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Using Centralis AXE and ZENworks to Deliver Thin Client Server snAppShots

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench
By Ewen Anderson

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Posted: 4 Mar 2002

Ewen Anderson is the Managing Director of Centralis, a Novell Solutions Partner who specialise in developing software to assist ZENworks administrators managing both PC and Citrix MetaFrame environments.


This document presents a major application for Centralis AXE, using a customer case study as an example.

Centralis AXE is designed to assist users of Novell's ZENworks for Desktops by simplifying, standardising and accelerating the process of creating Novell eDirectory (NDS) application objects.

Centralis AXE imports ZENworks for Desktops AXT or AOT files into a database, creating Application Profiles which can then be edited using the software's powerful processing capabilities. Centralis AXE contains built-in editing Rules to correct common problems and allows the creation of user-defined Rules so that new knowledge can be captured, stored and applied easily to future AXT files. These can then be published directly from AXE, creating both the eDir object and the Citrix MetaFrame published application.


Many Centralis customers wish to take advantage of the flexibility and cost of ownership benefits associated with Thin Client Server solutions, but also want to retain their investment in eDirectory, and to take advantage of the flexibility and functionality of ZENworks for Desktops.

Centralis uses ZENworks for Desktops to snapshot applications directly on the Terminal Server itself. This allows the customer to deploy snapshot based applications directly to all users. There are three main benefits to this approach.

  1. Applications are delivered to the users fully customised via the snapshot and directory when they use the application for the first time. This ensures that the company standard configuration is used, that personalisation is fully supported, and that opportunity for user error during configuration is minimised.
  2. Many of the advanced features of ZENworks, including Verify, can be very useful within the Thin Client Server Environment ZENworks ensures that application installation to all the Thin Client Servers is standard, reducing support costs maintaining the flexibility of making controlled changes.
  3. The disadvantage found by many customers is that snAppShots taken of applications under Thin Client Server capture a large number of unnecessary entries, do not deploy correctly, and some actions such as "user driven Verify" can have a serious impact on the performance of the server.


Centralis AXE is used to ensure that Thin Client Server application installations have all the necessary entries and settings modified before they are deployed.

"Centralis AXE does this and more, which saves UCI Logistics hours of work creating new application objects," said Simon Salloway, PC Support Manager at UCI Logistics.

As well as the standard PC benefits of accelerating application processing and simplifying compatibility, Centralis AXE has a number of additional benefits when used with ZENworks in Thin Client Server environments:

  • Application Splitting -- Centralis AXE can automatically separate user from shared components, meaning that user installations are faster, and the use of options such as Verify is optimised
  • snAppShot Cleaning -- Under Thin Client Server, additional rules remove many more duplicated and redundant entries from snAppShots reducing object size and decreasing potential installation problems
  • Citrix Templates -- Centralis AXE can store default settings for Citrix MetaFrame published applications
  • Citrix Publishing -- Centralis AXE can create Citrix published applications directly from the processed ZENworks snapshot

Customer Results

The long term benefits for UCI Logistics have been quickly seen in terms of reduced maintenance, increased delivery and the reliability of the desktops has been improved further through standardisation. "Centralis has brought together the Novell and Citrix technologies to create a first-class solution. When we moved our users from Office 95 to Office 97 we had to visit every PC", says Kevin Higgs, IT Director at UCI Logistics. "Now we are moving to Office 2000 by deploying a ZENworks snAppShot to the Citrix MetaFrame server farm -- that's a big difference. We really have improved our capacity to manage the network and improve the service we deliver to our users."

Cool Solutions Offer

Any Cool Solutions readers who order Centralis AXE up until the end of 2004 will be provided with 12 months free upgrade protection. Simply quote "Cool Solutions offer" on the order to activate.

Useful Links

For more detailed information, please check out the Centralis AXE APPNote.

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