Showing value with ZENworks

Showing value with ZENworks

Does this sound familiar?

Boss: I was chatting to the sales rat from (insert competitor here) and product (insert competitive solution) can do everything I've ever wanted. Why are we still using that Novell ZEN thingy?

You: Well ZENworks is providing us with great value and meeting our needs. I'm sure that we can do just as much, if not more, than that other solution

Boss: Prove it

And there lies the problem. We all know that ZENworks has a ton of features that provide value to our working lives. Not having to run around installing software, being able to support our users remotely, deploying operating systems, helping with software licensing to name but a few. The question is how do we go about showing this to the rest of the business in order to protect our time, skills and experience invested in ZENworks.

Over the next few posts, I'm going to be looking at ways we can go about doing this and I'd love to get feedback from you all on what you need, rather than what I think you need.

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As I find out in my last jobs, no one knows ZEN or eDirectory or what ever Product. The management/user sees the word "Novell" and the question will be " Why have we to spent money for that all other use M...soft. They cannot see the advantage because at home they do not have such thing and they do not need it (their son/daughter fixes the computer problems) and everything runs fine.
Why don't you 'cut to the chase' and do a comparative analysis between ZCM and Microsoft's desktop management solution ( System Center Configuration Manager 2007 ). That's what I'm facing...the probable competition.

My network is migrating to AD from eDir. So the logical question would be what desktop management system to use.SCCM 2007 is essentially free the way Microsoft bundles their licensing. How do I convince Management that ZCM is a better solution than SCCM2007, even in the context of an AD environment.
Yes, I'm currently in this situation. My company is looking to try and get a great deal from Microsoft. By converting everything to MS. This would entail getting rid of ZDM and going to SMS.

I would like to see an apples to apples comparison between ZDM 7 and SMS.

I realize that ZCM 10 is available, but to upgrade to that is another 300,000 a year, that doesn't help, when trying to agrue to stay with Novell.

We also just started to implement ZSM (TED) and we already are using ZHM as well.

This blog couldn't have happen at a better time.

I work at a university. My primary duties revolve around support of a number of research groups headed by faculty members. Each of these groups has a frightening amount of autonomy in the purchase of equipment including computers. Although I am able to suggest/recommend computer models for purchase the machines are normally purchased one or two at a time. This means that over time I have ended up supporting a group of machines that may have all been purchased from the same company but includes a wide variety of models.

Using the scripted imaging feature of ZenWorks I have been able to create a system that uses two base images and numerous add-on images to automate the proper deployment of the operating system, drivers sets, and varous application sets for these groups. This to me is the number one selling point for ZenWorks in my environment.

However, once installed I use ZenWorks to manage all aspects of group and individual access to machines through the use of policy packages. This would rate as my second selling point.

I am happy with the system I have working, think it works well and try my best to communicate its value to other people doing the same job I am on campus. However, I often feel like the response I get is at best a blank stare and often a disdainful "You still use Novell?".

I would just bet that your marketing people have some sort of comparison of Zen to other solutions. Be it a chart, a check list or a demonstration of some sort I would love to see it. It might give me the information I need to talk intelligently about alternatives and solutions.

The up and coming favorite here on campus seems to be Altiris. From what I hear, this is because of Altiris' support for Apple machines. Frankly, don't know if they provide any support or not and what the level of that support might be if they do have any.

I will be attending a demonstration of Altiris in a few days and would love to be prepared to ask the right questions or make the right comments at that time. As it is I just don't have the time, resources or energy to do the research I would need to do to be able to make any sort of intelligent comment.
because of an upcoming fusion of my company with another company working with Ca's Unicenter I need good arguments for Zen. A comparison of Zen to Unicenter would be fine. latest attack is the sales guys from kasaye?.....any tips on this...please...feature compared to Zen.......
I'd question free. If you've got a prior version of ZENworks under maintenance that qualifies, then what is free is ZENworks Configuration Management.

This will work in both environments during the cross over from edirectory and Active Directory.

And you don't need the Novell client either.

You also need to allow for the additional effort, training, consultancy etc.. that SCCM will need from you. This is certainly not going to be free.

If you have ZDM 7 under maintenance, then ZCM standard edition is free. See

that sounds like a good reason to stay with ZENworks.

but don't take my word for it

When eweek looked at sccm in april 2007, they said

"deployment procedures are still complex and fragile."

they recommened deploying SCCM to the IT staff to work out inventory collection quirks.

"Many of the Microsoft management platform’s improved (inventory) and new (task sequencing) features have a significant learning curve"

and finally ( although there is much more )

" That said, we couldn’t shake the feeling that with SCCM
2007—as well as with versions of SMS going back to the late 1990s—Microsoft is just dabbling in IT management, taking only those steps necessary to keep up with the competition."

Remember that Microsoft makes the bulk of its money from OS and Office; that's is where it has the focus, not on systems management.
I'd leave ZENworks to manage your windows estate and spend $499 on the unlimited desktop management from Apple. It's going to be a lot cheaper than using Altiris which will not have the range of features for Apple and you having to repeat all of the work you have done for imaging machines.


A comparative analysis of Novel's ZCM against Microsoft's desktop solution SCCM2007 is difficult to find on the internet. I've looked and have seen a few references to the functionality of SCCM2007 in various publications but no indepth study of Microsoft's new desktop management system. The complexity of implementing Microsoft's new product,SCCM2007, discourages a 'casual review' by interested parties.

What I'm looking for are 'hard differences' that come to the surface in the context of using the products. The fact that SCCM2007 can only see/manage objects in Active Directory is a 'short term' advantage for Zenworks during the migration periond from eDir to AD. But after that, where is the compelling logic to keep a novell solution in an exclusively AD environment.

Hopefully Novell has an implementation of SCCM2007 and has this new microsoft product under a microscope.
Blartfast what is needed in sysadmin community is less arrogance and more substance. Just b/c you say it is won't appeal to the executive.

What is needed from marketing is marketing, great comparison info on all products. The sysadmin time would better used if the company that wants to sell the product gives all the info needed and located in one area.

We are your salesman w/o commission.
Not sure if I recognize arrogance in my blog nor the fact that I have stated that X is better than ZCM and expected people to take my word. Indeed I've offered a 3rd party perspective on SCCM for example.

You mentioned comparisons. This is what I'm trying to figure out what people are looking for.

Do you really want a feature by feature account of ZCM vs the opposition ?
Would you find some thought leadership on the Novell system management vision better ? Or a blend of the two ?

Help me out here to avoid giving this audience something they didn't want and can't use.

There was an excellent article in the recent on-line edition of CONNECTION magzine entitled "A Choice Decision".

What this article did was focus on the question of whether an organization using Novell should upgrade to Open Enterprise Server 2 versus a migration to Active Directory.

This is the kind of comparitive analysis I am hoping Novell will provide for organizations questioning whether to go with ZCM or Microsoft's desktop solution SCCM2007.
Still nothing but commentary, no analysis no white paper, no metrics. I can hand the boss white papers outlining the exact cost of operations per seat for MSCCM 2007, ZDM has no such white paper thus far? Just commentary.
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