Partner Product: Enhancing ZENworks Imaging with ENGL Zim 2.0
Novell Cool Solutions: Trench
By Heath Upton
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Posted: 7 May 2002
Current version: ZENworks for Desktops 3.2
Heath Upton is a consultant at ENGL, who specialise in cross-platform Directory based solutions, including the deployment and management of Windows 2000/XP using ZENworks technologies.
Since the release of ZENworks for Desktops 3.2, the imaging components of ZENworks have become more stable and are supporting a large number of hardware platforms. With the introduction of ZENworks for Desktops Preboot Services (PBS) or PXE services, organisations are seeing Novell's imaging offers in a more serious light.
However, with all the bells and whistles that come with the latest ZENworks imaging updates, one basic problem exists - the Linux interface remains unfriendly and can be painful to tame unless you're happy wearing sandals, and live and breathe the numerous Linux download sites. This is why Zim was written.
Zim is a self-contained Linux text-console utility that reads an easy to learn script language called ZimScript. Using Zim, the entire ZENworks imaging process can be front-ended, allowing you to replace complex imaging tasks with a friendly interface.
An evaluation copy of Zim 2.0 can be sent to you on request at http://www.engl.co.uk
What's New in 2.0
The following enhancements have been added to Zim 2.0:
- Compatible with ZENworks for Desktops 3.2
- Increased security
- Customise header/footer text and colours
- Built in timer that can be used to track elapsed time
- New menu system - unlimited menu items and submenus, fully customisable
- Integrated help that can be customised in your own language
- Functions to grab network card details
- Read/Write to ZENworks ISD (Image-Safe Data)
- Read/Write to INI files
- New documentation includes procedures for CDROM and PXE imaging
Zim 2.0 includes new features to prevent users from accessing the Linux console, submenus and items can be password protected. The user can even be promoted for a password before the Zim menu is displayed.
Zim can display an unlimited number of menu items and submenus. Here's an example of how to create submenus.
Read/Write to ZENworks Image-Safe Data (ZISD)
One great way to help automate your Windows 2000/XP builds is to set the computer details in the ZISD before the Windows image is restored. With Zim this is easy, as any standard ZENworks imaging attribute can be set or read.
What can you use Zim for?
Use Zim to create emergency recovery CD's for users and maintenance CD's for users. Zim allows you to bring imaging to kiosk installs, where you can't guarantee the user will have the right technical knowledge.
Using the procedures in the Zim documentation, CD's can be created that boot directly into Zim, bypassing the standard ZENworks imaging menu. The whole process from installing the Linux partition to restoring base and add-on images can be processed by Zim.
PXE is a great technology to use with ZENworks imaging, but how useful is the Di-NIC menu? With some quick mod's, you can display Zim maintenance menu's on demand using the PXE Ctrl-Alt key sequence.
Local Linux partition
If you're installing the ZENworks imaging partition to your local machines rather than using PXE, Zim can hide the standard ZENworks imaging process from the user, instead display a friendlier message.
What's coming next?
At BrainShare Europe we'll be announcing the release of our new Ztoolkit for Windows 2000/XP product that features utilities to automate the build and deployment process with ZENworks. Tools include an updated version of our popular Zcnc utility, a ZISD editor and a Sysprep wrapper that allow you to deliver hardware drivers in an add-on image. We're also nearing the beta of a new version of Zwake that extends lights-out distribution. New features include enhanced NDS integration, multiple Wake-On-LAN schedules and some interesting things you'll be able automate - you'll have to wait and see.
Visit http://www.engl.co.uk/products for further details.
To celebrate BrainShare Europe 2002 in Barcelona, anyone visiting the ENGL stand during BrainShare week will receive extra discounts on any products ordered before the end of June 2002.
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