Among the many features Microsoft has added to WSUS 3.0 SP2, released this week, IT managers said they think the most important capability is its interoperability with the next generation of Windows operating systems.
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Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 will be generally available in October.
"Feature wise, the biggest, and probably the only thing for me, is full support for Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2," said Julian Harper, an IT Manager for U.K.-based online wine retailer, The Jeroboams Group.
Beyond its support for upcoming OSes, some new features in Windows Software Update Services (WSUS) 3.0 SP2 include improved handling of language selection for downstream servers with a new warning dialog, new update and computer status reports, and auto-approval rules now include the ability to specify the installation deadline date and time for all computers or specific computer groups.
Software updates include stability and reliability fixes for the WSUS server, the approval dialog now sorts computer groups alphabetically by group name, and computer status report sorting icons now work in x64 environments.
For Microsoft Windows-heavy IT shops, WSUS is hugely popular despite the availability of third-party tools with more interoperability and functionality – and it isn't just because of the $0 price tag.
Tarun Chachra, the CTO for a New York-based independent media advertising agency who also writes a technology blog, said he uses WSUS frequently because his enterprise consists solely of Microsoft based software products and WSUS makes updating all of it easy to do.
"When you have multiple machines to update, it can tax your bandwidth quite heavily and the time it takes to download updates can sometimes be cumbersome," Chachra said. "With WSUS you simply have a localized repository of all Microsoft Updates and then you are also given the control to decide which ones you will deploy and when."
The benefit is that updates are delivered whenever IT administrators want to deploy them, and not until IT has tested them thoroughly with enterprise class applications. In addition, updates, when approved, are delivered over a local network connection thereby making them much faster to deploy, Chachra said.
WSUS 3.0 SP2 can be installed as an in-place upgrade from earlier versions of WSUS and all settings and approvals will be preserved. The user interface is compatible between WSUS 3.0 SP1 and SP2 on the client and the server.
WSUS 3.0 SP2 is available for download at Microsoft Download Center.
Let us know what you think about the story; email Bridget Botelho, News Writer