ZENworks Configuration Management - scale and resilience - part 4


This is the final part of the discussion around ZENworks Configuration Management scaling and resilience. I hope you have found this series useful in your design and planning.

Written at: Draper, UT


Scalability is a subjective term. Here we will discuss the various factors and metrics that impact the delivery of the service based around ZENworks 10 Configuration Management.

The first factor that should be considered is the user and workstation population to be managed by the ZENworks Configuration Management zone. The second, and very much linked, factor is the amount of change that will be effected by using ZENworks Configuration Management. Such examples include the usual amount of software distribution tasks, any major new deployment projects, plans for expanding the reach of ZENworks Configuration Management etc.

A migration to Microsoft Windows Vista with a redeployment of the Standard Operating Environment and all validated applications could mean that over 4 Gigabytes of information per workstation is distributed from the ZENworks Primary Server infrastructure.

ZENworks 10 Configuration Management is a versatile solution for desktop and server management. The key benefits of rapid deployment and rapid time to value are equally appropriate for both small environments and for larger customers.

During the development and test of ZENworks 10 Configuration Management extensive use was made of the Novell SuperLab. This allows broad scale and performance testing to be undertaken.



Figure 4 - ZENworks Primary Servers with associated managed devices

As mentioned above the limitation for deployment from a ZENworks Primary Server is the bandwidth available between the ZENworks Primary Server and the managed devices.

Based on our testing in the Novell SuperLab here are the scale recommendations for ZENworks Configuration Management:

Scale recommendations:

  • Each primary server can service 200 active and concurrent user/workstation connections
    • Often 5:1 inactive:active ratio and higher is used
    • Corresponds to 1000 user/workstation per server
  • Look at the forward plan for determining maximum desired capacity
  • Look at any historical data for baseline and weekly/monthly peaks
  • Factor in integrated patch management


  • Recommend 1-20 Primary Servers per zone (20 servers is the recommended maximum per zone)
  • Supporting up to a maximum of around 10,000 users or devices per zone


  • Understand the LAN/WAN architecture during planning
  • Consider dedicated servers for:
    • Patch download and patch bundle insertion (one per zone)
    • Business Objects Enterprise Reporting (one per zone)
    • Imaging

For customer environments larger than say 10,000 users or devices we would recommend deployment of multiple management zones; based on geographic locations.


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