I'm often faced with this question when discussing the benefits of ZENworks over other systems management products offered by other major competitors in this space. Our major benefits can be summarized as follows:
1. Identity-based systems management
3. Cross-platform support
4. Linux management
These are very powerful strengths and you need to consider this when looking for a product that you will use to manage your diverse, and ever-expanding infrastructure.
Identity-Based Systems Management
The fact that we don't just look at the device itself makes us unique in our market space. In the ZENworks world we can apply policies, associate applications, etc. directly to the device object, the user identity, groups of users or workstations, or the container(s) where the identities are contained within. This makes our story very flexible and powerful. This exposes the option to apply settings, policies, or applications based on container inheritance, group membership, or through direct association. Now users can roam from one device to the next, all the while taking their personal policies and applications with them.
Scalability of a Single ZENworks System
Another item that makes us unique and differentiates us from our competitors is the scalability of the ZENworks suite. How scalable is ZENworks (in other words, how big can a single ZENworks system get?)? This is a very difficult question to answer directly. Specific ZENworks services that run on the backend server devices have limits that one needs to consider, but these are not necessarily limitations with the ZENworks system itself. When someone installs ZENworks in an environment the system does not start functioning until policies and other objects are created in order to “flip the switch‿ and get things going. Therefore the bulk of the ZENworks logic and configuration information is stored in eDirectory. In turn, the scalability of a ZENworks system is directly tied to the scalability of eDirectory itself. It has been proven that eDirectory can support billions of objects, replicate and stay synchronized successfully. Therefore it is safe to say that a single ZENworks system could grow/scale to support hundreds of thousands or possibly even millions of users, workstations, servers, handhelds, and other devices - across several, to hundreds, or even thousands of sites.
Cross-Platform Support of Backend ZENworks Services
Who else understands cross-platform support greater than Novell? No one does. Our services run on every major enterprise grade platform including Linux, Windows, Open Enterprise Server, NetWare, and UNIX. The fact of the matter is that our competition typically ties our customers to one platform only – Windows. We give our customers the freedom to choose what platform they want to run things on. If you look at any large scale organization they have more than one platform in the data center. They likely have Linux by now, but if not they most definitely have UNIX so the skills are there.
Lifecycle Management of Enterprise-Grade Linux Devices
OK, our competitors have some stuff to manage Linux. Maybe they can take some inventory, deploy some content, etc. But no one on the market has the kind of lifecycle management stack for the Linux platform like Novell does. We win hands down. I typically tell our customers that we released the product at the “perfect time‿. Customers are starting to not only deploy Linux in the data center, but they are also looking at cases for the desktop as well. We are well positioned to provide our existing and new customers with the tools to deploy and manage Linux whether in the data center or on the desktop - confidently. This way they do not need to worry about the possibility of deploying pockets of Linux with no management strategy. They can use the knowledge they have of their existing ZENworks environment(s) and apply that to Linux management as well.
I've been working with ZENworks before it was called ZENworks, and have built some pretty flexible and scalable solutions in some of the most complex environments across North America. I can say with full confidence that the strengths in ZENworks truly are important, and make it much more simple to deal with diverse environments and unique situations.
I'd like to hear more from you on this topic. What challenges have you run into, and how did you overcome them with a unique ZENworks implementation.
All comments are welcome!!