Two days ago I viewed the Novell Patch Management webinar offered by Novell. It was a very high level view of their new Zen Patch Management product, offered through a partnership with Patchlink. The webinar was, as I said, very high level. So high, in fact, that they had to spend 30 minutes describing the problem; something that sysadmins in the line of combat don't need. I got a very few points out of the seminar, but they are somewhat useful.
  • The agents and server software is free if you have a Zen maintenance contract
  • A subscription is required, licensed per-device, to get packaged patches
  • When asked directly if it was possible to create your own patch packages, the presenter dodged the question
  • The list price is $18/device, which only small shops will pay as anyone with any volume in Novell software has SOME discount off of list thanks to contract.
  • The repository server has to be a Windows server, but agents exist for Netware and Windows
  • Linux patching is offered though the Ximian purchase of Red Carpet
All of this tells me that this product is only somewhat useful. We don't have the funds, even with our sizable education discount, to even think of covering all of our managed desktops. If we deploy, it'll be our servers only. I'm glad they're offering a product like this, but it still is out of reach for us.