Annoying Novell Client Isnt Quite Gone

The chief difference between the Novell Client of old and Novell Inc.'s new Desktop Management Agent is significant: DMA isn't a network redirector.

The chief difference between the Novell Client of old and Novell Inc.s new Desktop Management Agent is significant: DMA isnt a network redirector.

That distinction is important because Novell Client (often referred to in the field as Client 32) was a general nuisance and often a time-intensive bother for IT staff to install and maintain. DMA, which Novell has used for the last couple of years instead of Client 32, acts as a proxy service in the HTTP stack. DMA is what ZENworks 6.5 administrators will care most about.

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IT managers should be aware, however, that there is another nettlesome component of ZENworks 6.5 of which IT managers should be aware. DMA is actually functionality the ZENworks team hooks on top of Novells NetIdentity Agent—a piece of Novell code used across product lines to provide secure access. ZENworks 6.5 rides on top of NetIdentity Agent to provide log-in policies to workstations. This proved to be annoying during our tests, particularly because it looked so much like the problematic Client 32.

The only way Novell can provide policy actions is to insert Novell technology in the Windows Graphical Identification and Authentication process at log-in or boot-up, company officials said. Thus, when NetIdentity Agent is modified by the ZENworks DMA code, the Windows log-in changes to show the Novell invitation to access the computer.

IT managers who introduce ZENworks 6.5 to new users will immediately be confronted with the problem of a new user log-in screen. This likely wont work that well for IT staff members who are trying to support all the advanced features that ZENworks 6.5 provides.

Our only advice is to prepare new users for a change in the way their log-in screen works and reassure IT staff that the new method shouldnt introduce the problems they may be familiar with from their Client 32 experience.

ZENworks 6.5 requires that any server or workstation that is still using an older version of Novell Client must upgrade to the latest version of Novell Client, as well as install DMA. IT administrators should factor this requirement into their estimates of the time needed to upgrade.

During our tests, upgrading the client turned out to be a painless process. Organizations that are already using a previous version of ZENworks for Desktops should be able to use that system to deploy the new client.

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