ZENworks 7 Linux Management adds remote control, imaging, hardware and software inventory, a Web console, and ZENworks automated policy management to make it a full life-cycle management suite.
The new version, which can manage both SuSE Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Linux desktops and servers, is aimed at streamlining the administration of those systems by centralizing their management across an enterprise network.
"Most of the Linux management tools in the market have not been on par with Windows management—particularly at the desktop level," said David Friedlander, a research analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass. "Its taken a while to get the tools close to par with Windows management because you have to do different things to manage Linux."
The new version makes Novells Linux management more competitive with offerings from Computer Associates International Inc. and the former Marimba Inc., Friedlander said.
The tool leverages ZENworks Policy-Driven Automation to let administrators initially create their business processes and policies and then have them automatically applied to individual devices or groups of devices.
The new ZENworks Control Center console provides a Web-based interface for executing administrative tasks and maintaining Linux systems.
It competes primarily with administrative tools from Red Hat as well as from small niche players that address Linux desktop and server management, according to Richard Whitehead, director of product marketing at ZENworks in Provo, Utah. "Then we also compete with home-grown [software], but most organizations dont want to write their own tools," he said.
New centralized imaging is intended to speed Linux deployments. Reports and queries for gathering hardware and software inventory data can be customized. The new remote control function uses the open-source Virtual Network Computing client, which is secured through Novells identity-management technology.
The new release is due in the second quarter. Pricing has not yet been set.