Novell goes large for ZENworks update

ZENWorks 11 Support Pack Three comes with improved scalability and additional auditing capabilities

Novell has expanded the scope of its Novell ZENWorks IT management suite so that it can watch over 100,000 devices or more with a single server.

"Scalability has been greatly enhanced," Justin Strong, Novell senior global product marketing manager, said of the improvements made to the ZENWorks 11 Platform by applying a new support pack released Tuesday.

For the largest users of ZENWorks, the improved scalability may help their administrators considerably simplify management of the many devices they oversee.

ZENWorks 11 Platform Support Pack 3 also offers improvements in auditing and patch management. With this release, the company has restructured the options customers have for licensing the software.

Novell ZENWorks is a collection of five IT management products, including programs for managing assets, the patching process, configuration and security. They share the same user console and end-device agents.

Most organizations were using the software to manage anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 IT resources, such as laptop computers or servers, Strong said. Some of the company's larger customers, however, were asking Novell to scale the software to handle 100,000 devices or more.

Managing such large deployments has been possible with ZENWorks, though it involved using more than one server, and splitting the devices across multiple regions, or zones.

Large organizations that use the Novell software can now consolidate all of their assets under a single zone, Strong said. Novell also has streamlined the process of moving a resource from one zone to another, say from a test zone to a production zone. And policies can also be enforced across different zones with ease.

In addition to improving scalability, Novell has added a number of new auditing capabilities. "We're trying to make it easier for folks who are in regulated spaces to be able to track how files and access rights are handled through the console," Strong said.

In regulated industries, such as health care or finance, administrators must log all the actions they take on sensitive networks. Previously, the logging capabilities were largely confined to tracking the objects themselves. The software can now track all of the actions of an administrator takes, such as moving files from one machine to another.

The software has also replaced its reporting engine. Until now it has used Business Objects, but the new edition deploys the open source JasperSoft business intelligence software instead. "It is very lightweight, so it is easier to install and configure, and gives you all the same granularity on running canned reports as well as building your own reports," Strong said.

Other new features include updated patch management software that allows system administrators to make more nuanced choices in where to apply patches. The software's remote control can now work across a wider variety of networks.

Novell has also changed how it sells ZENWorks. It has discontinued all the bundles if offered that were made up of some of the ZENWorks components. Now it offers the software either as stand-alone products or as a complete suite. The list price of ZENWorks is US$140 per seat per year.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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