Ecora Patch Manager 2.0
Ecora Patch Manager 2.0 is a relative newcomer and can be integrated with Ecoras host of configuration management tools— probably the products biggest benefit over the other products we tested. Version 3.0 of Patch Manager will incorporate Microsoft SQL Server, likely improving scalability.
An agentless product, Ecora Patch Manager was lightning-quick in our tests, although it took us awhile to master its interface. (Only PatchLink Updates interface was more difficult to master.) For example, Ecora Patch Managers "patch" view listed patches even when no host in our network needed the patch. We had to click on each patch reference to see when a system patch was really needed.
Like the other agentless products in this test, Ecora Patch Manager conducted a system inventory to determine if new patches were needed.
During tests, once an inventory scan was completed, we were able to save and access it for subsequent patch management tasks. However, we advise that IT managers get into the habit of performing frequent system scans to ensure that the correct patches are installed and to avoid either duplicate work or unnecessary patch jobs.
In all fairness, it was simple to click on either the "host" or "product" view to get a more accurate assessment of our patching work. Even so, we hope that Ecora cleans up the patch interface to get rid of the false positives.
Ecora Patch Manager made it very simple to push patches. From the interface, we simply checked a box next to the patch and answered a few administrative questions, and the deployment job was on its way. Although PatchLink Update does it better, Ecora Patch Manager does download patches to the deployment server before pushing them out to systems in need.
The difference between the two products is that PatchLink Update downloads packed patches from the PatchLink site.
Ecora Patch Manager, in contrast, downloads raw patches from Microsoft Corp.s Web site. Among other things, this means that Ecora Patch Manager might not be able to immediately access a critical patch (for example, if connections to the Microsoft site were overloaded). After Ecora Patch Manager downloads a patch, however, it doesnt have to be downloaded again.
Ecora Patch Manager has the most complete change management log of the products included in this test—mostly because Patch Manager is designed to share configuration information with other Ecora tools.
Even as a stand-alone product, however, Ecora Patch Managers automatic change log will likely benefit IT managers by keeping detailed records of what changed on each system and when. Even though this information is available through the Control Panel in Windows operating systems, it was far more convenient for us to access it from the central console in Ecora Patch Manager, and the information was more detailed.
Ecora Patch Manager was released in April. For 1,000 seats, the product costs $8.50 per seat for a one-year subscription. Version 3.0 of Ecora Patch Manager, due in the next few months, is expected to provide better patch tracking by moving its inventory collection to a Microsoft SQL Server database.
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