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Let's face it, Linux is changing the way networks run and are managed. As Linux is deployed more widely it is important to have the necessary tools to keep costs down and management efficiency high.

That's why Novell and Dell partnered to offer ZENworks Linux Management—Dell Edition, a comprehensive, change-management solution designed to manage Dell PowerEdge servers.

With the integration of ZENworks Linux Management, Dell OpenManage and partner development kits, you now have an automated solution for configuring and updating hardware and software components on your Linux servers. ZENworks Linux Management—Dell Edition simplifies IT operations, offering singleconsole management of Dell server hardware configuration, firmware, drivers, the Linux operating system and applications.

With ZENworks Linux Management—Dell Edition, you can:

  • reduce the time required to bring a new server online
  • eliminate costs, including travel, by managing all servers from a central location
  • ensure corporate management policies are enforced.

Server change management comprises multiple tasks that are usually managed locally at each machine. Common tasks that deal with managing, patching and updating servers include:

  • tracking patches and updates from hardware, software and OS providers
  • controlling and implementing modifications to the hardware infrastructure and application and operating system software.

Traditionally change and configuration management has been a key inhibitor to IT operational efficiency. Updating firmware, operating systems and application software are all manual tasks and likely utilize unrelated procedures and tools.

The ZENworks Linux Management—Dell Edition addresses the pain points of manual administration and provides IT administrators with an automated method to implement change and configuration management as an integrated whole. The solution enables server firmware, drivers, operating systems and application updates to be managed as a single system, reducing IT costs and complexity.

A Glance at ZENworks 7 Linux Management—Dell Edition

New policy-enabled management for Dell PowerEdge Servers
Pre-OS configuration of:

  • BIOS
  • RAID
  • Dell Remote Access Controller (DRAC)
  • Baseboard Management Controller (BMC)
  • Boot control and PXE control
  • Dell Utility Partition
  • Inventory and reporting of hardware, software, firmware and drivers
  • Update acquisition, distribution and installation

Built on Novell ZENworks 7 Linux Management (See Novell Connection article Hear Ye! Hear Ye! March/April 2005), the Dell Edition gives administrators a single Web-based management console and a secure command-line interface to manage many servers simultaneously anywhere in the world.

ZENworks Linux Management—Dell Edition automates the management of Dell PowerEdge servers running both SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Red Hat. And while this new ZENworks product has been enhanced with new Dell-specific management features, it is important to note it can still be used to manage other vendor's Linux servers as well.

The new Dell Edition automates the management of Dell management tools via a new set of Dell-specific, ZENworks Packages and Bundles. Administrators can use policy-driven automation to manage hardware configurations and system patching, all fine tuned for PowerEdge G6 and later servers. (See Figure 1.)

> Dell Powered by Novell ZENworks
The Dell Deployment Toolkit is a set of tools that allow you to configure, record and then replicate the recorded pre-OS server configuration to many PowerEdge servers. These tools use scripts to repeat configuration tasks needed for pre-operating system configuration, remote server deployment and server reprovisioning, saving IT budgets in terms of both time and money.

With ZENworks Linux Management—Dell Edition, you can deploy and manage these Dell-specific tools through the same ZENworks processes you use to manage the entire life cycle of Linux devices. As a result, you can:

  • configure BIOS, firmware, hardware drivers and software components to ensure reliability and security
  • deploy images, software and updates en masse or individually
  • accurately identify detailed Dell hardware and software inventory
  • reprovision and reconfigure servers, wherever and whenever needed
  • distribute and deploy Dell Update Packages.

> Configure This
ZENworks Preboot Services provides an enterprise-class solution for automating the administration of pre-OS configurations and operating system deployments to a large number of servers with differing configurations, workloads and system settings.

Now with the integration of Dell's management tools, ZENworks administrators gain much more granular control of Dell hardware. New ZENworks capabilities include:

Boot control

  • Inspects and modifies boot device order and initiates an unattended reboot
  • Enables or disables network cards for remote PXE (Preboot Execution Environment) server downloads to comply with your organization's security policies

RAID configuration

  • Configures Dell RAID controllers and format system disk partitions
  • Eliminates the need to manually configure RAID controllers

Remote access configuration

  • Configures Dell Remote Access Controller (See Figure 2.)
  • Configures Baseboard Management Controller-equipped servers
  • Aids in enabling remote access during the deployment process

BIOS and flash RAID controller firmware updates

  • Enables compliance with corporate standards
  • Ensures systems are running on the most current updates available
  • Configures BIOS settings to your organization's policies

> Keeping It All Current
To further standardize your change-management processes, ZENworks Linux Management—Dell Edition also reduces the complexity required to manage the distribution of Dell's periodic updates. Integration with Dell's partner developer kit enables ZENworks to collect detailed, Dell-specific hardware and software within the ZENworks console to streamline update management.

The integration let ZENworks administrators:

  • automatically collect server firmware and driver inventory
  • identify servers that require updates by comparing inventory results and the latest updates available from Dell
  • centrally distribute and install updates server firmware and drivers

Dell periodically releases updates known as Dell Update Packages. These include updates for the following PowerEdge components:

  • system BIOS
  • system firmware, also known as the Embedded Systems Management (ESM) firmware
  • remote Access Controller (RAC) firmware
  • RAID controller firmware and device drivers.

Now with ZENworks Linux Management—Dell Edition, you can automatically mirror Dell Update Packages from the Dell FTP site to your ZENworks server.

To do this, configure the mirroring service locally on a ZENworks server. After the mirroring operation is complete, the Dell Update Packages are automatically bundled and displayed in the ZENworks Control Center on the Bundles, where they wait for distribution. You can assign the bundles containing the Dell Update Packages to devices just like you do with any other bundles.

This not only eliminates the manual process of finding and collecting updates, but it also means distribution management is now performed using the same ZENworks processes used to patch and update other Linux components.

ZENworks Linux Management—Dell Edition also includes new reporting capabilities and prebuilt, Dell-specific filters to identify systems that require updates to meet your configuration standards. You can quickly group out-of-date servers to receive the latest updates via package distribution.

From then on, saved reports will quickly identify servers that do not meet your standard configuration and update requirements.

> Automation for Better Results Today
Automation of repeatable IT processes is a key component of controlling IT costs, especially as organizations deploy more and more Linux. That is why Novell and Dell have partnered to integrate the tools you need to manage the entire life cycle of Dell PowerEdge servers from the time you take a new server from the box, until the server is retired from your network. The final result, ZENworks Linux Management—Dell Edition saves you time and effort as you deploy and manage Linux servers. red N

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