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Windows Server Update Services Generally Available

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Microsoft on Monday began shipping Windows Server Update Services, its second-generation technology for patching systems in medium-sized organizations and enterprises.

Attendees at Microsoft TechEd 2005 found a copy of WSUS on their seats during Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's kickoff keynote for the Orlando, Fla. show. Although Ballmer didn't announce the general availability, Gordon Mangione, corporate vice president for the Security Business Unit, later confirmed that WSUS is generally available.

The Windows Server Update Services launch comes as part of a company-wide patch management overhaul that spans consumers, small and medium businesses, and the enterprise. The other major component of the overhaul on Monday was the launch of the Microsoft Update site. A superset of Windows Update, Microsoft Update also includes patches for Office and other consumer and small-business Microsoft products. The technology is targeted at the same kinds of users who would use Windows Update or Automatic Updates.

Microsoft Update, Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer 2.0, Windows Server Update Services and Systems Management Server 2003 also now pull their patches from a common Microsoft Update Catalog, which is the Microsoft authority on the latest patches for Windows, SQL Server, Exchange Server, Office and other technologies. The move addresses long-standing customer complaints that scanning their systems using different Microsoft patch management products would produce different results as to whether machines had the latest patches or not.

"We've consolidated down to the supporting one update agent, the Windows Update Agent that works across these technologies," Ballmer said.

Windows Server Update Services is a free add-on for Windows Server, and one of the last feature pack releases on the public roadmap since the release of Windows Server 2003. It is the follow-on version of Software Update Services, and was referred to for some time as Windows Update Services.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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