Maxspeed Corp. is making it easier for customers to deploy and update patches to their thin-client appliances running Microsoft Corp.s Windows XP Embedded operating system.
The Palo Alto, Calif., company has introduced a service that officials say will enable Maxspeed users to get those patches almost a month before Microsoft sends them out for the embedded operating system.
Wei Ching, president and CEO of Maxspeed, said that when a patch is needed, Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., normally sends the patch out first for its Windows XP Pro operating system, then follows with a patch for the embedded operating system 30 to 60 days later.
However, because there are typically few differences between the two patches, Maxspeed takes the patch for XP Pro, runs it on its own XP Embedded images and validates it in-house. Within a day or two, the company sends the patch—validated for the embedded operating system—out to customers, which then can deploy it via the companys Maxspeed Management Software suite, Ching said.
This service enables Maxspeed customers to apply the patch a month or more before Microsoft issues it, Ching said.
"Twenty-eight days is a long time for a security issue," Ching said. "[Validating and issuing a patch] takes a high priority within our development organization."
The Maxspeed Patch Management service is free to customers that register for the service online.
Thin-client environments are designed to give users easier management and better security than traditional desktops because crucial components, such as data and applications, are stored on a central server that can be accessed by users through a screen and keyboard on their desks. If a problem arises, IT administrators need only go to the server rather than to each desktop.
In addition, no data is stored on an employees desktop or laptop, which improves security. However, in an environment where applications and patches are deployed to multiple users from a central point, its important to be able to monitor them, according to Bob ODonnell, an analyst with IDC.
"Management and tracking [of the patches] are key issues," said ODonnell, in Mountain View, Calif.