With the new ZENworks, administrators can manage and support Windows and Linux desktops, laptops, servers and handheld devices from a single workstation.
ZENworks 7 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 suite can be used to manage SLES (SuSE Enterprise Linux Server), RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) servers, SuSE, and Novell Inc. and Red Hat Inc. desktops.
The suite can also be used to manage Windows XP Pro, Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, Windows 2000 Professional, the Windows 98 SE desktops, the Windows 2000 Server and Server 2003.
ZENworks can be run fully from SLES, Windows 2000 or 2003, or NetWare 6 or higher. It can also be run from RHEL 2.1 or higher if it is only being used to manage servers. In that case, one should also run Novell Inc.s eDirectory or Microsoft Corp.s Active Directory for full functionality.
These developments are part of Novells plan to take ZENworks from its past incarnation as a pure NetWare management tool and turn it into a universal systems management program.
Novell had originally announced that the new ZENworks would be released in the second quarter, but the late arrival doesnt seem to be deterring users.
"We recently implemented Novell ZENworks because of Novells direction with Linux, and have already realized simplified management and deployment of our desktops," said Richard Kebo, manager of network services for Clovis Unified School District.
"We are excited about [using] ZENworks 7 to manage our Windows and Linux systems and automate our migration to Novell Linux Desktop," Kebo said.
"Enterprise IT shops know that a heterogeneous, mixed-platform environment is the one that makes the most sense, and not one operating system fits the bill for every need," said Jason Perlow, senior systems architect for the Unisys Open Source Solutions Group.
"A single console management product such as ZENworks 7 that allows you to manage both Windows and Linux assets allows you to gain the benefits of centralized administration on both platforms, and reduces your TCO and management overhead considerably. You dont have to treat both platforms as if they are living on separate islands," Perlow said.
In a recent report, IDC analysts Fred Broussard and Al Gillen said that ZENworks simplifies management tasks, which allows technical staff to spend less time on routine resource management.
Specifically, IDC said it found one customer that achieved a savings of 87.5 percent in deployment time alone. The analysts also found that ZENworks provides an average three-year return on investment of 1,012 percent with a payback time of less than 100 days. Additionally, the companies surveyed reduced downtime by an average of 73 percent.
The ability to manage Windows workstations from a Linux server allows customers to leverage the flexibility, power, security and scalability of Linux and provide organizations with an efficient, low-cost alternative to managing systems from a Windows server.
Having full life-cycle management capabilities for Linux enables organizations to quickly and easily deploy and manage Linux in their IT environments, lowering their total cost of IT operations.
"Businesses today face the challenge of managing a dynamic and diverse enterprise that includes multiple platforms and a mobile workforce," Fred Broussard, IDC research manager, said in a statement.
"When this is compounded by risks from outside threats such as viruses or software audits, IT departments are under increasing pressure to mitigate the risks. Solutions such as ZENworks make it easier for organizations to manage complex enterprises and reduce their overhead by automating the management of their IT resources," Broussard said.