Patches Pose Pesky Problems for OSes

Security patches remind me of the patches that drivers used to stick on the inner tubes of blown tires.

Security patches remind me of the patches that drivers used to stick on the inner tubes of blown tires. Driving on a patched tire was always risky, and no sooner would you install one patch, when another was needed 10 miles down the road. At some point, as cartoonists loved to depict, you couldnt tell where the patches ended and the tire began.

And at some point in the universe of enterprise computing, as noted in this weeks issue, it becomes difficult to tell where the patches end and the operating system starts. The best that can be said for the current state of crisis—patch, new security leak, patch for the patch—is that occasionally the patches work, and sometimes those fixes dont mess up your systems too much. Designing operating systems with security as the top priority, limiting access to systems by levels of authentication and running security networks based on their ability to monitor and predict future break-ins are all worthy, and still largely future-based, projects. In the meantime, for the best advice on how to muddle through the patch swamp, see our eWeek Labs report. And for the very latest news on the patch wars, see Dennis Fishers story.

What type of application would make senior managers open a companys wallet rather than slam it shut? As Dennis Callaghan points out in "Big picture kept in view," the application that warrants that open wallet is business performance management. Management systems have been around for quite some time, but too often in the past, you had to buy into one vendors structure before you could start pulling out performance metrics. The new twist on this market are systems from such companies as Brio: The systems build the metrics regardless of where the data resides.

The other way to win approval for that IT dollar on the hardware side of the equation is to offer a low entry point and a high level of scalability. As Technical Analyst Francis Chu states in this weeks review of the latest four-way server from Dell, this promise of low price and scalability is met in the PowerEdge 6650.

And if you are totally stymied in your IT career at your company, maybe it is time to look elsewhere. A good place to start is in the eWeek IT Careers Center at Our recent alliance with provides the most robust IT careers help and job finder in the industry.

What patch tales can you tell? Let me know at