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ZENworks 11 SP3 Share and Subscribe

jblackett

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August 14, 2013 1:58 pm

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Understanding ZENworks 11 SP3 Share and Subscribe

One of the new features of the ZENworks 11SP3 product is the introduction of ZENworks subscriptions. In the past the ZENworks product allowed you to subscribe to content from such sources as the Novell Customer Center, RPM-MD repositories and RedHat Network. With ZENworks 11 SP3 you can now choose to share content from a zone and then subscribe to that content from another zone. The only requirement is that the two zones be able to communicate through standard HTTP and HTTPS protocols.

Some of the scenarios that this can help you with include:

  • Publish bundles and policies from your test zone to your production zone.
  • Quickly setup a test zone that includes your production bundles by sharing the production bundles and subscribing from the test zone.
  • Share bundles and content between departmental or geographically separated zones.
  • Be a service provider that offers a set of pre-canned bundles and policies to your customers.
  • Quickly populate your new zone by subscribing to a service providers zone.
  • Share bundles and policies with your friends across the Internet
  • Have a “backup” zone where your production bundles have been duplicated…just in case.

Let’s take a look at how share and subscribe works with ZENworks 11SP3.

Introducing Sharing Servers

To share content with zones outside of your own you need to designate one or more Primary Servers as Sharing Servers. A sharing server is a Primary Server that has been designated to service subscription requests and which will hold a copy of all ZENworks content repository content for shared bundles and policies.

Configuring the Sharing Zone

Now that you’ve selected the server you want to provide content, you can go to the new Zone Sharing page and setup your Subscriber folders and groups. Just like the Devices page you’ll be able to see all of the external zones that are registered for content in this page. You can organize them as you see fit to make it easier to manage and share content. You can assign specific bundles and policies that you want to share with the subscriber folders or groups that you’ve created. If you prefer to assign content to specific subscribers, you’ll need to wait to make these assignments until the external zone registers with your zone.

Next you need to setup at least one subscriber key. Subscriber Keys work the same was as Registration Keys. Basically when the remote zone wants to subscribe to your zone it has to pass in a key which as a one-time password. The properties of the key are then read to decide how to create the Subscriber object. Keys can be created as either limited or unlimited use.

Subscribing to the Sharing Zone

After you’ve created subscriber keys and a Subscriber organization structure you are ready to service subscription requests. In order for the remote zone to communicate with your zone you’ll need to send the Subscriber Key information that you’ve created to the administrator of the foreign zone. Once they have that key information they can create a new ZENworks Subscription.
When creating the new ZENworks Subscription they will need to provide the Subscriber Key, your server’s address, and their email address. This makes it easy for you to communicate with the administrator in the future. Once the subscriber successfully registers with the sharing zone then the administrator in the remote zone can select from the list of bundles, bundle groups, bundle folders, policies, policy groups, or policies folders that have been shared. At that point all the administrator needs to do is select the bundles or policies she wants to copy and then select the server in the zone that should perform the subscription. Optionally a recurring schedule can be set to automatically replicate the content periodically.

The administrator can now kick-off the subscription. The system will take care of replicating the folders, groups, bundles and policies that were selected into the location specified. This includes the meta data that defines the bundle or policy and any files stored in the content repository that are used by the bundle or policy. Depending on the size and number of objects being subscribed to this may take a while.

When the subscription process completes, you’ll want to check for Replication Issues. A Replication Issue is a potentially zone specific condition that was detected by the subscription process. For instance, a bundle that was replicated may be referencing a System Variable that isn’t already defined in your zone, or that potentially has a value defined that won’t apply in your environment. Another example of a replication issue would be a system requirement that references a location in the Sharing zone. From the Replication Issues page you can either map these issue to new values, or you can choose to ignore or delete the issue depending on what’s appropriate for your environment.

Note: If you are the administrator of the Sharing Zone it is highly recommended to include information about these zone specific items in the Administrator Notes for the bundle or policy as these can be reviewed by the administrator in the Subscriber Zone.

After you’ve reviewed any identified issues and selected how to resolve them, you need to kick off one more replication of the subscription. This will apply any of the mappings, ignores, or deletes that you have specified. You will now how fully functional bundles and policies that can be assigned to devices in the Subscriber zone that should operate identically to the bundles and policies in the original zone, with the exception of any mapped values.

If you have configured a recurring schedule, then anytime the subscription runs it will automatically download new content in folders or groups you’ve subscribed to and update any existing bundles that may have changed in the publisher zone. It’s up to you if subscription bundles and policies move immediately into production or if they first come in as a sandbox that you can test in your own environment.

Summary

ZENworks 11SP3 makes it easy to share bundles and policies across 1 or 100 zones. We hope this significantly reduces the overhead associated with management of multiple zones and makes it easy to share your bundles and policies with your friends.

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Categories: Technical, ZENworks Configuration Management

Disclaimer: This content is not supported by Novell. It was contributed by a community member and is published "as is." It seems to have worked for at least one person, and might work for you. But please be sure to test it thoroughly before using it in a production environment.

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