vCenter Protect or Update Manager, er… or both?

I’ve recently spent the week in San Francisco at VMworld US 2012 (see separate summary and review post – coming soon). Whilst there, I spent a lot of time talking to users, admins and vendors in the SMB space, part of a new interest area for me.

Part of these discussions with users new to VMware revolved around the new VMware vCenter Protect product, and where it fitted in the grand scheme of things. Do I need vCenter Protect and Update Manager? Do I use one instead of the other? Do the functions of each overlap? These were all common questions. So, hopefully this quick mini-post will help dispel the confusion.

  • VMware Update Manager (UDM) should be considered as patch and update management for the VMware infrastructure elements of your environment. UDM can be used to patch hosts, VMware Tools within VMs, and virtual hardware built-in to the fabric of each VM (v4, v7, v8 etc). Functionality within UDM allows for automatic baselining of patches, as well as immediate and schedule deployment options / workflows.
  • VMware vCenter Protect (vCP) is the patching agent for the guest OS that resides inside the VMs. Formerly Shavlik, vCP now manages patching for Windows guests right across a Windows estate – both physical (i.e. non-VM) and virtual operating systems.

Up to and including vSphere 4, UDM was used to patch guests within VMs. But, to enhance the patch management of Windows estates, VMware purchased Shavlik and with the release of vSphere 5 both removed guest patching from UDM and released vCenter Protect to market.

Patching functionality with vCP is greatly enhanced over the functionality provided by UDM (especially as it now extends to the physical estate). For more information about the respective functionality of Update Manager and vCenter Protect, see VMware’s website information here:

Jeremy loves all things technology! Has been in IT for years, loves Macs (but doesn't preach to others about their virtues), loves virtualization (and does shout about it's virtues), and sometimes skis, bikes and directs amateur plays!

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