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Using Centralis AXE 2.0 to Leverage the Power of ZENworks for Desktops 4

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By Ewen Anderson

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Posted: 8 Jul 2003
 

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

Overview

Centralis AXE is designed to assist Novell's ZENworks for Desktops administrators by simplifying, standardising and accelerating the process of creating Novell eDirectory (NDS) application objects. AXE 2.0 brings a new level of functionality, with updated ZENworks 4 compatibility, template options and improved eDirectory integration.

Centralis AXE imports ZENworks for Desktops application objects into a database, creating Application Profiles which can then be edited using the software's powerful, rules-based processing capabilities. Rules are used to clean snapshots of redundant entries, to replace entries with system macros, and to split snapshots into multiple objects. AXE is shipped with the rules library used by Centralis consultants to correct common problems and new rules sets are posted free of charge on the Centralis website. AXE also allows the creation of user-defined rules so that customer specific changes can be captured, shared and applied easily to future application objects.

The software has been developed based on six years commercial ZENworks consultancy experience by Centralis as a Novell Business Expert, and the new version includes enhancements requested by customers of more than 200,000 user licenses for Centralis AXE sold worldwide.

To register for a 30 day evaluation copy of the new software, please visit: http://www.centralis.co.uk/Downloads/default.asp

Benefits of AXE

  • Faster, more accurate eDirectory application object creation
  • Elimination of unnecessary registry entries and files
  • Improved standards, as rules can be shared between administrators
  • Optimise snapshots for use with Citrix MetaFrame
  • Check for file version conflicts prior to deployment

What's New in Centralis AXE 2.0

Enhancements

Centralis AXE 2.0 features a number of new features and enhancements:

  • Directory integration - options to import, update and create ZENworks application objects (see below)
  • ?Template? facility - allowing new applications to automatically inherit a wide range of settings from existing application profiles (see below)
  • Multiple application objects can be created from a single snapshot
  • New AXE application publishing wizard gives control over the GUIDs and versioning
  • AXE processing steps have been streamlined
  • New rules can be created directly from AXT entries
  • Systems Requirements handling extended for full ZENworks 4 compatibility
  • Updated user interface, with redesigned menus and toolbars

Directory Integration

New integration features will improve the productivity of ZENworks administrators. AXE will provide the option to create or update application objects directly from AXE, rather than creating an AXT for use through ConsoleOne.

Not only will this new facility make it much quicker and easier to manage application objects, AXE can also simplify and standardise many of the settings commonly used in creating applications (see Templates below).

AXE will also allow administrators to import the AOT file directly, without the need to convert in into an AXT file.

Key features of the eDirectory integration are:

  • Create new application objects in eDirectory directly from AXE
  • Update existing application objects with changes made to application profiles in AXE
  • Import and export files in AOT format as well as AXT

Using AXE 2.0 templates to set new standards

AXE has always been associated with creating and enforcing standards to improve the quality and reduce the time required for snapshot based application deployment. This concept has been extended within AXE 2.0, to store a wider range of default settings, and provide the option to use sets of stored settings as ?templates?. These features will allow administrators to further improve standards and reduce processing time by automatically populating or updating standard entries in application objects, including:

  • System requirements
  • Registry settings
  • Support contact information
  • Application associations
  • Application flags

Using AXE 2.0 to simplify upgrade to ZENworks 4.0

AXE 2.0 not only fully supports the ZENworks 4 file formats, it allows administrators to snapshot using ZENworks for Desktops 4, and then output the application object in the file format of any previous version. This allows the administrator to take fully featured ZEN 4 snapshots, deploy compatible 3.2 application objects until an upgrade is undertake. The application objects can then simply be updated ZEN 4 format in eDirectory from AXE.

With the AXE template facility you can also simply add updated system requirements and other information to existing ZEN 3.2 snapshots, and create them as fully featured ZEN 4 objects!

Citrix Enhancement Pack

Centralis will release an AXE enhancement pack early in Q3 2003, extending and improving the Citrix functionality to include the creation of template based Citrix published applications directly from ZENworks snapshots.


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