Recently I joined the Product Management team within the Systems and Resource Management Business Unit at Novell. As part of this role I will become more active on Novell blogs sharing details of up and coming releases and best-practice materials.
In recent months, I've been very busy working with ZCM. In the coming weeks and months I will start sharing my war stories here.
It's that time of year again, so I'll be off to Salt Lake City. This year I only have one session, it's a Tutorial but I am aiming to keep it as open and flexible as possible. Hope to see some of you there, details below:
Recently I've been busy working with customers to implement ZENworks Configuration Management (ZCM). My posts in the coming days and weeks will discuss the key points when considering a ZCM deployment.
So let us start with a couple of fundamentals, what do we really need to be in place before we start anything.
Forward and reverse lookups must be functional to and from all severs and workstations. We use forward and reverse look-ups in our certificate operations such as when a device checks in, when we hook into Casa for eDir/AD operations, and remote control operations.
All managed devices, primary servers and the DB server should be sync'd as close as possible. Certain operations in ZCM are session based and therefore rely on accurate time between the two parties.
If you have any ideas on subject matter, please feel free to leave feedback.
The aim here is to start the discussion not give everything away :)
Submitted by: aphilp on Fri. 11.16.2007
Following on from Ron's post on "green" data-centres, I thought I would share some thoughts from a desktop point of view. As the price of energy consumption rises, many organisations I have visited are considering new ways of working and managing user devices. Check out the Carbon Trust website, it makes interesting reading.
One popular question is "Should desktop machines be powered off automatically outside of normal working hours?". I've spoken to a number of customers who believe that most of their users leave their desktop machines powered on overnight and at weekends. One approach to combat this is to publish guidelines and codes of practice for the user population. Another more direct approach is to use a management tool to ensure that desktops are shutdown when they are not needed.
So how can ZENworks help? ZENworks can be used to automatically power-off managed devices using scheduled actions and/or NAL applications that run utilities such as shutdown.exe. The Wake On LAN technology shipped with ZENworks allows groups of machines to be remotely powered on for lights-out distributions. I frequently see customers using this functionality to update devices in bulk during the course of a weekend.
Automatically powering off devices needs to managed very carefully though. Hell hath no fury like a user that has lost his or her data, even if they neglected to hit the save button.
What are your thoughts on desktop energy consumption? Are you using ZENworks today to help manage this more effectively?
Submitted by: aphilp on Mon. 05.21.2007
The process of discovering applications in ZENworks Asset Management (ZAM) can be broken into two areas:
- Software Applications
These are applications that ZAM has prior knowledge about. The ZAM agent intelligently scans devices looking for known footprints of applications or suites of applications. Novell offer an monthly update to this footprint data via a Product Recognition Update (PRU) system. However, there will always be applications installed on devices that ZAM has no prior knowledge of. A good example of this is applications that have been developed in-house by your own developers. To manage these types of applications, ZAM provides a second option.
- Software Files
ZAM can be configured to scan on a purely file-by-file basis looking for files with a ".exe" extension, in-fact any extension can be specified. ZAM will read everything it can about the file, such as Vendor, Version, Size and Date/Time stamp. This information is uploaded to the ZAM database in a Files Not Identified (FNI) list. Administrators can then choose to ignore entries in the FNI list or categorise the entries as Local Products.
A quick word of warning. Setting the option to collect information about all ".exe" files on all devices at once can lead to an extremely cumbersome FNI list. I've seen FNI lists as big as 500,000. If you're thinking about using FNI, this is a simple approach that should make life easier.
- Identify areas of the business where devices will have different product sets installed, for example:
- Create a separate option set to collect FNI data and apply it to a handful of devices in each of these areas
- Manage your FNI list by ignoring files and folders that are of no interest to your business
- Categorise the remaining FNI entries as Local Products
- Repeat steps 1-4 gradually expanding the target device list
Finally, if you want a specific application to be added to the next Product Recognition update, follow these steps.
Do you use FNI lists? What types of files do you track?
Submitted by: aphilp on Wed. 02.21.2007