Novell Inc. has announced what it is dubbing as the first cross-platform systems management suite that allows businesses to manage their Windows workstations from a Linux platform.Novell Zenworks 7 Suite automates lifecycle management across desktops, laptops, servers and handheld devices, reducing management costs and improving security across the organization, according to the Waltham, Mass.-based organization.
“It doesn’t mean we’re abandoning everything we’ve done before,” said Ross Chevalier, chief technology officer at Novell Canada. “We’re simply extending it out to provide very comprehensive management both through Linux servers and Linux workstations.”
IT administrators now only need to learn one toolset to manage an organization’s IT assets. When Novell acquired Ximian Inc. in 2003, it inherited its desktop client software tool called Red Carpet, which allows users to manage Linux software installed on workstations and servers.
“Now it’s going to be a lot simpler from a learning and operational perspective,” said Chevalier. “The admin staff is not going to have to learn two or three different tools or launch more than one application to provide centralized management and services.”
Zenworks 7 also allows customers to automate their migration to Novell Linux Desktop — a feature Novell hopes will spur sales of its Linux desktop software, which currently lag behind its server software sales.
“If customers can see value and see a significant reduction in their operational expense because that one tool does everything, then that is absolutely going to accelerate the adoption of Linux on the desktop,” he said.
Derick Wong, senior product manager for security and management at Microsoft Canada Co., said it’s a good sign to see organizations like Novell bringing out cross-platform products.
“Not only is Microsoft looking at the management of a heterogeneous environment, other organizations are seeing the benefits of that and are doing that also,” said Wong.
Microsoft management products include Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM), which interoperates with several computing environments including Linux, Sun and IBM, and Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003. When MOM launched last fall, Microsoft introduced a MOM connector framework to allow other organizations to write plug-ins so that MOM could manage them. Microsoft relies on its independent software vendor (ISV) partners that write connectors into MOM for management of Linux-based systems.
“SMS can handle patches, update deployments to Microsoft environments including applications not just operating systems,” said Wong. “That’s the type of unified set of features and functionality that users are going to need.” Chevalier, however, pointed out that Zenworks and MOM are only comparable “as long as you’re only talking about Windows.”