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Is My Favorite vSphere Tool Going Away?

The following post was contributed by  Dwayne Lessner (@DLink7).

While going through the release notes for vSphere 4.1 I noticed one  of my favourite vSphere tools be might be going away. vCenter Update  Manager (VUM) 4.1 and its subsequent update releases are the last  releases to support scanning and remediation of patches for Windows  and Linux guest operating systems.

I think it would be a mistake not to continue on with VUM. The tool  can scan and remediate both powered on and powered off virtual  machines (VMs). You can easily tell from a single pane of glass which VM’s are compliant or not. With a large virtual desktop  Infrastructure (VDI) environment it’s fast and easy to update your  templates and linked clones. You can even automatically take a  snapshot before you apply the updates in case there is a problem.  This tool has shaved off hours on monthly change windows. If I had to do all this work manually I would have to hire extra staff which in  today’s market is not going to happen.

Shavlik, the company behind the patch database that VUM relies on, seems to have a good working relationship with VMware. Last year when  VMware announced VMware GO, a free web-based service that will allow  a customers to set up ESXi, Shavilk was a major partner. It’s hard to  believe they would just drop each other but I believe there is a cloud  play. Shavlik will be providing cloud-based IT management and  patching through their OPsCloud strategy. I believe with VMware’s  Redwood around the corner the two companies will offer the proper  hooks to each others infrastructure in the form of the appropriate  cloud API’s.

It’s likely that the same tools will exist but in different forms and  under different names. I am sure we will have another reason to spend  the money on another upgrade.

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2 Comments

  • Sure it can be handy for a small environment. But I have always heard VMware recommend it not be used in a production environment. We have spoke about it at VMUG meetings and only ever heard of one person using it. They intend on keeping it for just host related patching and 3rd package installs.

  • Only problem is you’d need a way to patch physical (non-VM) Windows machines. At that point, you’d already be running WSUS (or equivalent), so why not also just use that for VMs? The problem is you’d have to run two patching solutions simultaneously (VUM + WSUS) in your environment and admins/management usually don’t want to do that.

    To keep this functionality, VUM would have to be extended to deal with physical machines somehow. I feel here that VMware decided that it wasn’t worth devoting resources to recreate the wheel.

    Until the entire world is virtual, I think VMware is always going to have this physical vs. virtual management problem. Microsoft has System Center to manage physical and virtual machines and their tools (e.g., WSUS) can work both in physical and virtual installations. This VUM situation is another great example of the decision VMware has to make whether to try and incorporate physical management into their products or let someone else do it.

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