Windows 2000 servers and XP desktop systems, along with several servers running Linux and Solaris. However, Marimba gives short shrift to Novell Inc.s NetWare, and IT managers are advised to look at the Altiris suite or Novells ZENworks for Servers if they have a substantial number of NetWare servers.

Marimba Six offers enhanced support for installing Marimba agents and other components needed to run the system. After installing the software in a Windows 2000 server that we designated as our central system, it was a simple matter to use information provided by Windows Active Directory to deploy agents to other systems in our test network.

After we installed agents on all our desktops and servers, we ran reports to create collections of target end points for the patch management system. Marimba Sixs ability to integrate with a Windows server that is running the no-cost SUS (Software Update Services) component makes it a bit easier to specify which patches should be made available. We added SUS to one of the Windows servers in our test network and used it to get updates, which we then distributed via Marimba Six.

Marimba Six brings Microsoft system management into a suite that can handle software distribution for a wide variety of platforms, thereby reducing the number of maintenance consoles. In tests, the other clear advantage of using Marimba Six to handle patch distribution was that we could keep track of which systems had been updated with the reporting tool.

Senior Analyst Cameron Sturdevant is at cameron_sturdevant@ziffdavis.com.

Cameron Sturdevant Cameron Sturdevant has been with the Labs since 1997, and before that paid his IT management dues at a software publishing firm working with several Fortune 100 companies. Cameron also spent two years with a database development firm, integrating applications with mainframe legacy programs. Cameron's areas of expertise include virtual and physical IT infrastructure, cloud computing, enterprise networking and mobility, with a focus on Android in the enterprise. In addition to reviews, Cameron has covered monolithic enterprise management systems throughout their lifecycles, providing the eWEEK reader with all-important history and context. Cameron takes special care in cultivating his IT manager contacts, to ensure that his reviews and analysis are grounded in real-world concern. Cameron is a regular speaker at Ziff-Davis Enterprise online and face-to-face events. Follow Cameron on Twitter at csturdevant, or reach him by email at csturdevant@eweek.com.

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