Marimba to Update Security Patch Management Software
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.