ZENworks Inventory: Then and Now

By Donna Moyer

In 2008, Novell released its latest version of ZENworks: ZENworks Configuration Management or ZCM. In order to understand the benefits this new version offers, it’s important to understand where it came from.

First, there was ZENworks inventory, available since ZENworks’ early releases. Novell included a Sybase database in ZENworks so that servers could be configured to take inventory of the workstations in their immediate area and roll the data up to a central server and database. From there, reports could be run to determine the various types of
hardware on the network and applications that were installed on each workstation.

Then, Novell launched ZENworks Asset Management (ZAM) in 2005. ZAM brought hardware and software inventory to new heights:

  • The inventory component allowed for network devices such as routers, switches, and printers to be entered into the asset database.
  • The asset management component provided the ability to enter license information so that compliance reports could be run, and included the ability to run software usage reports.
  • The program provided the ability to enter contracts (in ZAM 7.5) and run reports on contract renewal dates, providing a one stop solution for managing network assets.

The only downside was that this product required a separate server running Windows and MS SQL and a separate agent needed to be deployed on each workstation. To add to the confusion, Novell provided the asset inventory component of ZAM with ZENworks for Desktops, thus providing two different inventory solutions in the product.

In order to address these issues and to bring the disparate products available in the ZENworks suite together under one interface, Novell now offers ZENworks Configuration Management (ZCM). ZCM brings you:

  • Inventory based on ZAM, rather than on the older, traditional version of ZENworks inventory.
  • The ability to run on Windows or Linux using the included Sybase database or an MS SQL database. Therefore, a separate server for inventory and management is no longer required.
  • An asset inventory component that does not require a separate agent.

There are three versions of ZCM: Standard, Advanced and Enterprise. ZCM Standard includes components to perform asset discovery, inventory and classification, while the Advanced version adds patch management plus USB and wireless security. In order to obtain the features provided by the asset management component of ZAM (including software license management, software usage and contract management), the Enterprise version will need to be purchased.

Customers who are currently using ZAM inventory and history data can be migrated to ZCM using the ZAM Migration utility. For those of you who haven’t tried ZAM, take a look at the ZCM inventory component. Running reports and checking data are considerably easier than in traditional ZENworks inventory. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

© Copyright 2008, Uptime NetManagement, Inc.

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About the Author:
Donna Moyer is Principal/Senior Network Consultant of Uptime NetManagement, Inc. (http://www.uptimenmi.com/). Uptime is a Novell Gold Solutions partner providing technology solutions, customized training, and consulting services. If you are interested in finding out exactly what Novell can do for your business, or are seeking to maximize the benefits from your current Novell systems, call us today at 610-621-1244!