I'm about to install a pile of identical machines in a reservations hall, and I though it'd be nice to use some kind of centralised update tool so we don't have zillions of machines all updating via the Internet to Windows Update.

So I had a bit of a scan of the Microsoft Web site, and came across Windows Server Update Services (WSUS). A download of a huge installer and a whopping great manual later, and I resigned myself to a morning spent faffing about trying to figure stuff out - not least because it relies on you using IIS on the server and I was a little nervous about it co-existing with Apache (the latter drives some browser-based bespoke applications).

An hour and a bit later, WSUS was happily humming along and downloading its updates, keeping me updated with progress via its browser-based interface, and generally working with no stress to me whatsoever. Approving updates turned out to be a breeze (it won't install anything you haven't approved, so you don't inadvertently break your world in the middle of the night with a dodgy update) and so when my pile of kit arrives, I have every confidence that they'll update themselves just fine via this whizzy little application. Okay, it's occupying a vast amount of the server disk, but that's just down to the fact that it's a repository of lots of updates for a variety of OSs and applications.

If only life as a techie were always that simple!