Microsoft Update WSUS Set for June release 

"Microsoft will ship Microsoft Update, the Windows Update successor, and Windows Software Update Services (WSUS), a managed patch and update server product, in June," the software giant said this week. Both services will be free.

The Web based Windows Update service debuted in 1998 alongside Windows 98, giving Windows users for the first time a central location to find updated security patches, code updates, and new drivers for their systems. Over the years, Microsoft improved Windows Update and augmented it with Automatic Updates, but it has remained a tool for Windows oriented updates only. Microsoft Update will replace Windows Update and add support for Microsoft applications such as Microsoft Office.

WSUS, meanwhile, will replace Microsoft Software Update Services (SUS) as the company's entry level patch management tool for small and midsized businesses SMBs. A free add-on for Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000 Server WSUS will communicate with Microsoft Update on the back end and provide patch delivery and management and reporting services. WSUS requires Windows XP or Win2K Service Pack 3 (SP3) on the client Microsoft says.

Additionally, in July or August Microsoft will ship an update for Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003, its high end patch and configuration management tool for enterprises which will support the Microsoft Update back end and use the same patch scanning engine that WSUS uses. An update is also expected for the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA) tool which will bring that product up to date with the Microsoft Update back end. At that time all Microsoft's patch management tools will use the same back end and provide consistent results.

Both Microsoft Update and WSUS were originally due more than a year ago. Microsoft says that security work on XP SP2 forced the delays. XP SP2 is also responsible for delaying other crucial products including Windows 2003 SP1 and Longhorn the next major version of Windows.

From Product to Brand Microsoft System Center Changes with the Times.

At the Microsoft Management Summit 2005 yesterday Microsoft revealed that it was canceling a product called System Center, which would have combined future versions of Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS), Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM), and reporting tools into an integrated suite of management products. However, the System Center name will live on as a brand that Microsoft will use to label its management products. Those products will continue to be delivered separately. Microsoft recently renamed Data Protection Server (DPS) as System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) making it the first product to be branded with the new System Center name.

"System Center is now a family of management products," Kirill Tatarinov Microsoft corporate vice president of the Windows and Enterprise Management Division said. "It's a suite of modular products. The technology is integrated in modules so that customers can preserve their current investments in SMS and MOM."

In lieu of the System Center product, Microsoft will release the System Center reporting module separately. Called System Center Reporting Manager 2005, it will ship in May alongside a Community Technology Preview (CTP); apparently Microsoft's new name for public beta of System Center Capacity Manager 2006. "Capacity Manager will help customers predict how to best deploy resources for Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 and MOM 2005," Microsoft said. A fourth System Center product, an as yet unnamed data center oriented management console, will follow.

Microsoft also showed off SMS 4.0 and MOM 3.0 at the show. These major upgrades will ship sometime in the Longhorn wave of products in 2006 or 2007, the company said. SMS 4.0 will feature a much simplified software deployment interface and both SMS 4.0 and MOM 3.0 will integrate with the roles based management scheme that Windows Server uses.