Tuesday, August 26, 2008

VMware Update Manager for Windows VMs

[ Note: yet another technical post ! I just can't resist it... ]

I had never taken the time to look into Update Manager. Today, I decided to dive in and try it out with a Windows Template I'm building.

It struck me that the update process (actually it's called 'remediate') took so long. Nothing could be seen on the server console and no CPU was utilized. Strange.

After a couple of minutes waiting, I went back to the VM console and saw a CD drive mapped. I should have known! Windows updates are deployed the same way the VMware tools are: via a virtual CD (an ISO file mounted from the virtual center server). Indeed on the VC server, I found an ISO with the exact patches I selected to be installed on the VM.

That's why the first phase of the remediate process took so long: it was preparing the ISO.

On a sidenote: This ISO can as well be used for physical machines that need to be patched! Just copy the ISO file, burn it on a CD. The only thing missing still is the so-called Update Manager guest agent which is installed on the VM to be patched. It seems that 'vum-launcher.exe' is the thing that does most of the work. Did anyone test this out already?

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