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ZENworks for Servers Q&A

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Jason Werner

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Posted: 9 Feb 2000
 

Q: What Is ZENworks for servers?

A: ZENworks for Servers is a product in the Novell ZENworks product family. It provides automated server management with policies and fan-out distribution. From a single point of administration, you can automate standardized server configurations and distribute and install server software to any server in your NDS tree. With ZENworks for Servers, NDS-based policies perform routine server management tasks on a schedule or in response to an event. This requires less IT resources for server management because servers are managed as groups, not individuals.

Q: Can ZENworks for Servers help distribute Microsoft Office 2000?

A: Absolutely. ZENworks for Servers can be used to distribute Office to NetWare servers as a staging area for ZENworks for Desktops (the product formerly known simply as ZENworks). ZENworks for Desktops will then distribute Office 2000 to the desktop and automate any needed configuration changes.

Q: What is the difference between ZENworks for Servers and Novell's ManageWise product?

A: ZENworks for Servers, with its software distribution capabilities and its policy management capabilities, automates the distribution, installation and configurations of servers and server-based applications. ManageWise provides network discovery/mapping, network monitoring and trending, and standard SNMP alert management.

Q: What is a "policy" and what kinds of policies are there?

A: A policy is any defined set of configurations or set of actions that an administrator may want applied to servers. It may be activated on a routine scheduled or in response to an event, such as bringing a server down. Any number of polices may be applied to a server.

ZfS includes thirteen customizable kinds of policies, including the following:

  1. Server Down: Schedules server downs, the routine a server goes through to properly come down and/or restart, and what server conditions should over-ride a server down.
  2. NetWare Set Parameters: Automate the creation of standardized server configurations and enforce server configuration compliance.
  3. Server Scripts: Runs Perl or NetBasic scripts or a NetWare .ncf file on a set schedule.
  4. Scheduled Load/Unload: Automates loading and unloading of NetWare or Java processes on a set schedule.
  5. Text Change: Edits the any text file stored on a server, including NetWare configuration files.
  6. ZENworks for Servers: Policies used to manage ZENworks for Servers across the network.
  7. SMTP Configuration: Automate servers' SMTP alert configurations

An example of an event that ZENworks for Servers watches for is the Down command. A set of actions may be defined for this command. This set could include starting or stopping applications, or notifying an Administrator through e-mail or pager that someone is bringing down the server. The policy may disallow the server from being brought down if a critical process is in process.

Q: Why is ZENworks for Servers NDS based, and what advantage does that give me?

A: ZFS builds on your in-place NDS investment so you don't have to implement repetitive infrastructure. NDS provides a unifying view of your whole network, contains your security, and allows you to manage the relationships between network devices and users. All of which are required for server policies and fan-out distribution. The combination of NDS and ZENworks for Servers allow you to securely create policies or distributions and apply them to servers throughout your network. Without NDS you would have to maintain several parallel management infrastructures which would require manual updates to each whenever a change was made.

Q: What kinds of problems will ZENworks for Servers software distribution solve?

A:

  • Reduce repetitive server management tasks that must be performed on each server.
  • Insure that servers are configured to provide optimal performance.
  • Keep server content (files) up to date so users have the information they need.
  • Automate server installation of mission critical applications.
  • Reduce the bandwidth needed to distribute large amounts of server contents.

Q: How does ZENworks for Servers software distribution work?

A: ZENworks for Servers fan-out distribution uses a method called Tiered Electronic Distribution (TED). TED distributes software from one server to a list of other servers called proxies. These proxy-servers then distribute this software to other servers and/or proxies. This tiered approach allows the software to scale up easily, because there is no limit to the number of tiers allowed. For example, one server could distribute software to 40 proxy servers, and each of these proxy servers could tier out to 40 more proxies and if each of these proxies distributed to 40 servers, then 1600 servers would be getting software.

Q: What kinds of things can you distribute using ZENworks for Servers?

A: Any file that can be held in a server's file system can be distributed. Examples include groups of individual files or whole file directories. ZFS can also distribute server applications including the automation needed to install the software on servers.

Q: Can you schedule a time when you want update servers and software?

A: Yes, you can schedule when you want distributions to reach their destination servers. This is an important feature because maintenance windows are often short and bandwidth isn't unlimited. This can be setup as a one-time scheduled event or run on a regular schedule. In addition to scheduling the time for the update to occur, it is possible to meter the amount of bandwidth taken by the distribution.

Q: What platforms will ZENworks for Servers work on?

A: The first version of ZENworks for Servers works on NetWare 4.11 and higher. Since much of the software has been developed in Java, future versions will easily move to other platforms.

Q: How is ZENworks for Servers licensed?

A: The product is licensed based on the number of users who connect to the servers you are managing using ZENworks for Servers.

Example 1): If you want to use ZfS to manage all of your servers and you have 300 network users, you would purchase 300 user licenses. This allows you to use the product on all of your servers. If you add a new server after that, you are licensed to use the product on the new server as well.

Example 2) If you want to use ZfS to manage your four accounting servers, and you have 50 network users who access the four accounting servers, you would purchase 50 user licenses.

Q: Where can I go to learn more about the product?

A: ZENworks for Servers product page

About the Author

Jason Werner is a manager of network marketing for Novell. He is responsible for the worldwide marketing of Novell's ZENworks for Servers and ManageWise products. Werner graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor's degree in communications. Before coming to Novell, Werner worked as marketing manager and public relations manager for WordPerfect. During his time with Novell, Werner has worked in a variety of roles including senior public relations and analyst relations manager for NetWare marketing. He has more than six years of experience marketing Novell products.


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