The update is built on the companys Marimba Six architecture and rolls in new features requested by user experience with Version 1.0, company officials said. The new user-driven features include an integrated patch repository that can automatically collect patch information from Microsoft Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc. as well as Shavlik Technologies LLC, a small patch-management vendor that collects information about patches and provides it in machine-readable format, including dependencies and meta data associated with a patch.
Marimba Security Patch Management, which automates the collection, staging, approval, preparation and deployment of security patches, works across multiple desktop environments and servers.
The new release also addresses the time-consuming patch testing problem faced by many IT shops with a new patch testing and simulation function.
"This product allows you to simulate a patch being installed on an end-point, and you can do end-path analysis," described Purnima Padmanabhan, director of product management at Marimba of Mountain View, Calif.
The simulator can determine before deployment which patches will install on end-points and which will not, which patches are obsolete; and it will identify patch conflicts and installation order. "Thats a competitive differentiator," asserted Padmanabhan.
Although Marimba has yet to determine how much time the new simulation capability can save in testing, "weve found it increases the accuracy a lot more and reduces the number of permutations you have to test," she said.
The agent-based patch-management system also adds a new intelligent patch installer that will take a group of patches intended for different versions of an operating system and analyze which patch is appropriate for the end-point in which the agent resides. It also determines the installation order, how to sequence patches and when to reboot.
In addition, the new release, which will be sold as a standalone offering or as part of the Marimba Six software change management and configuration suite, adds new patch auditing and reporting capabilities, which works with the suites policy-management controls.
"We provide compliance reports against patch policies. Within one shot, you know how many [end-points] are compliant or are not compliant," Padmanabhan said.
The maturing market for patch management will continue to see strong growth as "companies focus on top-of-mind patch management," said Jan Sundgren, analyst at Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Mass. "But (discrete products) will eventually be absorbed into broader vulnerability-management products," he added.
Marimba, similar to competitors such as LANDesk Software Inc. and Altiris Inc., moved into the patch-management arena last year as large enterprises struggled to keep pace with the growing number of security threats and patches.
The new release is due in March, the company said.