Some Interesting Things About ZCM 11

I’m not just “Your Linux Guy”…  I’m “Your ZCM Guy”, too…

As a Novell Partner, I was very fortunate to have attended the ZENworks Configuration Management 11 (ZCM 11) “First Class” training session last week.  This is where the outstanding Novell Education folks put together an online session highlighting the most critical new features/requirements/etc., about the upcoming release.

In the two-day session, they managed to cram in everything we need to know to help our customers make informed decisions about their future with ZCM, from the perspective of hardware needs, design, budgeting, etc.  Of course, they also gave us the steps needed to bring those customers through the migration/upgrade to ZCM 11 *smoothly*…

As you might expect, I’m not going to go into much detail about everything I learned in the two day session, but I *do* want to give my customers my impression of the coolest — or at least most noteworthy — features of this new release.  Remember now, these are just brief items, and for more detail please see the documentation.  So without further ado…

  • The upgrade process itself does not require a “migration” to new hardware.  It can be done in place from CD, but very careful steps must be followed for all the Primary servers, then the updates get distributed like any other update.
  • ZCM 11 features an all new cosmetic theme.  Liberal use of charcoal/black, and the system tray icon no longer features an “N”;  just a 3-arrow circle.
  • The “Endpoint Security Management” (ESM) product is now folded-in to ZCM;  this means that the old stand-alone ESM client must be removed (if present), and the new ESM piece is distributed in partnership with the ZCM agent.
  • Some newly integrated components of ESM come with the new agent, like self defense of the agent (only protects the ESM component today, will self-defend the whole agent in the future), the new location mechanisms.  Other standard ESM features like firewall, advanced policies, hardware control, encryption tools, etc., require ESM purchase/license.
  • The “Closest Server Rules” (CSR) capability/mechanism is replaced with the ESM “Locations” capability, which is far superior.  The CSR’s become read-only during the upgrade, are migrated to Locations, and disappear completely when done.  Client agents now store all locations locally in cache, and make the location determination on their own.  This is a good thing!
  • Directive and File bundles just become Windows bundles with actions that do what they did before.
  • All bundles and policies are now initially built in “sandbox” mode for testing and validation before deployment.  Version control now allows reversion, like a CMS!
  • Now ZCM will fully utilize (and deploy, actually) a 64 bit JVM on 64 bit OS’s that it detects (yay!).  But, oddly, on Windows, the 64bit JVM gets deployed to the 32 bit folder.
  • New “Administrator Group” function, where you can create and administrative LDAP group (with permissions and rights and scope assigned to the group), and the object points to actual eDir/AD groups and updates each 24 hours.  It basically behaves as a mass-import of administrative users.  All the other scope assignments and such must still be done per-user.
  • When moving from ZCM11 to its upcoming successor (perhaps ZCM11.0.1 or something), you will need an existing valid entitlement to maintenance for using the “download system updates”.
  • Device reconciliation;  solving the problem of duplicate devices, can resolve duplicates based on SID, MAC, and/or computer name.  No more duplicates!!  Hooray!!
  • At long last, Clientless DLU (without Novell Client 32)!  Just set the AllowDLUWithoutNovellClient=1 registry setting.
  • iAMT;  New vPRO/AMT support, like some other big vendors.  Out-of-band access, regardless of state from a “Manageability engine” on the hardware.  Complete control of hardware is coming;  This is an initial release of this feature, with much more functionality to come.
  • Linux management folded in; including zypp/yum/(others) channel support, puppet manifest delivery and management, etc.
  • “Service Desk” product;  Novell is licensing and giving away a “two-technician license” of the “Incident Manager” version for free (licensed for a fee per tech above 2) with current support customers. Fully ITIL-compliant for 11 of the 14 practices.  The “Service Manager” is the full product (in a much larger scope of use) that is unlocked with a key.  Has its own database, runs on separate server, stand-alone;  will likely be somewhat integrated into ZCC down the road.

Again, much thanks to the Novell Education folks for their hard work.  I’m excited about the new version!

…And of course, if you need help with your ZCM 11 deployment or upgrade, please contact me, Your ZCM Guy!



  1. rob

    hey jeremy i was actually in that same class as you last week, and my boss ended up being in the thurs / fri class and he said zcm 11 got pushed back to jan 2011 for release date now. Not sure if you heard anything about this or not?

  2. Jeremy Pavlov

    @ Rob –

    I’m not terribly surprised, though I’ve not heard any news. I’m guessing you’ve just started the public rumor…


    UPDATE, 20101111: From Novell in an email, “Between now and January 5, 2011, the product’s release date, you can download a Release Candidate (RC3) from the Novell ZENworks 11 web site.”

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