ZENworks: 7 vs. 10 vs. 11…

I recently got this question from reader “Marshall”…

“I am currently testing ZDM 7 in my organization and was having a bit of grief.. I was wondering if it would be easier to scrap that idea and go onto ZCM 10 or 11…..?”

That’s a great question, but I’m going to have to give a bit of a loaded (and perhaps overly simplistic and generalized) answer because I don’t know much about your specific environment…

First off, as a blanket response, there is no question to me that your first thought should be to go to ZCM 10.3 (the current release as of this writing);  it is a very mature product that has survived and strengthened from many past bumps in the road at this point.

But in trying to decide between 10 and 11, it’s easy… for now:  Version 11 isn’t even out until early January, and will have many new design aspects and features that might not be “ready”/mature for a while after that.  Even so, if you evaluate 10.3 for a while, you can migrate/upgrade your testbed to 11 before or after moving it to production.

Now, getting right down to it, the decision between 7 and the modern versions really comes down to hardware and legacy support.  If you ONLY have NetWare servers and simply cannot afford the hardware to accommodate the needed “primary” and database servers (“satellite” servers can often be re-purposed machines, even desktops) for the new 10/11 environment, then you must stay with 7 for now.  Sure ZCM 10/11 can run on Windows servers, but it can also run completely on supported Suse Linux if desired (most notably the “appliance” version), keeping the OS costs down (except for certain purposes like windows proxies and Patch Management, etc).

But there is no getting around careful planning and strategy.  With ZDM version 7 and previous, you kinda have your architecture forced upon you, in that you must deploy it where the NetWare/OES servers are.  Sure, ZDM 7 can run on OES Linux servers, but if there ever was a good time to consider separation of the technology services (OES and ZENworks), now is it.  Because in 10/11, you are given almost complete freedom to build out the environment you need, based on your management and network needs/restrictions/requirements.  It’s true that some people are intimidated by such a blank canvas!  But I assure you, it can be done, and done well.

Good luck.  And if you have any further questions, make sure to ask!


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