What is WSUS?

by | Last updated 2023.07.25 | Published on 2023.07.26 | Blog

If you’re not totally sure what WSUS is or means, you’re in the right place. Maybe you haven’t yet experienced it or maybe you’re just starting out in the world of IT. In this article, we’ll break down what exactly WSUS is, how it works, and how best to maintain it.

WSUS Defined

WSUS (pronounced ‘Double U – SUS’ or ‘Double U-ess-U-ess’) stands for Windows Server Update Services. WSUS is a role in Windows servers that enables the planning, management, and deployment of updates, patches, and hotfixes for Windows servers, client operating systems, and other Microsoft software. It gives system administrators control over the timing and method of update installations while serving as a central hub for clients to obtain these updates. It’s designed for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and does not usually incur any extra costs when added to a Windows network. Windows Server Update Services is also used as a backend for Microsoft Configuration Manager, the enterprise business solution for patch and update management.

WSUS is a tool you install on Microsoft Windows Server that allows system administrators to manage Microsoft Windows updates. It’s compatible with all versions of Windows Server, starting from 2000 and newer including even the latest supported versions, 2016, 2019, and Server 2022. Additionally, all supported Microsoft client operating systems such as Windows 10, and 11 can utilize WSUS.

With Windows Server Update Services, organizations can regulate the timing and manner in which Windows devices receive OS updates and patches. It also facilitates automated updates within predefined parameters. Without WSUS, clients install updates immediately upon availability from Microsoft. This can cause problems as it may result in varying patch levels among clients, potential software compatibility issues caused by certain patches, or disruptive installations during working hours leading to employee downtime.

How It Works

WSUS functions as a Windows Server role that allows for the deployment of one or more servers depending on the number of client machines and technical considerations within an organization’s IT network. Multiple WSUS servers can be connected to Microsoft Update, serving as update sources for other WSUS servers in the network. These servers, known as upstream servers, can be limited to one to minimize exposure to the internet and optimize synchronization processes.

To efficiently distribute updates across different locations, organizations can deploy multiple WSUS servers in multi-tier hierarchies. Additionally, for mobile devices that infrequently join or leave the network, updates can be obtained from the nearest WSUS server.

Once the server architecture is established and upstream and downstream servers are set up, client machines can be connected to receive updates from WSUS servers. System administrators have the ability to review, test, and distribute updates to specific client machines. You can also define group policies to manage client machines categorically and distribute updates accordingly.

How to Automate WSUS Maintenance

WSUS requires regular maintenance. This can be time-consuming. Enter WSUS Automated Maintenance (WAM). When WSUS is not properly maintained, it becomes slow, bloated, and can cause errors. All of this takes even more time away from busy IT professionals and system administrators. WAM solves that by automating WSUS maintenance.

Some of the maintenance required for WSUS that WAM handles includes:

  • Database backup
  • Cleaning up drivers
  • Declining update types
  • Compressing update revisions
  • Computer objects cleanup
  • OS description renaming
  • Synchronization log cleaning
  • Removing declined updates from database
  • Running the database maintenance routine
  • Server Cleanup Wizard (SCW)

Automating WSUS Maintenance 

If you’re an IT professional or system administrator, you might know all about WSUS. But, you might have been unaware that you can automate all the maintenance and cleanup with WAM. Now that you do, get some of your valuable time back by getting a WAM subscription so you can focus on bigger, more important tasks!

WAM your server!

At AJ Tek, our vision is to make IT simple and automated for other IT professionals. Our flagship product is WAM, WSUS Automated Maintenance. This system performs all of the tasks that a WSUS Administrator needs to do to maintain WSUS properly only leaving the approving of updates and reporting to the WSUS Administrator.

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