Coming Soon to MAX RM: Patch Management enhancements and Managed Online Backup upgrade

We’re excited to announce a series of enhancements with our next MAX Remote Management release. Here’s what’s in store:

  • Improved Patch Management: We’re introducing a new Patch Management Workflow, designed to make it easier and less time consuming to roll out patches, together with several new features such as patch roll back and showing the reason for a patch failure.
  • Upgrade to Managed Online Backup: We’re updating Backup Manager to use MAX Backup v16.3, which contains a series of performance improvements for Virtual Disaster Recovery and more.

In addition, we have a set of customer service updates and bug fixes in this release, you’ll find the full release notes at the bottom of the page. Note that some of the feature improvements in this release require you to install the new RC Agent, v10.2.0.


Backup Manager Upgrade (RC Agent v10.2.0)

We’re updating Managed Online Backup to use MAX Backup v.16.3, which offers a series of performance improvements for Virtual Disaster Recovery. It includes the new and very well received single pass restore option for VDR within the Recovery Console, greatly reducing the time needed to perform Disaster Recovery. For more information on what’s included in this update, please see the MAX Backup release notes for details at  v16.3, v16.2 and v15.12.*

* Note that the beta Exchange Granular Restore and Automated DR testing features are not enabled for Managed Online Backup at this time.

 

Patch Management Improvements

The new improvements are designed to make Patch Management more effective, less time consuming, and help protect your clients by ensuring that their software is fully up to date at all times. Here’s what’s new:

  • Improved Patch Approval dialog & workflow: More responsive dialog with more diagnostic data to help you roll out and manage patches across all clients and their devices
  • Patch failure reason: Now you can quickly inspect and resolve patch installation issues with detailed feedback on why a patch failed to install. Use the new Patch Failure Report to analyse the results more closely across devices.
  • Microsoft Patch roll-back: Revoke Microsoft patches that turn out to have an issue, so you can quickly limit the impact of a bad patch.
  • Improved process for approving patches: Approve patches from the south pane with a much improved set of options to cut down on admin and help provide a more responsive service.

Please note that the existing Patch Management Approval dialog is still there. We have purposefully left this in so that you can test the new dialog and workflow out first, and transition over to the improved version once you’re ready. Please continue to give us feedback if you have suggestions for further enhancements.

Here’s a full run-through of the new Patch Management features and the improved Patch Approval policy dialog and workflow…

 

New Patch Management Features

  • Patch Failure reason: The Patch “More Information” dialog (available by double-clicking any Patch in the south pane) now shows the reason why a patch failed, allowing you to diagnose the problem and take action much more quickly (1):patch 1
  • A new Patch Failure Report: This will be available in the reports menu under the Patch Management Reports. Any patch that fails will be visible in this report, even after the issue has been resolved and the patch is successfully installed. This way, you’ll be able to track and identify problematic patches across your estate (2):patch 2
  • A new Monthly Patch Installation schedule: Within the Patch Management Settings dialog there’s now the option to set a monthly schedule, giving you additional options for automatically scheduling patches (3). Note this feature requires Agent v10.2.0 RC.patch 3
  • More granular Patch Installation control from the South Pane: When a user approves a Patch from the south pane, they’ll immediately be asked when they would like to install the patch. This allows the user to adopt the existing schedule (current behaviour), or indeed select an entirely new schedule on a now/later basis – with the standard reboot options (4).patch 4
  • Patch Roll Back: We’ve also added the ability to remove Microsoft patches on both single and multiple devices, so you can roll back patches that turn out to have issues. The action can be achieved in one of three locations:
  1. The Dashboard south pane (5):patch 5
  2. The More information dialogue, visible by double clicking a patch in the south pane (6):patch 6
  3. Within the Patch Management Workflow (7):patch 7

Note the Patch roll back feature requires Agent v10.2.0 RC.

 

A Much-Improved Patch Management Workflow

In addition to these new features, we’re also introducing a brand new Patch Management workflow, making it easier to manage and deploy patches across clients and devices. This new dialog appears alongside the existing dialog, so you can test it out first and become familiar with it, while retaining all the existing functionality in the meantime.

  1. The new dialog gives a clearer overview of your Patch status with much more detail (8).patch 8
  2. Use the date filter to select which patches you want to see. Options include Last 24 hours, Last 7 days, Last Month, Last 3 months, Last 6 months, Last year and All time (9).patch 9
  3. Use the new Patch search option to quickly find the patch you’re after. This will search any part of the Patch name including the KB article reference, and dynamically updates the results while you type (10).patch 10
  4. Use the Status filters to home in on patches based on their installation status. The default filter setting here remains “Missing” (11).patch 11
  5. Configurable Status Columns: See full statistical data associated with every patch in the Dashboard – showing the number of devices corresponding to each patch status. (Missing, installed, pending, etc) (12). patch 12
    You can now also select which columns you want to show and hide in the view (13).
    patch 13
  6. Ultimately, the purpose of the dialog is to process patches, so we’re introducing a brand new workflow to make this process perform better. First select the patches you’re interested in, then click “Proceed” (14).patch 14
  7. This will launch the new Patch approval wizard where the user can select which action they’d like to apply to the patches (15):patch 15Note that the available options will vary depending on the selection. If, for example, the user has selected only missing patches, then only the actions relevant to missing patches will be presented. The full list of available actions is: 

    Inherit
    Approve
    Ignore
    Do nothing
    Re-process failed and
    Uninstall

  8. Once the user has selected “Next”, they then have the choice whether they want to apply the update to servers and/or workstations, and for which clients, sites and devices (16):patch 16
  9. The last step of the workflow is in regards to scheduling – when would you like the action to happen. The user can choose their preferred scheduling and reboot options, by adopting the policy defined schedule, or by selecting a new schedule (17):patch 17

Once you’ve run through the Patch approval steps, you’re returned to the main Patch Management dialog so that you can select the next patch and run it through the installation process.

 

Please keep the feedback coming…
We’re always striving to make the Dashboard a better product based on your feedback and requests. These improvements to Patch Management are one such example, with many of the feature improvements raised by customers at our conferences, through the account managers, and over on the LOGICnow Ideas Site. Please keep the feedback coming and let us know how we’re doing!

 

Staging Release Notes…
The full staging release notes are below. Note that staging release notes are subject to change, final release notes will go out with the release.

Summary for Service Release
– Patch Management improvements, Backup Manager upgrade, customer service priorities
– Dashboard v6.18
– New RC Agent v10.2.0, no change to the GA Agent

Dashboard v6.18
FEATURE: Provide the reason for a Patch installation failure
FEATURE:  A new Patch Management “Patch Failure” Report
FEATURE: Roll back Microsoft patches on single and multiple devices
FEATURE: A new Patch Management Approval Policy dialog with an improved workflow, more aggregated data, and better performance
UPDATE: Option to set a Monthly Schedule for automated Patch Management
UPDATE: Ability to set the Patch installation schedule at the point of approving a patch in the South Pane
UPDATE: Addition of Web Protection Preview
BUGFIX: Correct issue whereby the Wall Chart shows problem devices in pink (to signal new alerts) and doesn’t fade to the regular colour

Agent v10.2.0 RC
FEATURE: Roll back Microsoft patches on single and multiple devices
UPDATE: Option to set a Monthly Schedule for automated Patch Management
UPDATE: Backup Manager for Managed Online Backup updated to MAX Backup version 16.3.0

  • Automatic repair Active Directory file replication
  • Performance improvements and bug fixes for Virtual Disaster Recovery
  • Display modified dates of files and folders in restore selection and in search results
  • Zero file size detection
  • Fast VDR/SBI without postponed sessions for VSS data sources
  • Archiving performance improvements
  • Recover only selected disks during BMR
  • Large disk support for VDR to Azure

UPDATE: Add support for McAfee Endpoint Security to Antivirus Check
UPDATE: Capture more Software Install Date information in Asset Tracking
UPDATE: Performance improvement to address an Agent reliability issue in connection with Remote Background Management feature
UPDATE: Performance improvement to Remote Background Management to ensure its connection is more reliable
BUGFIX: Correct issue with Symantec System Recovery 2013 in the Backup Check to ensure it reports the status correctly
BUGFIX: Correct issue with detecting Avast! definition version in Antivirus Check

 

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