Novell ZENworks 7

A great tool for any organisation with a Netware base, or a mix of different operating systems

Price
£130
  • Good coverage of Windows, Linux and Netware environments and a full set of management tools
  • Management tasks are split between the ConsoleOne console and another web-based console

This package consists of a whole plethora of management goodies covering just about everything from servers and desktops right down to laptops and handheld devices. The latest iteration of the product boasts improved hardware and software inventory control, system imaging, remote control and automated policy management.

The great thing about Novell products is that they work equally well with both Windows and Linux environments. In fact there's more enough Linux support to keep even the most ardent fan happy. It's a dream to install, with plenty of well-crafted documentation to help you along should you get stuck. And though there are a whopping twelve discs in the box, the modular arrangement of the different functions means you can pick and choose which features to install and don't have to install everything at once.

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One of the most arduous jobs an IT professional has to undertake is patching. But Zenworks keeps this chore to a minimum of hassle by incorporating Patchlink's excellent patch management software. The reporting tool is also impressive. In our tests we managed to get really accurate details of the Linux servers on our test network as well as a couple of Windows server boxes of various ages. From the web-based reports we could quite easily see which systems needed updating, which would be of great benefit to over-worked IT administrators desperate save precious time.

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We also installed the Linux management suite on our Suse Linux Enterprise Server box, but Zenworks' officially supported list of products also includes Novell Open Enterprise Server and Red Hat Linux, which makes the offering very attractive to Linux shops. Either way, the product is very workmanlike in its approach to infrastructure management. Installation went through without a hitch, although we had to allow traffic to flow through several TCP/IP ports on the test server in order for the product to communicate with other agents on the network.

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As you might expect the suite supports both Microsoft's Active Directory and Novell's eDirectory. The product doesn't require you to install the Novell Windows client, but if you do install it, it does let you take greater advantage of the suite's backup and remote control facilities. That said, it wasn't too difficult to install the client software,

Despite the hard time Novell has had over the past few years, Zenworks proves that it still has what it takes. This is a quality product that will not only help systems administrators get to grips with their infrastructure, but would also be of use to Netware shops looking to ease themselves over to a Linux environment.

Verdict

A great tool for any organisation with a Netware base, or a mix of different operating systems

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