ZENworks 2017 Appliance has a new heart

ZENworks 2017 Appliance has a new heart

More than 3 years have passed since we released the most recent incarnation of the ZENworks 2017 appliance way back in 2016. In spite of the time, the appliance has been going pretty well. It has seen different versions of ZENworks 2017 along with numerous security updates which have been delivered over these years. Looking back, it has turned out to be the go to medium to setup ZENworks.

However, like all things in life, time is showing its age on its OS, which is SLES 12 SP1. Many of you may have noticed that after 31st May, for  SLES 12 SP1 security updates are no longer available. This obviously affects our ability to provide our customers with security updates. Though we have a newer product available in ZENworks 2020 (whose appliance is based on SLES 12 SP4), we do know that many of our customers are currently on ZENworks 2017. Thus we had to find a way to provide security updates to our customers. 

One of the first suggestion which came in was to release a new ZENworks 2017 appliance with an updated OS, but we dismissed it as too much painful for our customers. The only other way out was to somehow upgrade the underlying OS so that security updates can be delivered, without causing any damage. Though in-place upgrades are pretty common, the ZENworks 2017 appliance didn't have built in capability for in-place upgrade.  One of our engineers compared the situation to replacing a beating heart with a new one, while ensuring that patient lives! This served to instill upon everyone the stakes involved. With this being set, our development team went to work and with-in a short span they came up with a good solution to problem. They proposed 2 step approach for this -

  1. First upgrade the appliance with in-place upgrade capability 
  2. Then deliver the in-place upgrade itself. 

With this approach finalized, the team went to work and I'm happy to say that in last week of May, we  released an update for ZENworks 2017 appliance which would upgrade the underlying OS from SLES 12 SP1 to  SLES 12 SP3. 

Steps to Upgrade Appliance

The first step to get this update is to make sure that you have configured appliance to receive security updates. If you haven't done this, you should navigate to 'Online Update' tile in appliance console and register for updates. To complete the registration, you would require a key which can be found in Micro Focus customer center. Once registered, appliance would reach out to Micro Focus and pull in  a set of updates available for appliance. 

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The one listed at the top 'Web-ZENworks' is the one which provides appliance with a capability for in-place upgrade of OS. Once you install the updates, the appliance would need to be re-booted.

Post reboot, a new tile -"Product Upgrade' should be visible in appliance console. This tile has been added by the updater and has created a new channel to pull in updates for SLES 12 SP3.

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Once you navigate to Product Upgrade tile, it would display instructions on how to upgrade.

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Once you click on 'Start' you will be again asked to register with Micro Focus. Here you would need to enter the same key (as earlier).  This would register the appliance to received SLES 12 SP3 updates over the newly established channel. We tried many ways to avoid this dual registration, but it wasn't just possible. 

 

 

 

 

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After a successful registration, the appliance will check for updates in this new channel and will pull down SLES 12 SP3, which would then get installed. Post reboot, your appliance will now be updated to SLES 12 SP3.

 

 

Our team has done significant testing to ensure that things go according to plan. We believe the with this new heart, the ZENworks 2017 appliance will continue to serve you well while providing us with a means to deliver the latest security updates. 

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