Ask anyone working in a complex enterprise IT environment and chances are they’ll agree that there are never enough resources to meet the demands of the business. Too much time and money is being spent on managing existing IT systems, rather than proactively developing new systems to deliver greater competitive edge. Meanwhile, CIOs and IT management are facing the ultimate challenge – to achieve more with less. Businesses are demanding more from their IT resources, while budgets are being sliced.

On top of that, systems are becoming more complex and more connected and the requirement to patch and fix these systems is becoming more critical. This is one area where businesses cannot afford to be complacent. As purse strings tighten, decision-makers have to re-think their approach to vulnerability management.

We recently sat down with Sam Higgins, Research Director for Australian analyst firm Longhaus, to discuss this topic in detail. Higgins’ view is that the problem of vulnerability management is compounded by the increasingly complex stack of components – particularly those that exist beyond the operating system including elements such as web servers, application servers, portals and business process management.

Higgins says:
The result is that even with regular release cycles there are simply not enough person-hours to address all of the vulnerability, incompatibilities and bugs present in these components within a typical person-driven environment.

This is also summarised as:

Increasing Number of Patches x Multiple Vendors in the Application Stack = Patch Management Nightmare

Sam’s review of the market concludes that there are very few vendors who are able to simplify this situation by offering a "complete" stack from the operating system up to business applications. He actually concludes that only Red Hat provides a value-added, appliance-based option and identifies that Red Hat Network Satellite now offers customers a way to keep the operating system current, updated and, more importantly, secure.

As a centralized tool, Red Hat Network Satellite can help boost productivity by creating a single template for managing multiple servers more efficiently. It creates a system for grouping machines together and mapping out how to manage them. Having this template also means that one administrator can run the same updates on a greater number of systems simultaneously, and can build a new and completely configured machine within a couple of minutes. In addition, it has the capability to manage virtualized instances of Red Hat Enterprise Linux through the same interface.

With this in mind, it is quite realistic to have between two and four administrators running 100 – 150 instances of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and its associated applications from a single console.

In fact, a major telecommunications player in the ANZ market is today running around 350 systems of a centrally managed Red Hat Network Satellite server with a core administrative team of just three. Another organization in the Asia-Pacific region has claimed that with Red Hat Network Satellite, it can be quicker for them to build a machine using a build template provided by Satellite, than to go through the post-BIOS messages of that server after boot.

Such organizations benefit from a new-found flexibility. Suddenly precious resources are available for redistribution to higher-value tasks – like rolling out new solutions rather than maintaining, patching and updating existing systems – making it indeed possible to succeed at achieving more with less.

Learn more about Red Hat’s Management offerings including Red Hat Network Satellite.