Solutions Run Gamut

By Cameron Sturdevant  |  Posted 2003-06-02 Print this article Print

PatchLink Update is best of 4 tested.

eWEEK Labs tests of four patch management products—Ecora Corp.s Ecora Patch Manager 2.0, PatchLink Corp.s PatchLink Update 4.0, St. Bernard Software Inc.s UpdateExpert 6.0 and Shavlik Technologies LLCs HFNetChkPro 4—reveal a wide range of capabilities and performance.

PatchLink Update—which earned an eWEEK Labs Analysts Choice award—is the only product we tested that uses agents on all managed systems. This accounts in part for its strong security and wide range of operating system support. St. Bernards UpdateExpert has an optional agent (a cool development) that can be used when encryption is required or when a system is protected so that remote procedure calls wont work.

Ecora Patch Manager, St. Bernards UpdateExpert and Shavliks HFNetChkPro are currently Windows-only products, but not for much longer. The products will support non-Windows operating systems, including Linux and Sun Microsystems Inc.s Solaris, sometime this year, said officials at all three companies.

Ecora Patch Manager stands out for the fact that it integrates with Ecoras wide-ranging configuration management family, as well as for its strong change management and logging capabilities.

HFNetChkPro, meanwhile, is widely used and therefore widely familiar to IT departments. However, it is also relatively more expensive than the other products we tested.

Cameron Sturdevant Cameron Sturdevant is the executive editor of Enterprise Networking Planet. Prior to ENP, Cameron was technical analyst at PCWeek Labs, starting in 1997. Cameron finished up as the eWEEK Labs Technical Director in 2012. Before his extensive labs tenure Cameron paid his IT dues working in technical support and sales engineering at a software publishing firm . 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. 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 analysis is grounded in real-world concern. Follow Cameron on Twitter at csturdevant, or reach him by email at

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