Using System Center Configuration Manager 2012 R2 to Patch Linux, UNIX and Macs

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Today, everything has to be patched. From desktop and laptop to server and every operating system in between. With compliance what we have to pay attention to is what’s actually out there on our network – not just what you wish were there.

Servers (Windows, UNIX and Linux)

Even those of us that are Windows-centric environments have at least a few UNIX or Linux servers. These systems have to be secure and patched. Linux and UNIX servers often fulfill critical functions with few and short maintenance windows. These can be a real pain point for admins who specialize in Windows or are managed by an entirely different admin no one ever sees but is rumored to have a cubicle in the basement and live under a bridge.

Desktops (Windows and Macs)

Maybe you are responsible for desktops instead of servers. Again it’s not just a Windows story any more. More and more people are opting for Macs instead of Windows for their PC. Watch the vulnerability lists and you’ll see that Macs need patching too.

The kicker though is the 80/20 rule. If at least 80% of the computers on your network are Windows and the remaining 20% are everything else – I think it’s a safe bet, given the maturity and ease of WSUS, that 20% of your patching effort goes to Windows but 80% of your effort is consumed with patching all the different flavors of UNIX, Linux and your Mac computers.

What we need is one system to manage all our patches and one pane of glass to prove compliance from data center to desktop.

Believe it or not System Center 2012 R2 provides the infrastructure to do just that – it just needs a little help. Last time we showed you how you can patch 3rd party apps on Windows through System Center Update Manager. This time we’ll show you how you can patch non-Windows systems using the new System Center clients for UNIX, Linux and Mac.

Here’s a list of systems and capabilities supported by SCCM:

Max OS X
10.6 (Snow Leopard)
10.7 (Lion)
10.8 (Mountain Lion)
10.9 (Mavericks)
Hardware Inventory
Settings Management
Application Deployment
Software Updates Management
AIX Version 7.1, 6.1, 5.3
Solaris Version 11 (SPARC and x86) , 10 (SPARC and x86), 9 (SPARC)
HP-UX Version 11iv2 (PA-RISC and IA64) , 11iv3 (PA-RISC and IA64)
Hardware Inventory
Software Inventory
Software Distribution
RHEL Version 6 (x64 and x86) , 5 (x64 and x86), 4 (x64 and x86)
SLES Version 11 (x64 and x86), 10 (x64 and x86), 9 (x86)
CentOS Version 6 (x64 and x86), 5 (x64 and x86)
Debian Version 6 (x64 and x86), 5 (x64 and x86)
Ubuntu Version 12.4 LTS (x64 and x86), 10.4 LTS (x64 and x86)
Oracle Linux 6 (x64 and x86), 5 (x64 and x86)

In this real training for free ™ webinar I’ll show you how the “Clients for Additional Operating Systems” work in SCCM. Here’s some of the things we’ll discuss:

  • Installing SCCM clients on UNIX/Linux and Macs
  • How to configure Macs for automatic updates
  • What it takes to package up patches to Linux and UNIX

We will also discuss security issues. For instance when you ask admins if they are interested in monitoring Linux or UNIX with System Center they usually say yes. But when sysadmins find out you need the root password to deploy and discover agents the roadblocks pop up so we’ll look at how to do this without root.

But at the end of the day, packaging up patches for 3 more operating systems is a lot of work. System Center gives you infrastructure but you still have to obtain the patches, package them up and push them out. Well Lumension is the perfect fit for this webinar because they offer a way for you to stop re-inventing the wheel by offering a subscription service of tested and pre-packaged patches ready to drop into System Center. Similar to the same content they offer for 3rd party Windows apps like Acrobat and Java. Lumension fills the gaps in System Center to provide the “one system to patch them all”.

This will be a technical and practical training event for everyone that needs to keep all their systems secure – not just Windows – and prove compliance. Don’t miss it, please register now!

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