Product review: ZENworks 1.1 proves a worthy upgrade

Although ZENworks 1.1 is chiefly a maintenance release of Novell's directory-enabled desktop-management platform, the product also boasts notable improvements that make it easier to use and lend administrators better capabilities for managing the transition to the new millennium. Overall, ZENworks 1.1 builds nicely on the previous version and should help attract attention to the product, as well as prove to be a worthy upgrade for current customers.

Among the key features offered in ZENworks 1.1 are a software-metering component, a bundled-in version of Greenwich Mean Time's (GMT's) year-2000 compliance-checking utility, Check2000, and tighter integration with Novell's ManageWise network management product.

I found that all of ZENworks' new features worked well in Version 1.1. As I noted in my review of a beta release of this product, Novell has taken pains to smooth the process of deploying Policies Packages. This was a shortcoming in the first release of ZENworks. The new Policy Package Wizard makes this process a snap.

ZENworks 1.1's software-metering capability relies on Novell License Services (NLS), which is available natively on NetWare 5. If you want to implement these features on NetWare 4.11, you will need to apply Support Pack 6 to add NLS to the NOS prior to installing the software-metering add-ons.

With GMT's Check2000, I could scan workstations and server-bound file systems for year-2000 compliance suspect areas, such as OS, system-BIOS, or file-bound issues. Novell also includes GMT's data collator and other analysis tools to perform bulk analysis of results files.

If you haven't yet done so, definitely consider ZENworks for desktop management, particularly if you have NetWare 4.x deployed. If you're already running ZENworks, this version isn't a radical departure, but many sites will value its added benefits.

THE BOTTOM LINE: VERY GOOD

ZENworks 1.1

Pros: Software metering; Check2000 tools; tighter ManageWise integration.

Cons: Minor problems experienced with Novell Application Launcher, with respect to software metering features.www.novell.com.auPrice: $US39 per workstation (includes five-user version of Greenwich Mean Time's Check 2000; ManageWise/ZEN bundle), $US59 per user; additional Check2000 licenses available from Novell.

Platforms: Server: NetWare 4.1x and later. Client: Windows 3.1x, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT.

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