By Vijay Kumar Kunchakuri
Device Deployment is the first step in the life cycle of a desktop being managed by ZENworks Configuration Management. ZCM provides the Administrator a facility to ease up the process of device deployment and policy or bundle assignment to such managed devices.
Registration Keys or Registration Rules provided by ZCM can save a lot of time for the Administrator who periodically might have to register new managed devices to the ZCM zone and assign policies, assign bundles, schedule tasks, perform inventory on a periodic basis, etc.
Normal Deployment of a Managed Device
The normal way of using ZCM is to:
- Manually deploy the ZENworks Adaptive Agent (or) Discover the Device using ZCC and Deploy the Agent.
- After the Device Reboots and Registers to the zone, it will be displayed under the Workstations folder in ZCC, by default.
- This device has to be manually moved to any relevant Device Folder(s) or Device Group(s).
- Policies, Bundles, etc., have to be assigned to such Device Folders or Groups manually.
- Settings have to be configured for each device or folder / group manually.
- You must refresh the device(s) manually for the above assigned policies, bundles and / or settings to be enforced on the device.
Disadvantages of the Manual Assignment Process
In case there is a situation where the Administrator has to keep adding devices to the ZCM zone on a periodic basis, then the above process can become a tedious and, more importantly, time-consuming set of activities.
This is where the Registration Keys and Registration Rules can rescue the Administrator and free him from the repeated tasks of assigning various policies, bundles and settings to each of the newly registered devices.
Advantages of Registration Rules and Registration Keys
Registration Keys and Registration Rules, when properly configured, can eliminate many of the repetitive tasks that an Administrator has to perform on the devices that might require a similar kind of grouping, policy enforcement, content delivery, scheduled tasks, etc. They will eliminate the need to manually move devices into respective folders, assign policies / bundles manually to each device and manually refresh each of the devices to get these policies / bundles enforced on the device.
This process requires only a one-time creation of the following objects. The rest of the activities pertaining to device assignments, will automatically be done immediately after the registration process is completed during deployment.
- Device Folder
- Device Group
- Policy, Bundle, Settings association to above device Folder / Group
- Registration Key
- Registration Rule
Creation of Registration Key
Here is the simple process to create a Registration Key.
- Navigate to the Configuration -> Registration Tab in the ZCC. Under the Registration Keys category, Click New -> Registration Key… to start creating a registration key.
- In Step 1 of the Wizard, provide an input for Name, which will be used as the Registration Key code, or Click “Generate” to let ZCC create a random code.
- Provide an input for the number of times the key can be used as shown below.
- Also provide the Folder where the key needs to be stored and a Description to help describe the Registration Key.
- Now select a previously created Device Folder into which the newly deployed device (using this registration key) should be moved. Step 2 of the Wizard will help you do this.
- Provide the Device information such as Department, Site, and Location for the Device which would use this registration key for deployment.
- Now in the Step 4 of the Wizard, select a Workstation Group to which the newly registered device (using this registration key) should be added.
- Step 5 of the Wizard will display the summary of the details input during the creation of the Registration Key. Click Finish to complete the Wizard.
- The Registration Key that has been created using the above procedure will now be displayed in the main page of the Registration Tab. The Registration Code and the Usage Limit (Used / Limit Set) are displayed under the Registration Keys category.
Deploying a Managed Device using Registration Key
Here is the process to make use of the Registration Key while deploying the managed device.
- Discover a device using ZCC by providing the necessary credentials, discovery technologies and Windows Proxy (in case of a Linux Primary Server).
- Navigate to the Deployment page in ZCC and select a Device from the list under the Deployable devices category and Click Action -> Deploy.
- Provide a name and description for the deployment task and click Next.
- Provide all the necessary inputs as done for a normal Deployment Task from Step 1 to Step 6 of the Deploy Device Wizard.
- Now in Step 7, provide an already created Registration Key as shown below.
- Click Finish in the Step 7 or in Step 8 to complete the Deployment Task creation.
- After this, the ZENworks Adaptive Agent will be installed on the selected device and upon reboot, the device registration is completed.
- During the Device Registration, the ZCM Registration Key used in the above Deployment Task ensures that the newly deployed device is moved to the appropriate Device Folder(s) and / or Device Group(s).
Creation of Registration Rule
Here is the simple process to create a Registration Rule.
- Navigate to the Configuration -> Registration Tab in the ZCC. Click New under the Registration Rules category to start creating a new Rule.
- Provide a name for the Rule and a Description to help describe the rule.
- Define a Filter that suits the criteria of the Registration Rule. For instance, a Filter can be created with the Hostname Field of the device containing “TEST-ABC-“. With this rule in place, all the devices which meet this criterion will be placed into the specific device folder(s) and/or group(s) that are defined in the next two steps of the Wizard.
- Now select a previously created Device Folder into which the newly deployed device (using this registration rule) should be moved.
- Provide the Device information such as Department, Site, and Location for the Device which would use this registration rule for deployment.
- Now in the Step 5 of the Wizard, select a Workstation Group to which the newly registered device (using this registration rule) should be added.
- The next step in the Wizard will display the summary of the details input during the creation of the Registration Rule. Click Finish to complete the Wizard.
- The Registration Rule(s) created using the above process can be seen in the Registration Tab under the Registration Rules category in ZCC.
- Any new device that meets the criteria set in any of the Registration Rules will be automatically added to the respective Device Folder(s) and the Device Group(s).
- After the Devices are discovered and deployed using ZCC, they are rebooted and during the Registration Process, the ZCM Registration Rules take care of moving the device to the appropriate device folder(s) and group(s).
As such, any Policies, Bundles and Settings associated to the Device Folder(s) and / or Device Group(s) will automatically get assigned to the device. Once the device is logged into, the ZENworks Adaptive Agent shows up all the Policies and Bundles.
This way the Device is brought into “Ready to Use” status immediately on the first reboot after Device Deployment. The only thing to note here is that the Device Folder(s) and Device Group(s) being used in the creation of the Registration Key or Registration Rule should have all the Policy Assignments, Bundle Assignments and Device Folder / Group level settings configured prior to deploying the device using Registration Keys and Registration Rules.
A properly configured set of Registration Keys and Registration Rules can save up to 10-15 minutes of an Administrator’s time spent for configuring each managed device being newly added to the ZCM zone manually. Thus the amount of time that can be saved by automating the process of Policy / Bundle / Settings assignment to a large number of managed devices in a ZCM zone can be enormous, scaling into hours of valuable Administrator’s time.