Networking & Management Tools - 3

WINNER

PatchLink Corp.s PatchLink Update 5.0

Last year, IT managers spent a great deal of time stamping out attacks on nearly every desktop and server operating system and most applications.

PatchLink Corp.s PatchLink Update 5.0 rose to the top of our pick list, reflecting the growing importance of patch management in enterprise systems. PatchLink Update 5.0 provides the kind of cross-platform support that is crucial for an enterprise-class patch management tool.

PatchLinks support for Windows, Unix, NetWare and Linux and its additional research of patch efforts—along with its patch management system, which ensures systems are maintained in a patched state—mean that the product has a life span of years before Microsoft Corp.s update and Secure Computing initiatives eliminate the need for patching software.

Although PatchLink won because it demonstrated excellence in solving a critical IT management problem today, our finalists also bear close watching.

FINALISTS

BladeLogic Inc.s Operations Manager 5

BladeLogics Operations Manager 5 will certainly become more relevant over the coming year as a tool to ride herd over data center equipment. We believe Operations Manager 5 will likely become a bigger part of enterprise computing this year.

Operations Manager 5 takes error-prone and time-consuming tasks such as bare-metal provisioning and complex operating system deployments and makes them much more manageable. Operations Manager 5 also provides cross-platform patch distribution.

We think Operations Man- ager 5 shows great promise for reducing data center management costs by eliminating errors and speeding the deployment of services as business needs change.

Microsoft Corp.s Systems Management Server 2003

Microsofts SMS, once the target of well-deserved scorn, has turned in a winning performance, landing a spot as a finalist. After years of effort, during which Microsoft expended millions of dollars of research and development and thousands of worker hours on SMS development—motivated by an unending blare of security vulnerabilities in Microsofts operating systems—SMS 2003 can now effectively distribute software to occasionally connected PCs.

The overall SMS 2003 implementation has been cleaned up, and IT managers will likely find the product a real asset in reducing Windows desktop, laptop and mobile-device management costs. In the case of SMS 2003, time and money can solve any problem.

Excellence Awards Winners and Finalists: