Novell to Make Bigger QoS, Policy Mgmt. Push

FRAMINGHAM (02/07/2000) - Companies should be able to more easily enact quality-of-service (QoS) policies and software uniformity across enterprise nets using products Novell Inc. will roll out this week.

The company will announce two additions to its ZENworks line: ZENworks for Networks and ZENworks for Servers. In a press conference Tuesday, Novell will also reveal long-awaited details about its iChain business-to-business e-commerce products and roll out an upgrade to its Internet messaging application, called Novell Internet Messaging System.

Novell already sells ZEN-works for Workstations, a Novell Directory Services (NDS)-enabled application that lets managers automatically schedule and perform software changes to desktops, inventory hardware and meter software for license compliance. ZENworks for Servers applies similar functionality to servers.

ZENworks for Networks will let net managers apply QoS practices and policies to switches and routers that are NDS- or Directory Enabled Network (DEN)-compatible.

DEN, a specification developed by Microsoft Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. that was adopted by the Desktop Management Task Force, envisions the integration of directories and network hardware to provide better network performance, management, security, reliability and QoS. The first switches and routers that work with ZENworks for Networks include products from 3Com Corp., Lucent Technologies Inc., Extreme Networks Inc. and Cisco.

These announcements are important to Novell because directory-enabled applications such as ZENworks and ManageWise account for more than 25 percent of the company's revenue and are its fastest-growing class of products.

Novell customers are pleased with how they see ZENworks evolving. Jim Stalewski, computer operations manager at M.W. Kasch Co. in Mequon, Wis., foresees ZENworks for Servers and ZENworks for Networks being useful in his shop.

"The first would help with application rollouts and service packs across the WAN," Stalewski says. "The second would finally give us the much-talked-about, but not yet seen, NDS-based network policy management, which would be useful to guarantee that certain users get enough bandwidth."

Another customer is equally enthused about Novell's plans.

"ZENworks does precisely what the administrator is looking to do," says Brian Rossner, network specialist with construction materials company USG in Charlestown, Mass. "The ability to better manage my servers, routers and switches by assigning bandwidth is something I have been looking for quite some time."

Rossner has been using ZENworks for Workstations to manage the configurations of his desktop machines.

Stalewski, however, does have one bone to pick.

"The only rub is that Novell will probably license them separately instead of rolling them into the existing ZENworks product," Stalewski says. "It would be nice if they'd do that and call it ZENworks 2.5."

The products are, indeed, being sold separately.

By tying server and network management to NDS, administrators can be more productive, according to a study from market research firm International Data Corp. (IDC) of Framingham, Mass. "Network managers can centrally manage distributed resources and automate such functions as applying QoS and user-access policies to network devices," says Rick Villars, an analyst with IDC.

With ZENworks for Net-works, net managers can gather network management statistics and monitor network protocol and application traffic. The product can also be used to configure routers and switches, and assign bandwidth to specific users or application. For instance, customers may create a policy that allows users attached to specified ports on a switch to receive priority to applications over other users.

Using ZENworks for Net-works, an IS director at a large Midwest hospital chain plans to monitor unauthorized equipment moves in much the same way the hospital now monitors software on workstations.

"It will allow me to plug this workstation into this port and only this port on a Cisco or 3Com router," says the director, who requested anonymity. "This is one more security level for us."

ZENworks for Servers lets network managers automatically distribute files, support packs and applications among servers using NDS. Dubbed "tiered electronic distribution," the software can be used to ensure uniformity of server software and save time for administrators who will no longer have to roam from one server to another.

When changes are made to the server designated to distribute software, they will be distributed and updated on all appropriate servers and NDS objects.

The product can also be used to optimize available bandwidth by automating scheduled replication and synchronization during off-hours, thus lowering WAN costs.

ZENworks for Servers and ZENworks for Networks are managed through Novell's ConsoleOne management utility. ZENworks for Servers supplements many of the features of Novell's remote monitoring utility, RCONSOLE, and services found in Novell Replication Services (NRS). NRS is software that automatically copies data and documents from server site to server site.

Novell declined to comment on prices, although sources say ZENworks for Servers will be licensed for $75 per user, and ZENworks for Networks will cost $70 per user. ZENworks for Networks is available now, while ZENworks for Servers will be available later this month.

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