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In an earlier Cool Blogs post I set out my plan to describe the Next Generation of ZENworks. This is the first in that series – the History of ZENworks.

I have written this series of blog posts using my experience of describing the Next Generation of ZENworks to customers and partners. These are slightly longer posts than normal – I apologise in advance. I hope the content is informative and useful. I look forward to your comments and questions.

Written at: Waltham, MA

The History of ZENworks

Looking back. Product evolution.

As I have been working with customers and partners to describe the future of ZENworks I have found it useful to describe the evolution of ZENworks over the years and to use that context to understand why we are evolving the ZENworks architecture.

As many of you may remember, ZENworks traces its origins back to the days of NetWare 4.11 when the NetWare Application Launcher (NAL) and Workstation Manager were released. Soon these components were expanded, features were added and the first Zero Effort Networking for users – 1 – was released in 1998.

The ZENworks product line was expanded in 2000 with the release of ZENworks for Desktops 3 and the first release of ZENworks for Servers. ZENworks for Desktops 3 was a milestone release; it used ConsoleOne for the first time and was cross platform – supporting NetWare as well as Windows NT 4 and Windows 2000 server platforms.

ZENworks for Desktops 4 in 2002 added the Middle Tier server – allowing management across the internet and without requiring the Novell Client32 on managed devices.

ZENworks for Servers continued to evolve adding close integration with ZENworks for Desktops and Tiered Electronic Distribution allowing vast scale for enterprise software distribution.

ZENworks historical roadmap

These architectures are still at the heart of ZENworks today. They have made ZENworks exceptionally successful.

Why so successful?

There are three main threads to the success of ZENworks:

Cross platform support

As I noted, cross platform support started with ZENworks for Desktops 3. Today ZENworks runs on NetWare, Windows, Open Enterprise Server and SLES. It supports a variety of databases. It manages Windows, Linux and Handheld devices.

Cost effective management

Time after time independent study shows that ZENworks costs less. Less to deploy, less to manage. Some of our most vocal reference customers stand up and state they manage tens of thousands of users with a team of a few people. ZENworks runs on your existing infrastructure, without requiring dedicated Windows servers or database servers.
The most telling aspect of the cost effectiveness of ZENworks is that once configured users and workstations will inherit their desired state by virtue of their business role, location or characteristics. ZENworks administrators regularly share that they ‘just create users, ZENworks does the rest’.

Best in class scalability and reliability

ZENworks uses Novell eDirectory as its backbone and store for all of its relationships, actions and objects. ZENworks also uses Tiered Electronic Distribution – part of ZENworks Server Management – to replicate applications and images across a heterogeneous enterprise. ZENworks inherently includes methods for failover, redundancy, load balancing as well as support for roaming and mobile users.
All of these features mean that ZENworks will scale. Typically ZENworks will run in any environment from 250 users to way over 125,000 users. Without breaking a sweat.
Novell shares its own best practices for design and architecture with customers and partners. The ZENMaster framework has been used around the globe as a blueprint for successful deployments. Using these recommendations anyone can deploy ZENworks with confidence that they will succeed.

ZENmaster structure

Why Next Generation?

ZENworks has been wildly successful. There are many, many tens of millions of workstations under management, ZENworks is now the second largest revenue generating product inside Novell, customers are having great success. Why change?

The main reason for change is to meet the expectations of all of our customers in the coming years. Web services, open standards, server consolidation, desktop migration, security pressures, virtualisation, adoption of ITIL, COBIT and other best practices are all on the ‘To-Do List’ for IT organisations. The Next Generation ZENworks is intended to be a platform for the future that delivers on these areas, while continuing to deliver the value and agility that ZENworks has shown for the past eight years.

My next post will dive into the Next Generation architecture and cover why this is a good thing for existing Novell customers and also a good thing for new customers.

Stay tuned.

Written at: Waltham, MA