With release of ZENworks Reporting 5 (ZR5), we have introduced a new reporting engine. Through this article, I’ll try to explain some ZR5 terminologies along with an overview of how to configure a domain in ZR5 and what happens in background.
What is a Domain?
For those familiar with ZENworks Reporting Server (ZRS), a Domain in ZR5 is equivalent to a Universe in ZRS. For everybody else, a Domain can be viewed as collection of data objects. Each data object is designed to fetch a pre-defined piece of information from database. A simple example of this is a data object that fetches and displays the name of devices in a zone. The core idea behind using these data objects is to shield users from writing SQL queries when retrieving this data. As is evident, a Domain is tightly coupled with a database schema or even database type (as syntax varies across different database types).
Going back to ZRS, an update to a Universe meant that applying a patch to the ZRS server. Many of you have asked if there wasn’t a way to update the universe without also having to update the underlying engine. With ZR5, the underlying reporting engine is independent from the Domain and it is indeed possible to update only a Domain. This will allow us to more rapidly respond to requests for updates to the Domain.
A Domain is bundled as part of ZENworks Resource File, which contains the following things:
- Domain for each supported ZENworks database. Thus for 3 different types of DB supported by ZENworks, 3 different versions of the Domain are present.
- Pre-defined reports created by Novell to help you get started. Again, there are 3 sets, catering to each supported Database type.
- Localization files for the pre-defined reports (Yes, we have gone ahead and localized all pre-defined reports in all ZENworks supported languages)
Configuring ZENworks Resource File during a ZR5 Installation or Using ZR5 Configuration Tool
To start using ZR5, a configuration needs to be done. This involves configuring two things :
- Configuring Database details (Datasource)
- Configuring Domain, pre-defined reports etc. bundled in ZENworks Resource File
This configuration can be done as part of initial installation or can be done later by using ZENworks Configuration Tool.
ZENworks configuration tool can be invoked on your ZR5 server by running %ZENWORKS_HOME%\zenworks-reporting\bin\zrsconfig.sh or zrsconfig.exe.
For a successful installation, at least one database and domain needs to be configured as part of initial installation. The ZR5 installation/ Configuration Tool provide two ways in which both Datasource & ZENworks Resource File can be configured:
A. ZENworks Configuration Management
For configuring the ZENworks Domain or ZENworks Audit Domain (a Domain provided for reporting against the ZENworks 11SP3 auditing capabilities), this is the preferred and only supported way. By using this option, a user need not worry about database parameters. If this option is selected, the following happens in the background:
- ZR5 Installer asks for Super Admin credentials for your ZENworks zone along with details about any Primary Server in the zone.
- Using these credentials, the installation or configuration tool connects to Primary Server specified above.
- During installation of 11.3, a copy of ZENworks Resource File is made available on every ZENworks Primary Server. When configuring ZR5 to report against an 11.2.4 zone, this file needs to be downloaded separately and placed on the specified Primary Server. The location of this file on a Windows server is zenworks_home%\resources\zrs and /opt/novell/zenworks/resources/zrs on a Linux server. Using a set of web services available from ZENworks 11.2.4 onwards, this file is downloaded to ZR5 server.
- The installer or configuration tool then gets the ZENworks database information via a web service call and configures the Datasource, Domain and also imports all the pre-defined reports into ZR5 Repository.
B. Reporting Configuration File
As part of re-booted Cool Solutions, we are planning to release an experimental domain with additional objects. The aim is to gather feedback and then release these changes as part of later official release. We are also planning to release experimental domains for other ZENworks Products including ZENworks Application Virtualization (ZAV) Server and ZENworks Mobile Management (ZMM). You can also expect a domain that makes it easy to report against the content metadata and status related to the Content Repository. All of these Domains will be released as resource files similar to the ZENworks Resource File. Each of these Domains can be configured by using ‘Reporting Configuration File’ option. Like (A), this also involves configuring two things:
- Configuring Database details
- Configuring Domain, pre-defined reports etc. bundled in Resource File(s)
If this option is selected following things need to be done:
- The Location of resource file on local machine needs to be specified.
- Next, the database details corresponding to the Domain being configured needs to be specified. Thus while configuring a ZAV Domain, in this screen the ZAV Database details need to be specified.
- Using the above details, the installer/configuration tool would configure a Domain and Datasource
ZENworks Reporting 5 comes with many new features to help you get the data faster. It also supports extensive drill down capability along with many different ways in which a data can be viewed. With separation of data objects from main reporting engine, it is now possible to update objects much faster. ZR5 also provides multiple ways to configure your reports and provides support to use one reporting engine across multiple ZENworks Products.