ZenCM (a.k.a. Zen 10)

We're taking a look at ZenCM right now, as it's the Zen that supports Vista. I saw quite a lot about it back at Brainshare, so I have some expectations. Now that it is out, there is a manual out. We like manuals. They tell us what to expect.

Some quick hits on differences that'll cause us to do things differently from previous Zen versions:
  • No NetWare support, so we'll need at least one new server to drive this thing.
  • Application deployment won't work with NetWare as a file source, so all those MSI's will have to be hosted on Windows somewhere (no Linux support yet, though that's probably SP1 stuff).
  • Inventory has been rolled into the central product, so no need for a separate Inventory server like the past (the past product was the Inventory side of Zen Asset Management. ZAM now is just Asset Management).
  • No AXT-based installs, just MSI and Simple Application.
  • The MSI installs will FORCE us to start looking at ApplicationStudio, whether we like it or not.
  • Introduces a single point of failure for Zen policy, as it no longer uses eDir for a policy repository, and instead uses the ZenCM server. Which in our case will be a single server, as we're not $$$ enough for two, nor do our users segregate into large chunks well.
Yeah. We've done just a weensyiest bit of application packaging. We have zero experience with this internally. I predict that this will be THE major stumbling block with the new architecture. Yes, I know, the whole bloody industry is moving to MSI based installs but that doesn't mean we've been keeping up. We haven't. I have a buddy who works full time as an application install writer, so I know how complex it can get. This is a skillset that large organizations really need, and we really don't have it.

There is also internal disgruntlement about the abandonment of edir as the policy repository, but I understand the sound business reasons for it. The loss of the ability to have NetWare be the file-source for application installs is also something that is causing grumbling, as that's the infrastructure that's well built for large scale deployments. The fact that we need yet another server for this is also causing grumbling, though in the end we'll be using the server that was slated to be the real server for the Zen Asset Inventory, as its beefy enough to handle it (we think).

And then the imaging question... we've not been using Zen's imaging because we've been using another product. However, that other product plays hobb with Workstation Import, and from the sounds of it that'll still be a problem with ZenCM. So, no device-based policies for us.

All in all, we'll end up going with it because 1) it's free to us, and 2) we've always been using it. That said, there will be a push to use the built-in AD tools as they are perceived to be less clunky. No agent to install, that sort of thing.


It looks to me like ZCM is a ways off from being the fully integrated product it desires to be. For example the Linux management seems to still be based on the separate ZLM product. I'm curious as to what your contract with Novell gets you from the ZCM product line up as ours gets us the full ZENWorks Suite v7, but NOT the ZCM Enterprise Edition. Instead we get, according to the Novell Customer Center, only the Standard version....As for not being able to use a NetWare server to host your MSI files I don't understand why that is the case. Is it not longer possible to use mapped drive letters? Or UNC path names? Or http (ie Apache on NetWare)? I confess that I have not looked at ZCM.... Is it that the files for app distribution must be local to the ZCM server, and it is a Windows only product?Cheers,Ron NeillyNetwork Services Support CoordinatorUBC Okanagane: ron dot neilly ampersand ubc dot ca

Sorry to self-answer....It looks like you can (or will be able to with a futur sp release) use Linux as a ZCM Server to host content. See the documentation at:http://www.novell.com/documentation/zcm10/zcm10_system_admin/index.html?page=/documentation/zcm10/zcm10_system_admin/data/baf0qlc.html#baf0qlcThe same doc later on notes that you can use the mount.cifs command to point your content repository to a networked filesystem supporting the cifs protocol (and probably nfs as well). So the files might possibly still be hosted on a NetWare file server. Although I've heard that NSS on Linux outperforms NSS on NetWare, so maybe the lack of NetWare FS support is not so bad.Cheers,Ron Neilly