Virtual Patches and the Data Center Environment

In advance of VMworld we caught up with Chris Goettl, Program Product Manager for Shavlik , to learn more about the patching in the data center environment.

Q:  What are some of the key things to consider when deploying patches in a datacenter environment?

Chris:   From the conversations I have with customers I think getting up and running quickly is important.  You would be surprised how long some products take to implement.  Many of our competitors deploy agent-based systems that take longer to implement.  We have talked to some of their customers that struggled with implementation. In fact, one was in year two of trying to roll out a well-known product.

Q:  What is different about Shavlik from a timing perspective?

Chris:  There are a few things that give us an advantage in this area; in fact, we can show value on the same day.   So for example, if you install our product, we can be up and running, assessing your environment, and can stage patches within the first hour.   There is no product in the market that can be installed and be up and running delivering patches to endpoints that fast. 

Q: How do your products complement VMware?

Chris:  Of course we can patch VMware offline and online machines as well as hypervisors, but there is another area where we work well together.  Our products help VMware introductory level customers maintain their patch capability. This all stems from our previous relationship with VMware (we were owned by VMware before joining the LANDesk family).

Q: How does Shavlik provide benefit to these customers?

Chris: Let’s say you have a virtual infrastructure with 50 VMs on standard servers.  If the customer is running vSphere or less, then you have a big challenge to maintain that infrastructure.  On the other hand, enterprise VMware customers that have vSphere have an extremely robust product that images the hypervisor.  Every time you reboot the hypervisor it actually reboots under the base image, so all the customer has to do is apply a patch to the base image and then every time they reboot the hypervisors they are up to date.

Q: So Shavlik helps bridge the gap between VMware standard and the enterprise? 

Chris: Right, so we have a hypervisor feature within our product.  When IT installs Shavlik Protect the feature is already in place.  With Protect, you install it and type in the IP address or the server name for the hypervisor and a credential.  Protect connects, you click on a scan button, click on which patches you want, click deploy, and that is about it.  It really is a matter of months to minutes.