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Novell ZENworks, a suite of software products developed and maintained by Novell, Inc. for computer systems management, aims to manage the entire life cycle of servers, of desktop PCs (Windows or Linux), of laptops, and of handheld devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs). ZENworks recently included full disk encryption functionality. ZENworks supports multiple server platforms and multiple directory services.

"ZENworks", first appeared as "" in 1998 with ZENworks 1.0 and with ZENworks Starter Pack - a limited version of ZENworks 1.0 that came bundled with NetWare 5.0 (1998). Novell added server-management functionality, and the product grew into a suite consisting of:

  • ZENworks for Desktops" (ZfD)
  • ZENworks for Servers" (ZfS)

Novell has continued to add components to the suite, which it sells under the consolidated name "ZENworks Suite".

The ZENworks suite comprises nine packages, available individually.

  • Desktop Management (or ZDM — for "ZENworks Desktop Management") allows administrators to install software on, configure, put a hard-disk image on, inventory and remotely troubleshoot Windows-based workstations and laptops from a central location, through use of policy-driven automation.
    • Software packages installed via Desktop Management can have self-healing features and can install themselves on demand.
    • Desktop Management also supports MSI packages and Group Policies, despite the common misconception that systems administrators need Microsoft Active Directory and a Windows server to gain the full benefit of these technologies.
    • The Application Explorer utility (nalview.exe) provides a Novell Application Launcher (NAL) view to link applications into Microsoft Windows desktop displays.
    • A Zenworks implementation on a desktop machine may include:
      • nalagent.exe
      • nalntsrv.exe (runs the NT service)
      • zenrem32.exe (allows remote users to manage a machine)
    • Desktop Management software can operate both inside and outside firewalls.
  • Linux Management (or ZLM — for "ZENworks Linux Management") - initially leveraged the Red Carpet software package (ZENworks Linux Management versions up to 6.6.2) which manages RPM packages installed on Linux workstations and servers. After a complete rewrite (version 7.x and upwards), the tool extended its functionality from Software Management to Asset Management, Policy Enforcement, and System Imaging.

Novell ZENworks 7.x Linux Management makes it easy to embrace and manage Linux devices on multiple hardware architectures distributed within your environment or infrastructure. It allows to gain the centralized control of Linux servers or workstations across the entire enterprise.

It uses policy and bundle driven automation to configure/update,secure,manage and maintain Linux resources and allows you to control workstation and server settings as well as certain applications. These automated and intelligent policies or bundles, allows administrators to provide centralized control across the lifecycle of Linux systems for capabilities like software/application management, device lockdown and configuration, imaging based Linux OS deployment/migration, remote management, inventory ,centralized event logging and monitoring system state etc. The result is a comprehensive Linux management solution that eliminates administration effort by dramatically reducing the time,expense,risk and continuous manual administration overhead required to maintain Linux systems in an enterprise environment. For more information refer to ZLM centralizes and automates the deployment and management of Red Hat for Servers and SUSE Linux Enterprise environments for servers and desktops. Whether you use SUSE Linux Enterprise Server or Red Hat Enterprise Linux on your devices, you can automate the download,delivery of server or desktop software applications or data,deploying OS patches/updates,upgrade to service packs and manage rpm applications along with its dependencies, all from a single administrative console — the ZENworks Control Center.

  • Personality Migration consists of a modified version of the DesktopDNA currently owned by Computer Associates. Administrators can use it to migrate documents and settings from one Windows-based computer to another, regardless of the version of Windows running on either machine.
  • Software Packaging comprises a special edition of Macrovision's AdminStudio software, which allows administrators to create MSI (installer) packages for distribution.
  • Data Management, a version of Novell's iFolder software, allows users to synchronise data in a specified local folder (an iFolder folder on a Windows workstation with iFolder client software installed) with an iFolder server. Users can access iFolder data on the server from within the local network and via the Internet using iFolder server web interface. (Novell significantly extended iFolder functionality in iFolder 3.0, adding support for Linux workstations and many other features.)
  • Patch Management provides automated patch management, allowing administrators to mitigate patch-related security threats by automating the collection, analysis, and delivery of patches throughout an enterprise network. Patch Management includes a subscription to the world's largest repository[citation needed] of fully automated patches spanning Windows and many Linux and Unix platforms. Patch deployment takes place rapidly and accurately with wizard-based tools and the ability to continuously monitor to ensure that computers stay patched over time.
  • Server Management allows remotely-located administrators to update, configure and troubleshoot Windows, NetWare, and Linux servers through the use of policy-driven automation.
  • Handheld Management allows administrators to remotely update, configure, and inventory Palm, Windows CE, Pocket PC, and RIM BlackBerry devices.
  • Asset Management handles hardware and software inventories.
  • Systems supported and required

    Managed platforms and devices
    • Desktop Management
      • Windows 7
      • Windows Vista
      • Windows XP
      • Windows 2000 Professional SP4
      • Windows 98 SE
    • Server Management
      • NetWare 5.1, NetWare 6 and NetWare 6.5
      • Novell Open Enterprise Server
      • Windows 2000, 2003, 2008
      • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 8, 9, 10, 11
      • Red Hat Server 2.1
      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS 3 and 4 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux ES 3 and 4
      • Solaris 9
    • Linux Management
      • Novell Linux Desktop SP1, x86, x86-64 formerly EM64T
      • Novell Open Enterprise Server, x86
      • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 SP1 x86, x86-64 formerly EM64T
      • SUSE Linux Professional 9.3, x86, x86-64 formerly EM64T
      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.0 AS, ES, WS and x86
    • Handheld Management
      • Palm OS 3.5 and later on Palm devices
      • Windows CE 2.11 and later including Pocket PC devices
      • BlackBerry 850/857 devices using the DataTAC network and BlackBerry 950/957 devices using the Mobitex network
      • Synchronized devices, through a Windows 95 and later desktop, or via TCP/IP to the ZENworks Handheld Management server.
    Management Server Platforms
    • Desktop Management
      • NetWare 6.5 SP1
      • NetWare 6 SP4
      • Windows 2000 Server SP4
      • Windows Server 2003
      • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 SP1
    • Server Management
      • NetWare 5.1, NetWare 6 or NetWare 6.5
      • Windows 2000 Server or Windows Server 2003
      • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 and 9
      • Red Hat Advanced Server 2.1 or Red Hat Enterprise Server 2.1
      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS 3 and 4 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux ES 3 and 4
    • Linux Management
      • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 SP1 x86
      • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP1-SP3
      • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 and SP1
    • Handheld Management
      • Windows 2000 server or workstation
      • Windows Server 2003
    • Configuration Management
      • Windows 2000 Server
      • Windows 2003 Server
      • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP1
      • Open Enterprise Server 2 (Linux)
    Supported directory services
    • Novell eDirectory
    • Microsoft Active Directory
    • SUSE Linux

      SUSE LinuxThe name "S.u.S.E" was originally a German acronym for "Software und System-Entwicklung", meaning "Software and systems development". SUSE Linux is a computer operating system. It is built on top of the open source Linux kernel and is distributed with system and application software from other open source projects. SUSE Linux is of German origin and mainly developed in Europe. The first version appeared in early 1994, making SUSE the oldest existing commercial distribution. It is known for its YaST configuration tool.

      Novell bought the SuSE brands and trademarks in 2003. Novell, one of the founding members of the Open Invention Network, decided to make the community an important part of their development process by opening widely the distribution development to outside contributors in 2005, creating the openSUSE distribution and the openSUSE Project. Novell employed over 500 developers working on SUSE in 2004. On 27 April 2011, Novell (and SUSE) were acquired by Attachmate.

      On November 4, 2003, Novell announced it would acquire SuSE Linux AG for $210 million. The acquisition was finalized in January 2004.

      In a move to more effectively reach its business audience, SuSE introduced the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server in 2001, and changed the company name to SUSE Linux a few months before Novell's purchase. "SUSE" is now a name, not an acronym.

      According to J. Philips, Novell's corporate technology strategist for the Asia Pacific region, Novell would not "in the medium term" alter the way in which SUSE was developed. At Novell's annual BrainShare gathering in 2004, all computers ran SUSE Linux for the first time and it was announced that the proprietary SUSE administration program YaST2 would be released under the GPL license.

      SUSE family products

      SUSE Linux is available under two brands, openSUSE and SUSE Linux Enterprise. openSUSE is a free, community distribution driven by the openSUSE Project. It includes some of the latest "bleeding edge" Linux technologies and is designed for home users and enthusiasts. SUSE Linux Enterprise is SUSE's tested and certified open-source solution for major enterprises.

      openSUSE vs SUSE Linux Enterprise

      openSUSE is a freely available, community project that releases versions on a comparatively frequent basis and generally uses the latest versions of the various open source projects that it includes.

      SUSE Linux Enterprise is SUSE's commercial edition, which SUSE releases much less frequently, enabling it to offer support more effectively for enterprise/production deployments. SUSE typically uses a version of openSUSE as the basis for SUSE Linux Enterprise.

      SUSE Linux Enterprise Server vs Desktop

      SUSE offers SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop. Each focuses on packages that fit its specific purpose. For example, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop does not include the Apache Web Server, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server does not include Xgl/Compiz.

      SUSE Linux Enterprise

      Novell develops multiple products for its "enterprise" business line. These business products target corporate environments, with a higher life cycle (7 years, extendable to 10), a longer development cycle (24 to 36 months), a guarantee of stability at the potential expense of development speed, technical support and certification by independent hardware and software vendors. SUSE Linux Enterprise products are only available for sale (updates fees).

      SUSE Linux Enterprise has fewer packages than the openSUSE distribution. Most of the difference are desktop applications which are more suited to consumers than to business. The enterprise products are:

      • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is a server-oriented operating system targeted at corporate environments.
      • SUSE Linux Enterprise Real Time is a modified version of SLES supporting low-latency operations where the time factor is critical.
      • SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop is a desktop-oriented operating system targeted at corporate environments.
      • SUSE Linux Enterprise Thin Client (SLETC) is a modified version of SLED targeted at thin client terminals.

      When installed using a Linux kernel, Novell Open Enterprise Server (OES) uses SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as a platform. This product is also known as OES-Linux.

      Microsoft agreement

      On November 3, 2006 (renewed July 25, 2011), Novell signed an agreement with Microsoft covering improvement of SUSE's interoperability with Microsoft Windows, cross-promotion/marketing of both products and patent cross-licensing . The agreement is considered controversial by part of the Free Software community.

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