ZENworks Configuration Management

Cameron Sturdevant Cameron Sturdevant is the executive editor of Enterprise Networking Planet. Prior to ENP, Cameron was technical analyst at PCWeek Labs, starting in 1997. Cameron finished up as the eWEEK Labs Technical Director in 2012. Before his extensive labs tenure Cameron paid his IT dues working in technical support and sales engineering at a software publishing firm . Cameron also spent two years with a database development firm, integrating applications with mainframe legacy programs. Cameron's areas of expertise include virtual and physical IT infrastructure, cloud computing, enterprise networking and mobility. In addition to reviews, Cameron has covered monolithic enterprise management systems throughout their lifecycles, providing the eWEEK reader with all-important history and context. Cameron takes special care in cultivating his IT manager contacts, to ensure that his analysis is grounded in real-world concern. Follow Cameron on Twitter at csturdevant, or reach him by email at cameron.sturdevant@quinstreet.com.
By Cameron Sturdevant  |  Posted 2007-03-21 Email Print this article Print

ZENworks Configuration Manager, now in beta, is Novell's "next big thing" for desktop management. I mean Windows desktop management.

If your organization wants to take Novell's advice to rip out all of you Windows XP systems and replace them with SLED (SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop), you'll still need a separate installation of ZENworks Linux Management. At least until the end of the year. And if you use Macs, well...you can inventory these devices, but management capability is still "something we think about." This doesn't mean I think ZENworks Configuration Manager looks like a bad next step for Novell. It just means that there is a lot of marketing hype surrounding the next version of what is basically a 10-year-old product. I got a chance to attend an advanced level tutorial of Novell ZENworks Configuration Manager, which was announced at CeBIT on March 15, 2007. Previously code-named "Pulsar," ZENworks Configuration uses Novell's eDirectory or Microsoft's Active Directory to deploy OS images, deliver applications and patches to managed devices. Aside from the surprising lack of support for Novell's SLED OS, there are some useful improvements that we saw in the beta demonstration. There is now a unified agent called the Adaptive Agent. Gone are any NetWare requirements including Client32, eDirectory, iMnager and ConsoleOne. And all desktop, server and handheld management will now occur in a single console called the ZENworks Control Center and now a single database. The Adaptive Agent is really seems like a stub that then then downloads the required code to execute the required functionality an old concept in the desktop management arena. It's a good approach if the agent stays relatively small on the managed device. We'll be looking at agent size and how much processor load it places on the system when we get ZENworks Configuraiton Manager in and test it on our (Windows) desktop systems.

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