In advance of VMworld we caught up with Anne Steiner, principal product manager at LANDesk, to learn more about how Shavlik Protect patches VMware virtual machines and templates.
Q: Shavlik has always been known for its ability to patch online virtual machines but there is an added capability that some may not be familiar with. Shavlik can also patch offline VMware VMs as well as offline VMware templates. What is the benefit in being able to do this?
Anne: IT departments generally have an image or a template that helps them create various user VMs. These templates behave similarly to offline VMs. When IT goes to create VMs for folks like you and me, they don’t want to have to go through a two-step process of creating the VM and then on top of that having to patch it. Patching in that way takes extra time and manpower. If the offline templates can be kept current all the time, IT can deploy a virtual machine without having to worry about whether the VM is up to date.
Q: You mentioned patching offline machines, how does that work?
Anne: If a VMware VM happens to be offline (maybe it is powered down to conserve power or offline maintenance) Shavlik has the ability to see the VMWare VM in your virtual infrastructure, recognize that it is offline, bring it up and patch it, and then put it back to rest. The advantage is we’ll keep your entire virtual infrastructure up to date regardless of whether VM’s are online or offline.
Q: Shavlik Protect has a feature called Snapshot. Can you tell us about it?
A: In the Shavlik patch process, we allow users to take a snapshot which provides a restore point to revert to a known good configuration. After the snapshot is created the user applies the patches and knows that if something were to happen, like one of the patches damages the VM for example, they would very easily be able to go back to that snapshot and have everything the way it was before the patches were deployed. In other words, snapshots can be used as is a bit of an insurance policy.