Microsoft has a very large library of Solution Accelerators. These solution accelerators are meant to be detailed guides and toolkits to help organizations be successful in the planning, deployment and management of Microsoft products and technologies.
One accelerator that recently came to my attention is the Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool. According to the Microsoft website:
The increasing use of virtual machines—for purposes ranging from support of older operating system environments to power savings—has created new challenges for IT.
In particular, virtual machines may be left offline (stored in a non-operating state) for extended periods of time, which conserves resources when the server capacities of the virtual machines are not needed or frees up physical computing resources for other purposes.
However, offline machines do not automatically receive operating system, antivirus, or application updates that would keep them compliant with current IT policy. An out-of-date virtual machine may pose a risk to the IT environment. If deployed and started, the out-of-date virtual machine might be vulnerable to attack or could be capable of attacking other network resources.
Therefore, IT groups must take measures to ensure that offline virtual machines remain up-to-date and compliant. At present, these measures involve temporarily bringing the virtual machine online, applying the necessary updates, and then storing it again.
In the future, image updating solutions may be able to update virtual machines while they remain offline. Until such solutions become available, the Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool, a Solution Accelerator from Microsoft, provides a way to automate the process of updating virtual machines. This tool is now available as a free download from the Microsoft Download Center.
You can use this Solution Accelerator to help you with business scenarios such as these:
- Your IT organization is converting physical servers to virtual machines to reduce costs, including administrative overhead. How can you regularly update offline virtual machines while minimizing administrative costs?
- Your IT organization has thousands of virtual machines stored for months at a time in a number of libraries. How do you keep the virtual machines reliably up to date?
This tool can be useful to those organizations already managing virtual machines or those considering deployment. Maybe it can make your life a little easier. Why not leave some feedback if you have used or are considering this tool?
Thanks for reading and let’s continue to be good network citizens!