End of Support for Windows Server as a ZENworks Primary Server Platform

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ZENworks 23.4 (released Nov 2023) is the last version that will support the installation and running of the ZENworks Primary Server on a Windows Server.

Why is support on Windows Server ending?

There are several factors involved in this decision:

  • Windows Server is the least used of the three platforms supported for ZENworks Primary Servers and the number continues to decrease. This is primarily due to customer adoption of the ZENworks Appliance, which has equivalent performance to Windows Server with the advantages of having a much easier platform upgrade process and no operating system licensing costs.
  • We are making server-side improvements based on Docker containers that are only available on Linux platforms. These improvements will provide a simpler, more reliable ZENworks installation, upgrade, and system update experience.
  • Focusing on the Linux platform provides faster implementation of enhancements and greater reliability for customers, as well as supports our ongoing journey to provide a Cloud offering.

What are my platform options?

You will have two options for running your ZENworks Primary Servers:

  • The ZENworks Appliance: This is a SUSE Linux appliance that can run on the following hypervisors:
    • VMWare esxi
    • Microsoft Hyper-V Server
    • SUSE XEN  
    • Citrix Hypervisor (formerly XenServer)
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server: You can install the ZENworks Primary Server directly on SLES.

Is there a preferred option?

We recommend you migrate your Windows Primary Servers to the ZENworks Appliance. There are no additional licensing costs for the ZENworks Appliance. The SUSE Linux version on which the Appliance is built is included free of charge.

We will be releasing a migration tool, new ZENworks 23.4 ISO, and new ZENworks 23.4 Appliance ISO prior to the next ZENworks release (ZENworks 24.2) to help automate the process; stay tuned for an announcement when these are ready. If you can't wait for the migration tool, you can follow the steps in the Moving from a Windows or Linux Primary Server to Appliance documentation to perform the migration manually.

What if I can’t migrate my Windows Primary Servers by ZENworks 24.2?

The ZENworks 23.4 release—the last version that will support Windows Primary Servers—is supported until November 30, 2026 (see the Product Support Lifecycle). You can remain on ZENworks 23.4 and receive support until that date. However, new features and functionality introduced in ZENworks 24.2 and newer versions will not be made available in older versions.

Can I run other software/applications on the ZENworks Appliance?

Yes, the ZENworks license allows you to “install systems utilities, resource management software, antivirus software or similar software used solely for the purpose of administration, performance enhancement, and/or preventive maintenance of ZENworks (“Support Software”).” The license states:

ZENworks may include components of the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server product (SLES). Licensee acknowledges and agrees to the following restriction with respect to use of SLES: notwithstanding the license grant in the SLES end user license agreement that may accompany the copy of SLES Licensee received with the Licensed Software, Licensee agrees to use such SLES solely for the purpose of running ZENworks and not as a general purpose operating system. The Licensee is permitted to install systems utilities, resource management software, antivirus software or similar software used solely for the purpose of administration, performance enhancement, and/or preventive maintenance of ZENworks (“Support Software”) If Licensee did not receive a copy of the SLES end user license agreement, it can be found at http://www.suse.com/licensing/eula/.

I’m not a Linux guru. Where do I find help?

If you are not a Linux guru, we strongly recommend that you use the ZENworks Appliance. The Appliance Console includes tools to help you manage the appliance without needing extensive Linux knowledge. In addition, the ZENworks Appliance documentation helps you perform common management tasks.

How is end of support being enforced?

When you update from ZENworks 23.4 to a newer ZENworks version (i.e. ZENworks 24.2), the System Update checks for Windows Primary Servers in your zone. If a Windows Primary Server is detected, the update stops. You will need to move all Primary Servers to the ZENworks Appliance or SLE Servers before updating.

NOTE: ZENworks 23.4 is a mandatory version, meaning you must install 23.4 before updating to ZENworks 24.2 (or newer versions). You cannot update directly from ZENworks 23.3 (or older versions) to a ZENworks 24.2 version.

Does this affect my ZENworks database choice?

No. PostgreSQL, MS SQL, and Oracle are still supported.

Does this affect platform support for managed devices?

No. This only affects platform support for ZENworks Primary Servers. Windows managed devices continue to be supported.

Does this affect platform support for Satellites?

No. This only affects platform support for ZENworks Primary Servers. Windows Satellites continue to be supported.

Who do I contact if I have more questions?

If you have additional questions, please contact your Sales Account Representative or send an email to zen@opentext.com.

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Comment List
  • I'm not trying to tell you you're wrong, simply that one of the problems with the appliance you mentioned is corrected and another has an easy work-around if it's not already resolved.  You're right of course about the telemetry; I tend to let my servers phone home if they want to, I know many do not.  However I'm sure they have other ways to know with reasonable accuracy how many shops run Zenworks primary servers on Linux or appliance vs. Windows.

  • No, you can't turn off mandatory telemetry data collection, but you can certainly stop it from going out through your firewall, as I suspect many organizations do.  I can confirm that no telemetry information has departed my environment since February 2020 when it was run once manually.

    And thank you for confirming what I said about log files and disk re-sizing being past and possibly still problems with regard to disk resizing and reporting.  It validated what I stated in that if Opentext are going to mandate Linux only Primary servers they need to be "Bullet Proof." 

    While many environments will have a mix of OS in their fleet and therefore have a deal Linux experience (as we do) there are some that do not. None the less we have a very small IT team and do not have the time to deal with troublesome systems and my experience has been that ZENworks Primary appliances are way more troublesome than a Windows Primary.

    Opentext can do what they like but I suspect for many this news will be the impetus for moving to something else.  Which is sad because ZENworks has been used in this environment for over a decade.  

  • zen@opentext.com would be the best place to reach out.

    This is a shared Email Account read by those of importance.

    Also Keep in Mind....ZCM 23.4 will be supported until November 2026.

    Thus there will not be a rush to get off it....while working out integration issues.

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  • We're a Windows shop and we are very sorry to read this. We have invested a lot in automating the interplay between AD and ZCM using (among others) winRM and I guess that all of this will be lost. Is this the final word from opentext?

  • Zenworks phones home with telemetry data, which AFAIK can't be turned off (you can opt-in to report extra usage data, but you can't opt-out entirely).  No doubt the data reported includes the host OS.

    I do recall a log file cleanup issue quite awhile back, but certainly have not had such issue on any current version of the appliance(s).

    For the disk-size expansion, I don't know if this is fixed in the most current versions, but I know there was/is an issue with the on-going dockerization of the various services.  There are numerous docker volumes mounted, so the expansion tool in the appliance console doesn't see the correct partition to expand.  The trick is to unmount all the docker volumes until the correct partition shows up in the tool, then expand the partition and reboot as soon as it's done to get everything mounted back up correctly again.  Presumably the appliance console tool will be updated to show the correct partitions, if not already.

  • Frankly I've had nothing but problems any time I have tried using a ZENworks Appliance.  For one disk size changes have been a regular problem throughout the various versions. Log files not being cleaned up is another issue I seem to recall.  In all cases the only thing that has saved me has been getting the primary back onto a Windows box.  If you are intent on making this change you have to make your Appliance "bullet proof."  Also, I don't recall being surveyed recently so I'm not sure where your get your stats on what OS the Primary is running on.

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