Using ZENworks to streamline virtual application deployment and imaging

ZENworks in the Schools Contest
Submitted by Simon Palmer

Coleg Sir Gar is a college comprising 5 main campuses over Carmarthenshire, in South Wales, UK.

We use and have been using ZENworks since ZENworks 3.2 days. Today, we're running 5 11.2.1 Primary servers, a few satellites over 5 sites. We're using an Oracle back-end DB. Almost the whole environment (even the DB) runs on SLES11, and on top of the SLES XEN virtualisation platform.

We bought into the ZAV (Application Virtualisation) platform as part of our Windows 7 migration two years ago when we were planning our Windows 7 upgrade. ZAV has been excellent value for money. One of the most useful benefits has been the number of methods and techniques of creating virtual applications, include importing the old ZFD AXT files directly into ZAV. Especially useful when we have applications that have taken 3 days to install manually, and that we have no hope of installing in the traditional manner in Windows 7. We have only had to stop using about 5 very small 16 bit applications from the early 1990's.

We use the ENGL imaging toolkit integrated with ZCM, which helped by allowing us to create a single image, and streamlines the deployment further. We can even schedule out of hours imaging.

Consequently, between July and Sept 2011, we re-imaged 99% of our 2000 workstations from XP to Windows 7. We have a large number of specialist engineering, computing and general purpose software. Tasks such as associating printers, and software to rooms, assigning teacher workstations with Lanschool classroom management software, and settings depending on projector, interactive boards, and screen resolutions, all based on policy and rules makes management of our IT estate much more manageable. We often re-image several hundred workstations at once. When we purchase new PC's each year, deployment only involves entering it's MAC address into our Novell DHCP services, set the PXE and WoL settings in the BIOS, and turn it on.

I often wonder what people are complaining about when they want to move some/much of their IT estate to VDI because of the hassle they have of managing their IT estate.


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