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Hidden Gems – Part 1

Best Practices for Asset Management with Novell ZENworks

Written by Ken Baker

The key to successful asset management lies largely in the processes you undertake. At Novell BrainShare 2010, the session entitled “Best Practices for IT Asset Management” discussed how Novell ZENworks Configuration Management and Novell ZENworks Asset Management can support, streamline and automate asset management best practices to reduce costs and simplify your management efforts..

Novell ZENworks Configuration Management and Novell ZENworks Asset Management can support, streamline and automate asset management best practices to reduce costs and simplify your management efforts.

Pre-Deployment Management

If you’re at all familiar with the ZENworks product line, you know that both ZENworks Configuration Management and ZENworks Asset Management can help you manage hardware throughout its different lifecycle stages. (See Figure 1.) However, what you might not know is how the products can help you in the acquisition stage—before you’ve even had a chance to deploy the ZENworks agent on your devices.

Presenter Christina Chamberlain, a Novell Technology Specialist, referred to this capability as a hidden gem that lets you add a list of devices into the ZENworks database by importing .CSV files. To take advantage of this import function, you need to know the serial number and hostnames of your devices. These values are used to reconcile the device to the record when the ZENworks agent is deployed. Depending on your procurement system, the serial number information might be available to you at time of purchase. If not, it might be available at time of receipt as part of a bill of lading or through the bar codes on the device packaging, which can allow the information to be scanned into a flat file before it’s ever removed from the pallet on the receiving room floor.

Within the .CSV file device list, you’ll also need a field column that contains the value WS_1.0. This value is case sensitive and is required for the import to work properly. Also, the field order for your file needs to be the value WS_1.0, the hostname of the device being imported, and then the device’s serial number.

Once you have your .CSV file ready, you’ll want to complete the following three steps in order to intelligently manage the import process:

  1. Create an Import Folder
  2. Create a Registration Key
  3. Add the Devices

Create an Import Folder

While you can import your new devices into any folder in the ZENworks database, management is simplified if you create a folder specifically for the imported devices. (See Figure 2.) This allows you to quickly see all your imported devices in one location. Also, if you create a rule to move the device to its appropriate site, group or department folder as soon as it has the ZENworks agent deployed on it, you only have to look inside your import folder to see which of your imported devices don’t yet have an agent installed.

The “Retired” status in ZENworks Configuration Management or ZENworks Asset Management can help you address your beyond end-of-life management requirements.

Create a Registration Key

The registration key is essentially a way of specifying what you want to do with each device record that is created when you import your device file list. For example, you can add it to a specific group, department or cost center. The registration key will also be used to tell the system what folder to move the record to, such as the import folder you created in step 1. (See Figure 3.)

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