1.1 Organizing Devices: Folders and Groups

Using the ZENworks Control Center, you can manage devices by configuring settings and assignments directly on the device objects. However, this approach is not very efficient unless you have only a few devices to manage. To optimize management of a large number of devices, ZENworks lets you organize devices into folders and groups.

You can create folders and groups at any time. However, the best practice is to create the folders and groups you need before you register devices in your ZENworks Management Zone. This is because you can set up registration keys and rules that automatically add devices to the appropriate folders and groups when they register (see Section 1.2, Creating Registration Keys and Rules).

The following sections explain folders and groups and how to create them:

1.1.1 Folders

Your ZENworks Management Zone includes two default folders for devices: Servers and Workstations. You can create additional folders within each of these folders to further organize devices.

Folders let you control which ZENworks system configuration settings are applied to which devices, including how often a device refreshes its information from the ZENworks Object Store, what information a device includes in its log files, and whether or not a device can be managed remotely.

You can define the configuration settings at the ZENworks Management Zone, on folders, or on individual devices. Because configuration settings can be defined on folders, you can place similar devices in the same folder and then define the configuration settings on the folder. All devices in the folder inherit the folder configuration settings, which override any settings made at the Management Zone level.

For example, assume that you have 30 SUSEĀ® Linux Enterprise Servers in your environment and 10 Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers. You want to apply different system configuration settings to the two types of servers, so you create two folders (/Servers/SUSE and /Servers/RedHat) and place the appropriate servers in each folder. Because you have more SUSE servers than Red Hat servers, you configure the settings at the Management Zone level to accommodate the SUSE servers. Then, you configure the settings on the /Servers/RedHat folder to accommodate the Red Hat servers and override the settings on the Management Zone.

To create a folder:

  1. In the ZENworks Control Center, click the Devices tab.

  2. If you want to create a folder for servers, click the Servers folder.


    If you want to create a folder for workstations, click the Workstations folder.

  3. Click New > Folder to display the New Folder dialog box.

  4. Type the name of the new folder, then click OK.

    For more information, see Section C.0, Naming Conventions in the ZENworks Control Center.

1.1.2 Groups

A group is a collection of devices that share similar requirements. The devices might require the same software packages, the same operating system or application configuration settings, or the same inventory collection schedule.

For example, of the 30 SUSE and 10 Red Hat servers mentioned in the Folders section, 10 SUSE servers and 5 Red Hat servers might be dedicated to the Accounting department. As such, they all require the same accounting software. Because groups can be assigned software packages, you could create an Accounting group, add the 15 servers to the group, and then assign the appropriate accounting software packages to the group.

The advantage to making an assignment to a group is that all devices contained in that group receive the assignment, yet you only need to make the assignment one time. In addition, a device can belong to any number of unique groups, and the assignments and associations from multiple groups are additive. For example, if you assign a device to group A and B, it inherits the software packages assigned to both groups.

To create a group:

  1. In the ZENworks Control Center, click the Devices tab.

  2. If you want to create a group for servers, click the Servers folder.


    If you want to create a group for workstations, click the Workstations folder.

  3. Click New > Server Group (or New > Workstation Group for workstations) to launch the Create New Group Wizard.

  4. Follow the prompts to create the group and add devices to it. For information about what you need to supply at each step of the wizard, click the Help Question Mark icon.

1.1.3 Folders vs. Groups

As a general rule, you should manage system configuration settings through folders, and manage assignments (software packages, policies, etc.) through groups. This allows you to efficiently manage devices with similar configuration settings by placing them in the same folder and defining the configuration settings on the folder. However, all devices in the folder might not have the same software package or policy requirements. Therefore, you can organize the devices into groups and assign the appropriate bundles and policies to each group.

The most successful management strategy uses both folders and groups to create a hierarchy and organization that is easy to manage. A good folder organization enables you to import devices into a folder so they automatically inherit the correct system configuration settings. A good group organization makes it easy to assign bundles and policies to devices.