Without advance notice, Microsoft on Wednesday night made it possible for customers to use Software Update Services (SUS) to distribute service packs, instead of requiring a separate patch management system or Active Directory group policy. Customers who have checked their Windows updates since then have found they received copies of Service Pack 4 for Windows 2000 (news - web sites) and Service Pack 1 for XP.
For many, the ability to get service packs via SUS is a nice change. "Microsoft's original party line was you would have to use [Systems Management Server] to push out service packs or use Active Directory and group policy," said Jeremy Moskowitz, an independent consultant based in Wilmington, Del.
"The only thing it costs you is a little more disk space on the server," Moskowitz said. "But you don't have to approve the update."
Indeed, at least one customer learned about the changes when he observed that his company firewall experienced a substantial download Wednesday evening that contained Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 and XP Service Pack 1.
He said he wasn't told by Microsoft in advance that its policy was changing. "As the service pack size has an impact on the available disk space, it would have been nice," the customer said.
Another customer said he was irked about not being told of the changes.
"I would have preferred that Microsoft made more of an announcement, and made this an option," said Ian Hayes, a network manager at Bloodhound Inc., a Research Triangle Park, N.C.-based application service provider that processes health and insurance claims.
"It won't be too useful for us because I'm stuck on SP2 because of the in-house code, and with SUS, it's an all or nothing thing," Hayes said. "I'm not going to push service packs out with SUS because the amount of traffic I'd have to pass would be incredible. Windows SP4 is 125 megabytes."
Cottam said that downloading the service packs won't be fast, particularly on a slow connection. There won't be any way around the slow delivery for this version of SUS, but in the next version, customers will be able to identify exactly what content they want, so they don't have to receive what they don't need, he said.
whole article: Windows service pack tool draws early praise