Microsoft Windows Server Update Services OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Microsoft Windows Server Update Services is the #6 ranked solution in top Patch Management tools. PeerSpot users give Microsoft Windows Server Update Services an average rating of 8.0 out of 10. Microsoft Windows Server Update Services is most commonly compared to Ivanti Patch for Windows: Microsoft Windows Server Update Services vs Ivanti Patch for Windows. Microsoft Windows Server Update Services is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 58% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 18% of all views.
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What is Microsoft Windows Server Update Services?

Microsoft Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) is a patch management tool that simplifies the administrator’s task of deploying the latest Microsoft updates. Administrators use WSUS to manage the distribution of updates released through Microsoft Update to computers in their network.

WSUS has features you can use to manage and distribute updates from a management console. The WSUS server can also be a source of updates to other servers within the organization, acting as an upstream server.

Microsoft Windows Server Update Services Use Cases

The four main use cases that WSUS adds value to businesses are:

  • Centralizes update management.
  • Automates update management.
  • Performs general patch management to ensure compliance and protect against vulnerabilities.
  • Downloads all endpoint updates from data centers to a central location and then distribute them across the organization’s network.

Microsoft Windows Server Update Services Features

This built-in server includes the following features:

  • Includes Windows PowerShell cmdlets.
  • Features client and server separation, which means you can deliver versions of the Windows Update Agent (WUA) separately from WSUS.
  • Automatic download of updates.
  • Deploy a targeted download of updates to a specific group of computers.
  • Multiple language support.
  • Advanced reporting capabilities.
  • Centralized management of network resources.

Requirements

In order to be able to use WSUS to manage and deploy updates, it is important to use a supported WSUS version, such as:

  • WSUS 10.0.14393
  • WSUS 10.0.17763
  • WSUS 6.2 and 6.3 with installed KB 3095113 and KB 3159706

Microsoft Windows Server Update Services Benefits

  • Stable.
  • Ensures servers are always patched and prevents vulnerabilities.
  • Works great for internal updating.
  • Enforces automated updates and patching for applications.
  • Because the solution is used in the cloud, clients are always using the latest version.
  • Highly scalable and configurable regardless of the organization’s layout.

Different Types of WSUS Deployments

  • Simple WSUS deployment: A server inside the corporate firewall serves clients via a private intranet. The WSUS server downloads updates by connecting to Microsoft Update. Using this model, you can configure multiple WSUS servers with a parent WSUS server.

  • Computer groups: You can use computer groups to deliver updates to specific computers. There are two basic computer groups: All Computers or Unassigned Computers. When a client first contacts the WSUS server, it is added to both. You can then create a group from the Unassigned Computers group to the new group.

  • WSUS server hierarchies: The flexibility of WSUS enables the creation of complex hierarchies of servers. To do this, you need only a single WSUS server connected to Microsoft Update. This will serve as an “upstream server,” and the connected servers as “downstream servers.”

    • You can link WSUS servers in two modes: autonomous or replica. In the autonomous mode, the upstream server shares the updates with the downstream servers but doesn’t update status or group information.

    • The upstream server shares updates, status, and group information in replica mode. You cannot administer replica servers apart from the upstream WSUS server.

Microsoft Windows Server Update Services was previously known as Windows Server Update Services, Microsoft WSUS, WSUS, Microsoft Software Update Services, Software Update Services, Microsoft SUS, SUS, MS Windows Server Update Services.

Microsoft Windows Server Update Services Video

Archived Microsoft Windows Server Update Services Reviews (more than two years old)

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Chief Operating Officer at a transportation company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Stable patch management that is included with Windows, but the reporting flexibility should be improved
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable features are that it is included with Windows, and it can be driven by Group Policy Objects (GPOs)."
  • "Job management and control is an area that is in need of improvement."

What is our primary use case?

We use this product for patch management.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are that it is included with Windows, and it can be driven by Group Policy Objects (GPOs).

What needs improvement?

Reporting flexibility is something that can be improved.

Job management and control is an area that is in need of improvement.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Windows Server Update Services for probably four years.

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What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This service is generally very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This is a very scalable product.

How are customer service and support?

This solution does not really come with specific technical support. It is all covered by the Microsoft support that is available online.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is relatively straightforward. It took maybe an hour to set up and deploy.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

This product comes included with Windows and can be used free of charge.

What other advice do I have?

My advice for anybody who is looking into Windows Server Update Services is that if you want something with more control then you need to look into getting an alternative product.

I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Technology Manager/Engineer III at a marketing services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Easy to deploy and identifies which updates are needed for each machine
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable feature is its ability to identify which updates are needed on a particular machine."
  • "Having the ability to group updates by the operating systems would be very helpful."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use of this solution is installing Windows updates.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is its ability to identify which updates are needed on a particular machine.

What needs improvement?

When updates are displayed they are in one big list on the screen, and the naming convention isn't such that it groups them by the operating system. This makes it difficult because there are updates for Windows 7, Windows 10, and so forth, and I have to scroll through and select out the ones that are relevant to the operating system. Having the ability to group updates by the operating systems would be very helpful.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using the Windows Server Update Services for a few months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I use it on a daily basis and I would rate the stability an eight out of ten. While I haven't experienced any issues, I assume that they are there and I just haven't encountered them yet. At this point, we do not have any plans to increase usage.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability seems to be appropriate. We don't have a big environment, although if we did, the sorting of the updates may be a bigger problem.

There are two of us in the company, myself and the system administrator, who are using this service.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not been in contact with Microsoft support, as there seems to be a lot of information about it available on the internet. This product is an industry-standard, and any product in this category is easy to find information on.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. I just downloaded a Udemy video series about how to install it. I followed those exact steps, it was accurate, and it was simple.

If you already have the server running then it requires adding the WSUS role. It will take between one and four hours to deploy.

What about the implementation team?

I deployed this solution and am also doing the maintenance.

What other advice do I have?

At this point, it accomplishes everything that I need to do.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Buyer's Guide
Patch Management
November 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about Microsoft, HCL, Ivanti and others in Patch Management. Updated: November 2022.
656,862 professionals have used our research since 2012.
it_user1327200 - PeerSpot reviewer
System Administrator at SAMCO
Real User
Separate downloading of updates is a crucial advantage
Pros and Cons
  • "Downloads critical reports separately."
  • "Could be improved with additional features such as an update alarm."

What is our primary use case?

We use the solution to update servers in our company. We're a construction company and a customer of Microsoft. I'm a systems administrator. 

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the practical and security updates. It downloads updates separately; security and critical. That's very good. 

What needs improvement?

I think some features could be added to improve this product. I'd like to see a critical update alarm where I get notifications regarding critical or security updates and receive a review of it.  

For an additional feature, I'd like to see the option of receiving alarms wherever I am, so that if something happens and there's nobody at work, the problem can be dealt with efficiently. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for about a year. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability can sometimes be a bit problematic, depending on the Windows version you are using. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I don't have any issues with scalability. We have about 150 users in the company and many outside. We currently have four people in the company who deal with the maintenance. 

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup is not that simple but also not too complex. 

What other advice do I have?

I would suggest that anyone considering implementing this solution take the time to research it completely before implementation. Without doing that there will be problems when it's installed and it's important to remember that with this product there are some things that cannot be edited once it's been implemented. 

I would rate this product an eight out of 10. 

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
JavadKamyabi - PeerSpot reviewer
Information Technology Security Specialist at a university
Real User
Reduces internet traffic needed to keep my environment secure, but the integration with IIS needs to be fixed
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable feature is the decreased level of internet usage by my network."
  • "I would like to see support for other operating systems such as Linux."

What is our primary use case?

WSUS is used differently depending on the client and their requirements. For some clients, I only use this solution for security patches and updates. In some cases, I use Windows Updates and Windows Upgrades.

I have more than 4,000 clients and it is important to me to make sure that the upgrade process does not affect my third-party software. This means that for most of them, I stopped the upgrades and only use the WSUS security patch tool to keep up with the latest protection available for my environment.

How has it helped my organization?

It is a principle that you have to keep your environment updated because cyber attacks are changing on a daily basis and you have to protect your network. Without this tool, I would not be able to update my entire network manually.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the decreased level of internet usage by my network. When there is a new patch available, I can just connect my WSUS server to Microsoft, download the upgrades, and then use the internal traffic to upgrade all of the network clients.

WSUS allows me to choose what kinds of upgrades or updates that I need for my network. For example, I can download specific security patches for Windows Server or different versions of Windows.

What needs improvement?

There are some incompatibilities or conflicts between WSUS and IIS because sometimes when running WSUS, I have to stop my IIS and restart it in order to connect. I have searched Google on the issue and I have found that it is a common problem. This is something that Microsoft should solve in the next release.

I would like to see support for other operating systems such as Linux. If you install WSUS and there are other operating systems on the network like Linux Red Hat, Ubuntu, or Debian, then it should be able to update them. It would be amazing.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using WSUS for more than two years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is a good feature of the WSUS server.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not needed to contact the Microsoft helpdesk concerning WSUS.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very easy. It is a Windows Server feature and can be set up with a few clicks and a few simple settings.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Consultant at a security firm with 1-10 employees
Real User
Top 5
Enables us to automatically install security patches without an internet connection
Pros and Cons
  • "With WSUS, you can automatically install and distribute Microsoft security patches without using an internet connection for all clients and servers. It is not difficult to understand how it works and I think it's a very nice tool."
  • "Microsoft should improve their support for the product. A lot of guys are installing their products, especially Xero. If you have a real problem, though, it's quite difficult to find someone who you can support you."

What is our primary use case?

We use the on premises version.

How has it helped my organization?

With WSUS, you can automatically install and distribute Microsoft security patches without using an internet connection for all clients and servers. It is not difficult to understand how it works and I think it's a very nice tool.

What is most valuable?

I think there is no other product on the market that is so easy to implement and use.

What needs improvement?

Microsoft should improve their support for the product. A lot of guys are installing their products, especially Xero. If you have a real problem, though, it's quite difficult to find someone who you can support you.

I think Microsoft should develop its ReFS volumes in a little bit more detail. Also, I wish they would demystify their updates scenarios, like patching and updating the system.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The product is stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I think most installation scenarios are brought in with the system for the customer, so the scalability is good enough. However, especially with the hypervisor, they could develop the products a little bit more.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I only use Microsoft products. I have it for federal use and I think you have no option to do this with another vendor. Also, there are no other vendors who support so many applications and scenarios.

How was the initial setup?

It's quite easy to install.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution as eight of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller.
PeerSpot user
Owner at xconsult
Real User
A scalable solution that is easy to deploy, but difficult for some people to understand
Pros and Cons
  • "This solution is stable."
  • "In the next release, I would like to see additional tools added to fix the engine issues on the client's side."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is to update the server and Windows desktop.

The deployment model we are using is on-premises, mainly.

What is most valuable?

WSUS doesn't have many features, so it's very difficult to answer this question.

This solution is easy to use.

What needs improvement?

Tagging in the server is complicated, and it's not easy to understand how to put it into a specific category. This solution is difficult for some people to understand.

The package validation process should be improved.

In the next release, I would like to see additional tools added to fix the engine issues on the client's side.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for twenty years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution is stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This solution is scalable. 

We were able to deploy in multi-levels, now we have two levels.

How are customer service and technical support?

I did not have to contact the technical support because this solution is easy to use.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not use any solution previously.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup and activation are straightforward, and the configuration tends to be quick with the validation of the package.

The deployment of this solution only took one day. It was quick.

What about the implementation team?

I did not implement this solution through a vendor. I did it myself.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The WSUS cost is included in Microsoft Windows, and there are no licensing fees.

If you have many operating systems you would have to add more storage.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not evaluate other solutions.

What other advice do I have?

I would suggest sharing packages between clients.

I am not using this solution extensively now because I am on the architect's side.

I am working as a freelancer and I use this solution with most of my clients.

I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
System Administrator with 201-500 employees
Real User
Easy to use, but configuration needs improvement and it wastes storage with old update files and backups
Pros and Cons
  • "The interface is easy to use."
  • "The old backup files created by this solution use up a lot of storage, and this needs to be improved."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case of this solution is to minimize the data flow from outside.

What is most valuable?

The interface is easy to use.

What needs improvement?

Many areas need improvement and many features don't work.

The clean up feature doesn't work. It's doesn't delete old updates that are not needed anymore.

The configuration process needs improvement, as it is not very good. The integration with Windows 10 was difficult, and a bit tricky.

The old backup files created by this solution use up a lot of storage, and this needs to be improved.

This solution would meet my needs if these issues would not occur every month.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have between one hundred and one hundred and fifty users.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have not used any technical support.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was complex.

The deployment took three to four hours to complete.

What about the implementation team?

The implementation of this solution was not done through any vendor, integrator, or consultant; I implemented it myself.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing is ok. I don't have any issues with the pricing.

The integration is included in the Windows Server system, and there are no additional fees.

What other advice do I have?

I am not satisfied with this solution. There are constant issues and most of the time it doesn't work.

I would rate this solution a four out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
CIO at a logistics company with 51-200 employees
Real User
While this product is versatile, the challenges of competing against capable open-source solutions make it less desirable
Pros and Cons
  • "The solution has great potential and leaves the user with almost limitless possibilities. It is truly a product with a million uses."
  • "Because you have to pay for the product and there may be other good free solutions, this may not be the best choice for a cost-minded organization."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use for this solution is varied and broad. There is not a single solution that we use it for because it can take on different roles. It could be an exchange server, it could be the SQL server, it could be used for security and analytics, it could be used in cross-configuration, it could be used for domain name systems, it could be a file server — the potential of the solution leaves almost limitless possibilities. It truly has a million uses.

What needs improvement?

I don't really know what can be improved in the newest version of the product because they are about to release Windows Server 2019 and I am still working with version 2016, which is the previous versions of Windows Server. I'm not aware of the current improvements in the 2019 version first-hand so I don't know how to improve the newest release.

What I hope to see in the 2019 version of Windows Server is an improvement in how terminal services are implemented. This is one of the problems with the 2016 version. There are parts where functionality would be better if it wasn't based on PowerShell commands. I'm more of a GUI (graphic user interface) guy and I like the way a graphic interface can simplify using a product. I like to be able to see the GUI windows and graphic controls and I am less interested in using the command line because it is more complicated. There is no reason why the graphic interface is not better while also allowing access to the PowerShell.

One of the most interesting things that could be improved from the 2016 version would be having the ability to use SIC codes for call centers. They have some solutions for video chat and messenger, and other communications services. But when you need the work station's IP for the phone, you have to turn to the manufacturer for a solution. For example, with Panasonic, you end up purchasing the entire stack of server IPs to host the operation and operator. On-premises, it would have been nice if it was in Microsoft Server and not implemented through linked servers or messenger servers or other options. It would have been more convenient if it were just included.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using the product for over twenty years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

One of the best things about this solution is the stability. The last time I turned off and re-started one of the servers was over eight months ago. That was eight months of uninterrupted, non-stop service. It's extremely stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I'm not much involved with scalability because I don't have reason to scale with our business model as it is at the moment. 

What about the implementation team?

We implemented the solution on-premises, which means that I own the exchange. We did the installation and the server is sitting next to a door right near me.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

It is not really a matter of evaluating other options because I have used this one for twenty years. Nothing is perfect but this product is good or I would not have stayed using it for so long. So I base my usage on being familiar with the solution. I might change when I find a solution that is somehow better or if this solution does not meet our needs.

What other advice do I have?

When I see the other open-source solutions — such as Linux and other options like FreeDSB or Unix — almost every one of them has an alternative solution to Microsoft Windows Server. That becomes a big problem for products that are not open-source because people don't need to spend money to get a good working product. If it comes freely, there really is no good reason to pay. The development of products that are not open-source begins to suffer in the market because the profitability is limited.

So that's a problem. Sometimes the non-open source solution would be chosen because the selection of the right product is dependent on the need and capability and not the cost. In other situations, the cost is more important and the choice will be for users to go to the open-source solutions because they are free.

The point is that choosing Microsoft Windows Server over other options is not a black-and-white proposition. There is a big gray area depending on the need.

Because Microsoft Windows Server is not open-source that makes it have limited application. In rating the product, because of that, I would rate this as only a five out of ten. This is not so much because the product is bad, but because there are so many other solutions that are essentially free that many companies can take advantage of.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Systems Administrator at a comms service provider with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Provides central management interface but needs more fine grain control
Pros and Cons
  • "It provides central management interface for deployment."
  • "The ability to have more fine control within this solution is very important. It is not available for the solution in its current state."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use this for deploying and downloading through systems and servers. 

How has it helped my organization?

It provides central management interface for deployment.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the integration of updates with our AD management. You can make an easy policy, embed WSUS, and in that actual policy we can embed to the extent to any device that generates gets automatic downloads from WSUS.

What needs improvement?

I would want the GUI on the continuing interface of the WSUS and more fine grain control. I don't want full blown enterprises. I want another object deployment, in a different kind of way that the enterprise just doesn't provide for me right now.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is quite stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is quite scalable. You can integrate it with your organization. It can be scalable to what you have set it to be.

How is customer service and technical support?

I have not used tech support.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was quite straightforward.

What other advice do I have?

The ability to have more fine control within this solution is very important. It is not available for the solution in its current state.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
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