Installation and Deployment
The deployment phase of the patch management process tends to be where administrators and engineers have the most experience. Installation and deployment is where the actual work of applying patches and updates to production systems occurs. And, while this stage is the most visible to the organisation as a whole, the effort expended throughout the entire patch management process is what dictates the overall success of a given deployment and the patch management program in total.
The most important technical factor affecting patch deployment is likely to be the choice of tools used. One key distinction between patch tools is a common system development issue – to buy or to build? Historically, many organisations have created custom solutions using scripting languages combined with available platform tools to distribute and apply patches. As the industry has matured and the need for comprehensive and automated updates has increased, many tools have become available to help manage the patch application process. These tools are often classified as being either agent-based or agentless systems, depending on whether they rely on software being installed on the target systems that are to be patched. Additionally, many existing system management tools have the capability to perform software and system updates. The correct choice of patch management tools for any organisation depends on a number of issues, including: the number of platforms supported, the number of systems to be patched, existing expertise and personnel involved, and the availability of existing system management tools.