The system finds servers and desktops at a click during setup. The hardware can be stored on any Microsoft SQL Server available or in the Microsoft Desktop Engine database (downloadable). Hardware can be grouped and patching policies can be applied to the groups.
Despite patches being tested and Ecora reports being available, the patches are downloaded from Microsoft's website and stored in a repository for instant use. Computers can be displayed to show their current patching state. Alternatively, a patch can be selected and a list of machines requiring the patch is shown or refined to machines yet to be patched.
When a patch is selected, a panel under the display shows test notes, Microsoft TechNet articles, and links to more information. Ecora can show a software inventory of each machine (down to the version number) allowing configuration control.
Patch application is based on tick boxes to select patches for each host, group or workstation. Ecora also has the Patch Test Center for new patches. This allows two similar (preferably identical) machines to be selected. The patch is applied to one and the performance of both systems is compared to watch for deterioration in performance.
Patch Manager has an Online Reporting Center that has to be loaded on a Microsoft Internet Information Services server running .Net Framework 1.1 or better. The center allows anyone to access patching details in simple report formats. This allows views showing the administrator the overall state of the network, departmental heads their sections' systems, or individual users their workstations.
: Agentless and quick to set up with an excellent interface. It has browser access to reports.
: Basic Microsoft applications support. Might meet Microsoft website contention problems when a new, popular security patch is released.
: Excellent tool for non-technical users in small companies, but would also keep a seasoned administrator happy.