Novell Cool Solutions

A week in the Superlab: Background


January 19, 2009 8:35 am





Wow its cold here at Novells facility in Provo; -14c is rather colder than I like. I’m in Novells SuperLab all week with ZENworks Configuration Management. We’ve build a scenario around a fictitious customer, Acme Corporation, which involves upgrading all of their devices to Office 2007 and then providing on going configuration management. For the move to the latest version of Office, the customer would like us to:-

a) Discover all devices on the network
b) Show which devices have an existing installation Office along with the version
c) Ensure all devices meet the requirements for running Office 2007
d) Allow end users to perform the upgrade on demand
e) Force installation by a certain date
f) Report on progress of rollout

It’s going to be a busy few days me thinks, time for some background.

All about Acme Corporation

Acme Corporation has multiple locations linked by a wide area network ( WAN ) with varying numbers of devices at each.


London: 144
Paris: 18
New York: 27
Frankfurt: 36
Dusseldorf: 9

Acme Corporation runs an Active Directory forest which is structured along geographic locations. The top level domain is with each country having a child domain. There is a domain controller, dhcp, dns and file print services at each site apart from Dusseldorf.

New York:

All servers are virtualised running on Vmware’s hypevisor.

Finally, I.T is managed centrally and is based from the London office.

ZENworks Configuration Management design

There will be three ZCM primary servers in London. Lets address why we are using so many. Afterall, one server could easily meet the load. Two primaries will give load balancing and redundancy; the third will be dedicated to running reports.

Like most corporations Acme dislikes unnecessary WAN traffic. To minimize this, we will utilise local file / print servers to host ZCM satellite services which stores content near to managed devices. Düsseldorf is an exception as it doesn’t have any servers at all. To address this, we’ll be using another method which we’ll talk about in a separate post.

For agent deployment we’ll make use of Active Directory group policies in each child domain. The agent will be stored locally on the file / print servers and ZCM registration rules will be used to automatically place new managed devices into folders reflecting their office locations.

To finish

So that’s what we’re going to be doing, background on the company and our initial design. The next post will look at discovery and then deploying agents to devices in more detail.

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