Editor's Note: this information is also to be found in the documentation, but as some folks dislike using the docs (you know who you are), you may find it easier to understand in this article.
If you are like me, you may not be the world's biggest fan of web-based management tools. It is amazing how good a job Novell and other vendors are doing of making them more usable but even so, there is still something to be said for the old school, thick client model.
After all, when was the last time NWAdmin, Console One, or some other thick client tool timed you out of your session?
As a network administrator I found I would have Console One open pretty much all day. Never really had to reauthenticate when it decided the timeout is up.
Now to be fair, it really is up to the application. Helpdesk applications I have used that are thick client often have timeouts built into the client. If the application is using a concurrent license count model often it will kick out idle users as an attempt to optimize license usage.
With the move to more web-based administration tools this becomes more of an issue.
There are a number of articles on how to increase the default timeout for iManager, Novell Remote Manager (NoRM, which we use for Dstrace to troubleshoot in the case of Novell Identity Manager), and other web-based applications.
Recently I have started working with ZENworks Configuration Manager 10, which uses a web-based interface, the ZENworks Control Center (ZCC) for administration of ZENworks related things.
Overall I have to say, the interface is quite excellent. As usual there are things I miss from a thick client (like the ability to have two things open at once in separate windows, but I can sort of achieve that by logging in via an Internet Explorer session and then a second time via Firefox) but overall it is actually a pretty darn good web interface!
The timeout however is killing me. The default seems to be 30 minutes and is a royal pain when you are working or discussing how to approach something, as 30 minutes can go by in what seems like an instant!
The good news is the ZENworks Control Center is a web application running inside a Java portlet container - in this case Tomcat 5.
In the install directory (c:\program files\novell\zenworks, or /opt/novell/zenworks on Linux) in the share/tomcat/webapps/zenworks/web-inf/ directory there are two files, config.xml and web.xml
In both of them there is a snippet that looks like:
<setting id="timeout"> <value>30</value>
(Search on timeout to find them quickly).
Change the default value from 30 to whatever you like, and restart Tomcat. It is not clear to me yet what exactly else you might need to restart so be ready to just reboot the server for the sake of expediency for this to take effect.
We are currently running version 10.3.4 and it looks like they have included a file in the same path named custom-config.xml that you can modify settings in and it will override the settings in the config.xml file. You also don't have to modify the setting in the web.xml file since the timeout setting in that file is no longer used. Not sure when they made the change but it is a big help because now when you do updates, you don't have to worry about your changes getting lost because unlike the web.xml and config.xml files, the custom-config.xml file does not get touched during updates.