A new approach to patch management from BEA could point the way to how the industry could offer automated patching and configuration.
Earlier this month, BEA Systems introduced a support service which it promised would ease the management of software updates and patches. The BEA Guardian Support Service scans a software infrastructure, identifies BEA software installed, checks for potential problems and recommends updates to install.
Martin Percival, BEA senior EMEA technology evangelist, said the service had been designed to remove the burden of checking systems using the traditional support model. “For the IT management team, it is going to help get the job done easier and with less stress,” he said.
Users can control the regularity of software updates, said Percival. To ensure data privacy and system security, the system uses security keys and tokens and everything transferred online is encrypted.
BEA Guardian uses a reference library of signature patterns, similar to those used in anti-virus software, to monitor systems constantly. The patterns describe a set of parameters, thresholds, settings, coding practices and/or symptoms and their interdependencies and include a series of steps for resolution.
BEA said these patterns would be updated continually so that Guardian is able to identify potential conflicts or trouble areas.
Laurent Lachal, senior analyst at Ovum, backed the system. “It is a good idea. You just wonder why the industry has not thought of it earlier. It should makes life easier for users. It is good for BEA also in that they will know more about how their customers use technology and help them optimise it,” he said.
Lachal said it was the dynamic nature of BEA’s approach that set the technology apart from alternative methods of managing updates and configurations.
“Both issues of configuration and patching are being dealt with by other companies, but BEA has more focus on the dynamics,” he said. “Others have configurations stacks but they are static, not dynamic.”
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