Cool Solutions

ZENworks Next Generation

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July 3, 2006 12:25 am

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Spyglass

Novell have talked about ZENworks futures at every BrainShare and customer event for as long as I remember. During 1999 and 2000 I remember being the Product Manager for ZENworks and talking about the up-coming ZENworks for Desktops 3 release – and how that would run on NT 4 server!

The next generation of ZENworks – you may have heard this by it’s internal development name of Brimstone – is much more than an incremental update.

This next release of our Configuration Management product is designed to deliver several key promises:

  1. unify and integrate the product components and architectures
  2. provide a single management console which is web based
  3. unify all backend services to use a single, database repository with a published schema.
  4. utilise a single pluggable agent on the managed client device
  5. allow seamless, yet powerful integration with corporate identity directories – Novell eDirectory and Microsoft Active Directory
  6. allow rapid deployment and installation across your enterprise

My next series of posts will drill down into this next generation of ZENworks – and will include screen shots and other information from the latest engineering milestones.

For the record – Novell does not pre-announce shipping dates for products. We are looking to release this product “during 2007″ – BrainShare 2007 will have a lot of information on this major innovation.

Written at: Tel Aviv, Israel

[Edit: Reposted with updates. Original post 28 June 2006]

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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.

31 Comments

  1. By:Petersen

    We have been asking our partner adn novell for the single agent since you add patchlink to the product.

    Right now we have lots of memory in use with zenworks agents and one would be the best :)

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  2. By:M. Duran

    Huh? What do you mean by single agent. Isn’t the Zenworks Agent a single agent?

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  3. Agreed – the ZENworks Desktop Management agent is a single agent.

    We want to extend this single agent concept to include Asset Management, Patch Management – and many other areas.

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  4. By:Ron van Herk

    Martin, maybe in a next post you can explain us the magic behind finding the right name for a project, I have seen the most interesting names being used over the past few years . With Brimstone I still wonder where the name comes from, is it the butterfly with the typical shaped wings that make it look like a leave or is it the anti-tank missile that gave the name to this next generation ZENworks.

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  5. By:Raymond Meijll

    Great improvements! Looking forward to Brimstone!

    A couple of things I hear on a regular basis whenever I teach a ZENworks 7 DM course:

    - Integration of the PM and AM agents into the ZDMA in an optional way, as with the other agents in the ZDMA.

    - iManager snap-ins (I love the discussion on The Ultimate Management Tool).

    - Clarity on ZENworks Inventory vs. Asset Inventory.

    - Possibility of buying ZENworks Asset Management for a reduced price if one has full ZEN or ZDM or ZSM. Not as a promo (such as the one running right now), but permanently.

    - Buy/license ENGL.

    - Integration/inclusion with BIOS/CMOS utilities from vendors, so that BIOS settings can be pushed as part of a policy package or as part of an imaging run. Central deployment of BIOS updates.

    - Include the Novell Client ADM or bring back the Client Policy.

    These are the most frequent ones.

    By the way: everyone LOVES ZENworks, so most of the students want to make a good thing better and keep the leader at the #1 spot.

    Grtz,

    Raymond Meijll

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  6. Fantastic idea for a series Martin!!

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  7. Ron – I’ll create a new post on ‘my ideas for project names’ – especially focusing on the ZENworks projects.

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  8. Raymond

    Nice questions.

    To answer a few:

    - yes the single agent will be ‘modular’ – so that you can incorporate the Asset Management agent, with Remote Control, Software Distribution/NAL, Policies etc.

    - wait for one of my next posts to talk about iManager and web-based management. All I’ll say for now is that we will be using a ZENworks web console that will snap into iManager.

    - as for ZENworks Asset Inventory vs. ZENworks Asset Management – there should be a really clear guide on the product web site. The basic difference is that the collection of information – network, hardware and software – is the Asset Inventory. The usage of that information for the IT/Finance/Business aspects – usage, license compliance and soon contract management – is Asset Management.

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  9. By:Jason

    Any plans for application virtualization? I hear a lot of noise from Zen competitors about this. I’d like to make a “Yeah, but Zen already does this…” argument when confronted with that particular feature of other packages.

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  10. By:Paul Newton

    I hope the next version of ZENworks Desktop Management will contain significant enhancements for those who use a Windows desktop OS. A Linux desktop isn’t realistic in my company. We will be using Windows for a long time.

    I do hope that ZENworks 8 contains more enhancements in that regard than ZENworks 7. My company is still running ZDM 6.5 because there is no appreciable benefit in ZDM 7 that makes it worth spending all of the time, energy, and effort to migrate all 12,000 of our nodes. If from a Windows perspective, ZDM 8 doesn’t contain many improvements over ZDM 7, we will stay with ZDM 6.5 until we find another desktop management solution.

    I do hope Novell is considering their existing client base and the fact that for some large enterprises, a Linux based desktop just *isn’t* the future. I hope I don’t get branded as a Novell heretic, it is just the reality in which I live.

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  11. Paul

    I covered this at BrainShare this year.

    ZENworks 7 was the ‘year of Linux support’ – we added many new backend enhancements for ZENworks Desktop and Server management to run on a SLES and OES Linux platform; also we released ZENworks 7 Linux Management – which provides full lifecycle management for Linux devices.

    There were also many smaller, more subtle enhancements to ZENworks 7 Desktop Management – and also in ZENworks 7 Support Pack 1.

    There are many reasons to upgrade – take a look at http://www.novell.com/zenworks

    As you the main thrust of your question – yes there will be new enhancements and functionality in the Next Generation of ZENworks.

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  12. By:Andrew

    Any enhancements in Zenworks imaging to be looking forward to ? We are pretty happy with it right now, I just wish I could easily reimage workstations from a local partition instead of the server – kind of “refresh” them with a clean image rather than getting them updated. That would not put any load on the server or network, you just would have trigger this through a policy. Basically, I guess it is looking a bit like what DeepFreeze does, or “selfhealing” but done in a crude way.

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  13. Andrew – we’ve been doing this for approaching 4 years…I won’t say that it’s “simple”, but once you understand the mechanisms, it’s very doable. Both Dell and now IBM have drop-shipped laptops and PC’s for us with our image from the factory, that allows for systems to be re-imaged off-network via CD, or via PXE but using local base images plus ZMG’s from application objects.

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  14. By:Alex

    Which database will you be moving everything to?

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  15. Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server will be the enterprise databases.

    We will also include the Sybase iAnywhere database – just as we do today.

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  16. By:Andrew

    That’s good to know, Tadd – I was pretty sure it’s doable ( using existing Zenworks commands to work with partitions I imagine ? there even was a TID for Zen 3.2 I think describing that ) but my main point was – I wish I could easily do this via some Zenworks policy. I do not think that would be too hard to add to the product as a new feature as it is already doable on the workstation, you just need to add some management to it.

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  17. By:Roger

    >>Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server will be the enterprise
    >>databases.

    >>We will also include the Sybase iAnywhere database -
    >>just as we do today.

    For the basic iAnywhere release, which version are you going to be shipping. In the past the version used was so old that many third party tools are unable (or unwilling) to work with it.

    Also is there any reason why you are unable to use the lastest MSSQL.

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  18. We always try and use the latest supported release of Sybase iAnywhere that is available and stable at the time of testing.

    As for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 – ZENworks 7 Asset Management Support Pack 1 supports this platform.

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  19. By:Johnnie Odom

    I’m very impressed by Zenworks over all (been using since version 2) and I’m very much looking forward to an entirely web-manageable release since right now the only reason I use my Windows PC is ConsoleOne for Zenworks. Everything else I do, I do on my Mac OS X machine with Safari and iManager/Remote Manager or RconsoleJ.

    Since you’ll be integrating Linux and Windows support together, is there any hope for more official Novell support for the Macintosh? We’re using Kanaka a bit in the school district where I work and while I’m impressed at the efforts they have made in regards to Macintosh client connectivity and management, I’d really like to see an official Macintosh client as well as official Novell support for all the built-in managed preferences of OS X. As these are well documented, mostly implemented on the client end, and rely on standard LDAP (to the point where many admins just roll the LDAP changes themselves to support Novell AFP home directories and managed preferences–which we also have implemented here in our District), it would seem to be a relatively small amount of engineering work for Novell to add an official set of eDirectory extensions accessible via LDAP and billed as Zenworks for Macintosh.

    Any hopes of this ever happening?

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  20. By:Stefan

    Application virtualization is high on my list too, are there plans to support that in the brimstone release?

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  21. [...] Quite a few weeks ago Ron van Herk asked about ZENworks project code names. [...]

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  22. By:Will Schneider

    I’m curious why the sybase database? With all of the linux push, I would have expected to see more movement towards a LAMP stack. I’m not that familiar with it though as we are a SQL and Oracle shop, but I was just curious…

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  23. By:David W. Cooney

    Is there any word on when/if MySQL will be able to handle the inventory?

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  24. By:David W. Cooney

    So, if the next generation of ZENworks is truly moving to web based management, will I be able to manage Windows policies using a SLED workstation? One of my frustrations with deploying policies right now is that I not only have to use a Windows workstaiton to create/edit a policy package, but the fact that the settings I put into the policy go into effect on the workstation I am using to create/edit the policy package. This means that I have to have access to my “special” workstation whenever I need to mess with a policy so that I don’t mess up my primary workstation.

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  25. By:David W. Cooney

    I have to give a strong second to this. Macs are still heavily entrenched in school districts and my managers keep asking me when/if ZENworks will ever support managing, imaging, and inventorying the Macs. ZEN is great for a school environment. Adding Mac support would make it just about perfect!

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  26. “Allow seamless, yet powerful integration with corporate identity directories – Novell eDirectory and Microsoft Active Directory ” Does this point mean that Zenworks will run natively with Active Directory and NOT require Edirectory? This may not be a popular question, but there are many engineers that realize Zenworks is a superior management product, but they are forced to work in an Active Directory environment.

    Thanks, Rick Laughinghouse

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  27. Rick – yes, we will work natively with Active Directory. See my other post for a teaser.

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  28. David – the web based management will work with Internet Explorer or Firefox; on Windows or SLED (or other platforms to be honest).

    The policy creation may still require a Windows machine (specifically for Group Policy management) – but all of the association, status and reporting for that policy can be from anywhere.

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  29. Ron – I created a post on this.

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  30. By:Doug Rolland

    I’d like to chip in on this one too… since M$ have just bought Softricity, even tighter
    integration between it and SMS seems likely.

    Will Brimstone offer any app virtualisation?

    …and perhaps more importantly, will it support integration with other s/w virtualisation
    vendors to deliver a seemless user experience in a similar manner that ZEN does with Citrix?

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  31. By:Carleton Gebhardt

    Are there any plans to include disk encryption as part of Zenworks? There currently is some of that technology in the Zenworks for Handhelds (i.e. self destruct). With many companies now looking at centrally managed disk encryption due the frequent headlines (lost laptops), it seems that this technology would be a good addition to Zenworks.

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