ZENworks Configuration Management -- Support Pack 2

ZENworks Configuration Management -- Support Pack 2

On my motorbike the LED display can be changed from imperial to metric units making trips to mainland Europe a lot less stressful given the change, from what was a tolerant, to a harsh attitude towards enthusiastic riding. In France, the Gendarmerie will escort you to the nearest ATM, not that you're lost and can't find one, no its to withdraw funds to pay speeding fines immediately. Having the LED display in kmh rather than mph really helps to avoid meeting the Gendarmerie.

Whilst working, and indeed writing this blog post, I find music helps my creative juices to flow. My media player of choice is Amarok with its excellent collection catalogue and ability to sync with my ipod. I've also just discovered aTunes which I'm evaluating as a cross platform java based media player.

When it comes to ZENworks Configuration Management Support Pack 2, there's a whole lot of new features that have jumped into the category as the aforementioned "Stuff that I really like" category. This isn't an exhaustive list, just my favorites

1) ZENworks Control Centre home page
There are now an Asset Management ( for those who have this licensable option in ZENworks Configuration Management) summary table and a News Alert window.

Asset Management quickly shows you unreconciled, excluded and reconciled items in catalog products, discovered products, contracts and documents. From the table, you can select any cell and drill down directly to the item.

News Alerts are a list of , err, news items that have been retrieved from our feed at Novell. This allows us to keep you up to date with what is happening with ZENworks Configuration Management

2) Support for 3rd party imaging tools - Symantec Ghost
I remember using Ghost before Symantec bought the company all the way back in the late 1990s to deploy Windows for Workgroup 3.11 laptops. I maybe betraying my age by mentioning Windows 3.11 but I'll take that chance. Given its longevity its no wonder that there are many organizations with vast collections of Ghost images that are used for provisioning desktops / laptops and even servers.

If you are licensed for Ghost, then you can now make use of your existing image library with ZENworks Configuration Management Support Pack2.


zcm-sp2-3rd_party_imaging_1.png


You'll need to download Windows Automatic Installation Kit and upload the WinPE base distribution from this first and then upload the Ghost components.

Now when you're creating an imaging bundle choose the Third Party Image category and make use of the those Ghost images.

Naturally I'm assuming that you'll want migrate to ZENworks images over time to avoid the Ghost licensing fees 🙂

3) Bundle activity
In ZENworks Control Centre , bundle properties included Show Bundle Progress. This has now gone and been replaced with Show Bundle Activity. Sounds like a marketing rename -- what's difference I hear you ask? well If you've ever had end users repeatedly click on a bundle desktop shortcut wondering why nothing is happening and then opening service desk tickets because of this, then this is right up your street. Enable Show Bundle Progress and an activity bar appears which shows the end user what is going on preventing those service desk tickets being opened.


zcm-sp2-activity_bar_1.png


4) Patch management filter by manufacturer
There's a lot of software vendors with even more vulnerabilities and patches. Finding a particular vulnerability and associated patch can be a challenging task. We've made this easier in ZENworks Configuration Management Support Pack 2 with the option to filter by manufacturer.


zcm-sp2-filter_by_manufactuer.png


5) Patch management dashboard
Instant graphical view of what state your managed devices are in with regard to vulnerabilities and remediation. For more detail you can use ZENworks Reporting Services but with the dashboard you can see
Patch Compliance % over time, Mandatory baseline compliance, patch compliance by device and time since last agent refresh. In my case, its more akin to a wall of shame as the screen shot shows. I'm sure that you all are much more studious in keeping your managed devices free from vulnerabilities.


zcm-sp2-patch_dashboard_1_1.png


6) ZENworks Reporting Services
ZENworks Reports Service is based on Business Objects. Business Objects uses a way of abstracting away from the underlying database schema simplifying report creation. In Business Objects speak, this abstraction is called a Universe. Previously we had multiple Universes which made life more difficult than it should have been. ZENworks Configuration Management Support Pack 2 has one Universe that spans all aspects including asset and patch management information. As the saying goes a Picture is worth a thousand words so you can now represent data in graphical format. We've also increased the number of standard reports and provided templates to base custom reports on.

7) Satellite Services on Linux
ZENworks Configuration Management manages Microsoft Windows environment but now you don't need any Microsoft Windows Servers for ZENworks Configuration Management itself. It is now possible to have Primary, Satellite and Reporting services hosted on SuSe Linux Enterprise Servers.

For Satellite Services on Linux, content, imaging and inventory satellite services are all supported thanks to a new self contained agent based on OSGi standards.

😎 Control manage device components
ZENworks Configuration Management agent has several components

  • Bundle management

  • Policy management

  • Asset management

  • Image management

  • Patch management

  • Remote management

  • User management



These got installed and were active even if you had no intention of using them immediately or at a later date. Now you can choose for the Zone, folder or individual device basis what components will be installed , and active or disabled. For my test servers I have no need for User management as all relationships for these are on a device not user basis.
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Am I correct in thinking that ZCM10 SP2 will also include the capability to remote control a managed device outside the corporate network (through NAT)? I'm sure I read that somewhere?

Also thanks for the blog and feature list, but what I really want to know is WHEN? We have been waiting for SP2 for a while now and really want to get started. I have heard rumours of late April/early May - they've come and gone, is there any word on the final shipping release?
Do you know if the problems applying user based GPOs to the workstations has been fixed?

Support Forums:
http://forums.novell.com/novell-product-support-forums/zenworks/configuration-management/zcm-policies/371064-path-group-policy-content-null.html

Work around seems to be clearning the local ZCM cache (zac cc).
The release date for ZCM 10 SP2 is today. You should see it available as a downloadable System Update within your ZENworks Control Center. It's also available as a media kit dowload in ISO format here:

http://download.novell.com/Download?buildid=aSFpZiXDEiM~

As for remote management via the Internet, have a look here:

http://www.novell.com/documentation/beta/zcm10/zcm10_remote/data/bk8oco6.html
Is problems with applying GPO fixed?
What we are seeing now in 10.2 and 10.2.1 is that the GPOs are being applied successfully, but the agent still shows that policy enforcement has failed. To get the agent to respond with sucess, we have to remove the GroupPolicy folder under C:\Windows\System32. The errors reported on the workstation logs and in the ZCC are all "unknown" errors. Workstation failures seem to only occur when we make a change to the policy and increment the version. I'm hoping 10.2.2 or 10.3 will resolve this issue, since the Group Policy in the ZCC just fills up with error events (40K+).
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