Novell Home

A Closer Look at ZENworks for Handhelds 5

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature

Digg This - Slashdot This

Posted: 25 Nov 2002
 

ZENworks for Handhelds 5 is a directory-enabled systems management package that puts you in control of your mobile workforce and helps you reduce the cost and burden of managing Palm OS and Windows CE handheld devices.

If you are familiar with ZfH 4.7, you know what a great tool it is to manage your enterprise handheld devices. By leveraging Novell eDirectory and ConsoleOne, ZfH 5 helps you to automate and streamline software distribution, collect software and hardware inventory, and provide policy-based management of your enterprise handheld devices.

A fully functional 90-day evaluation download of ZfH 5 is now available. In addition, a new Evaluation guide is available to help you install ZfH in a test environment, import handheld device objects into eDirectory, and test the main features of ZfH 5. Download instructions are provided at the bottom of this article.

The following sections contain information to help you understand, download, and evaluate ZfH 5:

The Need for Handheld Device Management
The ZENworks for Handhelds Architecture
Using Policy-Based Management
Using Queries and Groups
Distributing Software to Handheld Devices
Using Inventory and Reports
Downloading and Evaluating ZENworks for Handhelds 5

The Need for Handheld Device Management
What is your organization's position on handheld devices? Who provides support? How do you manage them and protect sensitive information on them? How can you make your handheld device users more productive, while lowering the costs associated with these devices? These are just of few of the issues facing network and IT administrators.

In the past, many organizations have taken a hands-off approach in regards to handheld devices. Handheld devices were usually seen as not mission-critical. Users often purchased the devices themselves and received no official support from their organizations. Because of their mobility and portability, most organizations didn't have a good method or tool to manage and support handheld devices, not to mention securing the sensitive information stored on them.

In a world where accessing information instantaneously is paramount, handheld devices have become the perfect way to stay informed. Yet, the increasing number of these handheld devices leaves network administrators grappling with the problem of managing and securing the handheld user base, with no effective way to do so.

Here are the facts about handheld devices:

  • By 2004, 60 percent of office workers will be using at least three mobile computing devices: a laptop, a personal digital assistant (PDA), and a smart phone.
  • According to Gartner, the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a mobile device is more than 50 percent higher than that of a desktop computer. In fact, Gartner estimates that the cost to maintain a handheld device exceeds U.S. $2,600 a year. That is roughly ten times the cost of the device itself.
  • Between 250,000 and 300,000 handheld devices are lost each year at airports, hotels, and customer sites—often with no password protection in place.

One of the biggest challenges of supporting a handheld device is the lack of opportunity to manage it. A well-used handheld device generally spends extended time in a briefcase or pocket and little time connected to the network. ZfH was designed to capitalize on the opportunity for management anytime a device connects to the network (via synchronization or IP) while managing the unique characteristics of mobile computing, including low-bandwidth communication and unreliable, infrequent connectivity. This mobile architecture makes ZfH ideal for managing handheld devices.

The ZENworks for Handhelds Architecture
Novell recently acquired Callisto Software, a company specializing in mobile and wireless device management. By integrating Callisto Orbiter with the award-winning family of ZENworks products (http://www.novell.com/products/zenworks), Novell has brought ZENworks management capability to handheld devices.

The following illustration shows the key components of ZfH 5. Each component is explained below.

  • ZfH Server: The ZfH server runs as a service under Windows NT/2000/XP. The server is the central point of the ZfH installation. It is responsible for managing communication with all handheld clients through the proxy services and maintaining data on all management operations and their results.

    The ZfH server maintains information about all managed devices and operations in two locations. Data on the installation, clients, and distributions is stored in Novell eDirectory. Additional information is stored in a Microsoft SQL Server or Microsoft Access database to reduce the amount of storage consumed in eDirectory.

  • eDirectory: ZfH objects stored in eDirectory include the following: handheld device objects, handheld device group objects, handheld application objects, handheld policy package objects, and service objects.

  • ConsoleOne: From ConsoleOne, administrators can perform handheld management functions including software distribution, inventory analysis, policy management, and more. ConsoleOne can be installed on any number of machines so that administrators and help desk staff can access data from multiple locations on your network.

    The Inventory Viewer, a ConsoleOne utility, allows you to view hardware and software inventory in greater detail, build queries, and view reports. The Inventory Viewer allows you to examine specific devices as well as to see a global view of all devices in your installation.

  • Proxy Service: The ZfH proxy service is the interface between handheld devices and the ZfH server. The proxy service caches distributions for handheld devices, manages distributions and status reporting, and forwards inventory and distribution results to the ZfH server. This store-and-forward architecture is key to managing the infrequently connected user.

  • Handheld Client: The ZfH handheld client is installed on Palm OS and Windows CE devices. The handheld client installs applications, collects software and hardware inventory, and enforces policies.

Using Policy-Based Management
Policy-based management is new to ZfH 5. The following table lists the available policies in ZfH 5 and provides a brief description:

Policy: Description:
Handheld Import Policy Lets you enable handheld import and configure settings, such as how handheld device objects are named, where they are stored in eDirectory, and which Handheld Group objects you want certain handheld device objects associated with.
Search Policy Lets you specify how far up the tree ZfH will search for effective policies.
ZfH Application Search Policy Lets you specify how far up the tree ZfH will search for Handheld Application objects.
Palm Configuration Policy

The Palm Configuration policy lets you configure the following:

  • General Preferences: Lets you set preferences for associated Palm OS devices, for example how long before an idle device turns itself off, whether or not a device stays on when cradled, and more.
  • Buttons: Lets you associate different software programs with the buttons on associated Palm OS devices. Also lets you assign a feature users can access when they drag the pen from the writing area to the top of the screen on the Palm OS device. For example, you can select Turn Off & Lock to make it easier for users to turn off and lock their Palm OS devices.
  • Programs: Lets you specify which software programs are allowed or not allowed on associated Palm OS devices. Programs that are not allowed can be automatically removed from the devices.
Palm File Retrieval Policy

Lets you specify files to retrieve from the Palm OS device to copy to a specified location on your network.

The File Retrieval policy is a plural policy, meaning it can be added many times to a policy package. You can set up as many File Retrieval policies as required to adequately retrieve important files from the handheld devices in your organization.

Palm Security Policy The Palm Security policy lets you ensure that a password is set on the Palm OS device and also lets you configure Auto Lock Configuration. For example, you can specify that the device will lock automatically when the device is powered off.
WinCE Configuration Policy

The WinCE Configuration policy lets you configure the following:

  • Buttons: Lets you associate different software programs with the buttons on the Windows CE device. Also lets you assign another function to a button. For example, you can assign Start Menu to a button on the Windows CE device, making it easier for users to access the Start menu.
  • Programs: Lets you specify which programs you want to include on the Start Menu (on a Pocket PC) or on the desktop (on a Handheld PC). Programs that are not allowed can be automatically removed from the Start menu/desktop of the device.
  • Power: Lets you specify power settings for associated Windows CE devices. You can specify power settings that will apply to Window CE devices running on internal batteries or on external power.
WinCE File Retrieval Policy

The WinCE File Retrieval policy lets you specify source files you want to retrieve from a Windows CE device and copy to a specified destination location on your network.

The WinCE File Retrieval policy is a plural policy, meaning it can be added many times to a policy package. You can set up as many File Retrieval policies as required to adequately retrieve important files from the handheld devices in your organization.

WinCE Security Policy The WinCE Security policy lets you ensure that a password is set on the associated Windows CE device and also lets you configure enhanced security options for Pocket PCs, such as the number of days to allow before a password expires, the number of grace logons permitted before the user must change the password, the minimum number of characters to allow for the password, and whether the password must contain a mix of letters and numbers.

Using Queries and Groups
After handheld devices have registered with ZfH, you can create custom groups to make managing handheld devices easier and use queries to quickly find handheld devices that match criteria specified in the query.

Queries let you quickly find handheld devices that match criteria specified in the query. Using queries, administrators can save time by automatically creating handheld groups populated with handheld devices that have the same attributes, such as a specific processor type, a specific version of an application installed, or a certain amount of RAM on the device.

Placing devices in groups can save you time when scheduling distributions, defining filters, and checking system status. With groups, you can use a single entity to manage multiple devices. ZfH provides two types of user-created groups:

  • Static Groups: Handheld devices are assigned to the group manually by the administrator or according to the settings specified in the Handheld Import policy.
  • Query-Based Groups: Handheld devices are automatically placed in a group by ZfH because they meet criteria specified in the query (for example, operating system version, manufacturer, and so forth).

Distributing Software to Handheld Devices
ZfH software distribution allows you to distribute Handheld Application objects to handheld devices as part of software distributions. Handheld Application objects contain collections of files that you want copied to your handheld devices.

Handheld Application objects usually consist of applications to install on handheld devices, for example, .PRC files (for Palm OS devices) or CAB files (for Windows CE devices).

For recurring software distributions (distributions that are scheduled to run more than once, for example, weekly), ZfH automatically scans the application’s source directories at the scheduled time and includes new or changed files with the software distribution.

This allows an administrator to copy new or updated files to the source directory for distribution to handheld devices without needing to create a new Handheld Application object.

For example, you distribute sales data weekly to your sales staff. Each Monday, before sending out the distributions, ZfH scans the application’s source directory. If there are any new or changed files added during the previous week, they will be included in that Monday’s application distribution. The handheld device will receive only the files that have changed.

To ensure that the handheld device gets the most recent versions or additions to the sales data files, the administrator only needs to copy the new or changed files into the application’s source directory; a new application object does not need to be created within ZfH.

If the source directory has no changes during the week, the application is not sent (unless new handheld devices have been added to the list of recipients).

Using Inventory and Reports
Managing software and hardware assets is a critical function for most companies. ZfH inventory capabilities capture asset information to support analysis, troubleshooting, and planning.

ZfH lets you collect and view software and hardware inventory information for Palm OS devices and Windows CE devices (including Pocket PCs).

Using ZfH, you can do the following:

  • View software inventory information across all your handheld devices or on a per-device basis to ensure software licensing compliance
  • Plan for software and hardware upgrades with a complete view of application versions and hardware configurations
  • Troubleshoot problems with a thorough knowledge of each handheld device's hardware and software

Downloading and Evaluating ZENworks for Handhelds 5
A fully functional 90-day evaluation download has just been added to the Novell Product Downloads page (http://download.novell.com). The easiest way to find it is to perform a search using the Choose a Product drop-down list to specify ZENworks for Handhelds. What's more, we have finished a new Evaluation guide (http://www.novell.com/documentation/lg/zfh5/index.html) that you can download to put ZfH through its paces. The Evaluation guide will help you install ZfH in a test environment, import handheld device objects into eDirectory, and provide step-by-step instructions to perform the following tasks:

  • Distribute software to handheld devices
  • Configure security settings for Windows CE devices
  • Retrieve files from a handheld device and copy them to the network
  • View software inventory
  • View hardware inventory
  • Standardize configuration across all handheld devices in your organization

So now that you have a basic understanding of ZfH 5, go get the evaluation software and start managing your handheld devices, saving money, making your life easier, and protecting the sensitive information stored on your enterprise handheld devices. You'll be glad you did.


Novell Cool Solutions (corporate web communities) are produced by WebWise Solutions. www.webwiseone.com

© 2014 Novell