ZENworks Configuration Management - scale and resilience - part 2


Last week I introduced some of the new concepts and architecture within ZENworks Configuration Management.

Part 2 of this series will investigate more of the architecture and some of the optimisation steps made within the Primary Server to deliver good scale and resilience.

Next week I hope to give the rules-of-thumb for scale; and some further guidelines on resilience.

Written at: GWAVACon, San Diego, CA

Scaling ZENworks Configuration Management – introduction and review

One major design concern related to the move to a SOA is the change in where actions are processed. This is the major function that impacts scalability and availability.

In the traditional ZENworks 7 two tier architecture model the client device processes the majority of work. This led to a distributed and extremely scalable infrastructure. Much of the scale and distributed capability were a direct result of the close integration and reliance on Novell eDirectory.


Figure 2 - ZENworks 7 block architecture

In the ZENworks Configuration Management three tier model the client is more passive and the impact moves to the application server tier – the ZENworks Primary Servers.

Significant work has been invested to make sure that these ZENworks Primary Servers deliver appropriate scale and resilience:

o Persistence, caching and ‘time to live’ of data from the database

o Database abstraction

o Database design optimization

o ZENworks Control Center access to the database via the Data Model rather than via the web services interfaces

o Enterprise Reporting via the published reporting universe


One piece of core technology under pinning the ZENworks Primary Server architecture is the use of an open-source set of technologies from the Hibernate Project[1]. This enables database connection pooling, storage of database query results and allows the Business Logic to be isolated from the specifics of the database platform itself.

The other component that directly affects scalability is network bandwidth availability. Applications delivered via the ZENworks Configuration Management content system are passed via a servlets. ZENworks Images for OS deployment are delivered from the imaging server. Both of these functions are very scalable; in testing the network bandwidth from a ZENworks Primary Server proved to be the limited factor on scale.

[1] www.hibernate.org


How To-Best Practice
Comment List
  • I agree with the previous comments. When am I going to se the how to and best practices instead of here is the logic.. For myself and my team members we are finishing or 50+ site infrastructure standardization to NW 6.5SP7 and ZDM and ZSM 7 Sp1. I have 50 sites with on goldenapps no middle tier, how do I go to ZCM??? I also hope th enext parts are more then research..
  • For three weeks, I've followed this line of postings on "scalability" and found absolutely no information regarding a Wide Area Network implementation.

    For an organization looking to install something from the ground up, it makes us think Novell doesn't recommend it at all and we should look at competitors.

  • Hey Guys,
    There is relatively NO information available out there regarding how to properly scale ZENWorks Config MGMT! It isn't in the documentation, and there aren't any white papers I'm aware of. They only thing I've found from almost a week of searching is one thread stating that there will be a "NEW" type of server in a future release that will allow the full duplication of the database and primary servers to other sites. Novell Engineers tiptoed their way through the daisies in order to insure that they didn't step on their toungues the whole time. Hey, THIS ISN'T BETA. Stop playing games from one week to another and someone please tell us how to properly scale multiple sites based upon bandwidth limitations. We're not in Kindergarten anymore. Let us have the information, good or bad! As a consultant for Novell's product, I feel that I deserve that and my customer does too. So far, this 2nd part of the hopefully 3 part (but could be drawn out to 10 part) series has done nothing but re-iterate the ZENWorks Structure documentation from the Novell Config MGMT installation documentation.