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SCCM vs WSUS

This blog sheds light on which SCCM(application) or WSUS(service) should be used according to your requirement.

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The management solutions offered by Microsoft are System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) and Windows Server Update Services (WSUS). These solutions help to keep the systems up-to-date by the IT Teams. Both the solutions offer the same capacity to manage operating systems, system updates, and software, and it's challenging to choose one over the other. Many organizations face a crucial problem in choosing the right management solution to keep resources up-to-date. This blog clears your confusion as to which solution can be used under what circumstances.

SCCM vs WSUS - Table of Contents
  1. What is SCCM?
  2. How Do SCCM Work?
  3. When To Use SCCM?
  4. What is WSUS?
  5. How does WSUS work?
  6. When To Use WSUS?
  7. Comparison of SCCM and WSUS
  8. Difference between SCCM and WSUS
  9. Which One is Most Appropriate?

What is SCCM?

Microsoft SCCM (System Center Configuration Manager) is a comprehensive tool used for configuration and change management for Microsoft Windows 7/Vista/XP platforms. SCCM can help organizations quickly and easily adapt to the latest upgraded versions of operating systems and applications and applications and window updates. This provides security to the PC from falling to any software vulnerabilities, thereby improving the overall network security of any organization.

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How Do SSCM Work?

The process of SCCM is a background process and runs at a permissible speed allowing the computer tasks to be carried on without interruption or any delay. The SCCM works when the system is restarted. Almost all the updates require the system to be renewed. 

When To Use SCCM?

SCCM is a paid tool, i.e., Cost is incurred for its usage. Hence patch management is also chargeable. SCCM requires WSUS for checking and application of patches. There are many more SCCM features that allow the users to control the deployment of patches. SCCM has a more preferred weightage over WSUM. Because of its high cost, only large organizations prefer using it. The functionalities in SCCM have many benefits for the user. The benefits include control of windows machines on the network, endpoint protection tools, more control on patch deployment, and the ability to generate reports

What is WSUS?

Microsoft's Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) is a free add-on that allows you to download and manage updates and patches for Windows Server operating systems. It can also act as an update source, an upstream server for other WSUS servers within the organization. The implementation of WSUS requires at least one WSUS server on the network to connect to Microsoft Updates to download the complete information. 
How does WSUS work?
The role of WSUS is as a Windows Server. WSUS can help deploy one or more servers depending on the number of client machines and the server machines connected to their IT network. The servers connected to Microsoft Update can act as an update source for the other WSUS servers in the IT network. The number of upstream servers can be reduced to one as one WSUS server can help synchronize all other WSUS servers, thus limiting the number of WSUS servers exposed to the internet.

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How does WSUS work?

The role of WSUS is as a Windows Server. WSUS can help deploy one or more servers depending on the number of client machines and the server machines connected to their IT network. The servers connected to Microsoft Update can act as an update source for the other WSUS servers in the IT network. The number of upstream servers can be reduced to one as one WSUS server can help synchronize all other WSUS servers, thus limiting the number of WSUS servers exposed to the internet.

When To Use WSUS?

WSUS is a free tool. Hence any organization, irrespective of its size, can use it. WSUS is preferred by primarily small organisations when SCCM is not affordable. WSUS offers some patching automation without any initial costs. Nevertheless,  there are hidden costs in WSUS in the form of time spent on system troubleshooting and additional charges incurred on non-windows OS users to use third-party tools and alternative patching. Windows systems do not face any issues as it is a Microsoft Product.

Comparison of SCCM and WSUS

SCCM (System Center Configuration Manager)

WSUS (Windows Server Updates Services)

It is a Systems management software developed by Microsoft to manage a group of computers running on various operating systems. Microsoft Corporation has created this Software Update Service to enable administrators to manage the distribution of updates and version releases in corporate environments.
It is software for system management.

It offers remote administration software and package management.

This mainly performs system management. WSUS updates the distributions to the connected services in the network.
Support information, basic software information, and extended software are offered as a part of the package. Support information, basic software information, and extended software are offered as a part of the application.
Programs are used for software command options. Deployment types are used for Software command options.
A single package can contain multiple programs. A single application can contain multiple deployment types.
Only one program is allowed per deployment and in the form of packages and programs. Deployment can be done as per the requirements and in the application form.

Difference between SCCM and WSUS

Let us compare some parameters to know the difference between SCCM and WSUS.

Differences Between SCCM vs WSUS

Patch Management: SCCM plays a prominent role in deploying updates and security patches across the networks and manages window-based computers. The patch management of Microsoft SCCM is known for providing a set of endpoint protection tools to update and correct the configuration, which operates as a lifecycle management system for IT teams connected with a large number of Windows systems. It is easier to accomplish other self-deployed tools, and graphical user interface with the help of SCCM patching. This allows overall control on patch deployment and offers the desired features.

The patch management of Microsoft WSUS helps install, acquire, and test patches on computers that run on WSUS. Patching is a viable option with WSUS only for the companies that use Microsoft, and there is clear network visibility, reporting, and handling patching of third-party apps.  

Main functionality: SCCM, a system management software, manages many computers that run various operating systems. WSUS is a software update service to manage updates released for the products developed by Microsoft. Both SCCM and WSUS are products of Microsoft.

Type: The type difference between SCCM and WSUS is that SCCM is a system management software, and WSUS is a remote administration software and package management.

Software Packaging: SCCM supports the packages and programs used in the configuration manager.  Programs and package deployment is more reliable than application deployment  when used with the given scripts and tools:

  • Scripts that cannot use global evaluation have a scheduled frequent run. 
  • Scripts that do not need continuous monitoring.
  • Administrative tools that do not install an application on a system. 

If third-party updates are to be supported in WSUS, a WSUS extension is needed. 

Asset Management: SCCM supports asset management for reporting and collecting the automated discovery tasks of the hardware and software data of the system. WSUS also supports asses management, but it extends its functionality to only WSUS API, and to implement this API, a special add-on is required.

Licensing: SCCM offers two editions

  • Data Centre edition for managing virtual users
  • Standard Edition for managing physical servers

The license's price depends on the edition chosen. At the same time, WSUS is a free tool that does not require any license.

Operating System Deployment: SCCM helps deploy a new and clean operating system to manage the agent already running on the system. Operating System Deployment is only for upgrading the plans but not for hard drives. The free tool used for deployment in WSUS is Windows Deployment Services (WDS), which supports OS deployment.

Software Packaging: SCCM supports software packaging.  This packaging also includes Non-Microsoft updates to deploy managed computers. The main drawback of SCCM is that it needs a separate deployment package to be installed after the box of the updates. In WSUS, third-party updates need WSUS extensions to be deployed. The deployment packages contain multiple updates.

Asset Management: SCCM supports asset management by collecting and reporting managed system's software and hardware information with the help of automated discovery tasks. WSUS needs WSUS API, a WSUS add-on to support asset management.

Both WSUS and SCCM are expertise in chasing the modern workplace and offer patch management solutions in different ways.

Check out Best SCCM Tools

Which One is Most Appropriate?

The primary difference when comparing WSUS and SCCM is the capabilities SCCM is greatly preferred for larger organizations. Moreover, SCCM does not involve much management, and the cost of both the solution and the server resources required to run it is incurred.

WSUS is a software application that eases managing and distributing updates by systems administrators generally for Microsoft products in a commercial environment. First, the critical updates, drivers, service packs, and security-related updates are downloaded from Microsoft and then distributed to the connected devices on the network. This WSUS application is easier to use and of zero cost. This feature attracts a large number of budget-conscious organizations and offers management and reporting tools to meet the needs of smaller organizations.

SCCM comes into the picture when there is a requirement to manage more than one patch and update larger organizations. This solution offered by SCCM helps provide centralized management of resources and manage a large number of computers and endpoints using different operating systems. SCCM also provides solutions for

  • Deploying operating systems
  • Remote control
  • Software distribution
  • Patch management
  • Network access protection
  • Hardware and software inventory

Conclusion

Both WSUS and SCCM accomplish the crucial tasks of keeping the systems and software up to date with the most recent updated patches. SCCM helps in system management updates, whereas WSUS helps update the administrative tasks and packages. The systems and software are kept up-to-date with the help of SCCM and WSUS. Many times we users get confused as to which one to use.

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Last updated: 27 June 2022
About Author
Viswanath V S

Viswanath is a passionate content writer of Mindmajix. He has expertise in Trending Domains like Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain, etc. His articles help the learners to get insights about the Domain. You can reach him on Linkedin