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Novell Extends Wares to Windows Management

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Novell has become a well-known Linux vendor, but it has ambitions to be known as a Windows management vendor, too.

The Linux vendor’s new management tool delivers policy and patching for Windows and Linux.

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Need a Definition?

Enter Novell’s ZENworks Configuration Management, released Tuesday as a multi-OS
tool that enables patch, policy and endpoint security management on both
Windows and Linux operating systems. The new tool also builds in technology from security
vendor Senforce, which Novell acquired on Monday.

Richard Whitehead, director of product marketing for Novell, explained to that the Senforce technology
extends ZenWorks to endpoint devices. The Sendforce technology has been
billed by some as a Network Access Control (NAC) type of technology, though
Whitehead argued that NAC is not Novell’s goal.

Management is what the new ZENworks Configuration Management product is all
about. Whitehead noted that the product has been in development for a year. The first public beta was released in March.

“The big focus of this release is about easing the pain of deployment and
management of Windows desktops,” Whitehead explained. “This product is
fully aware of directory services to provide near real time updates based on
user identity and not just identity of the machine.”

Administrators are able to set security policies across both Windows and Linux machines, while others are specific, based on the operating system. One generally
applicable policy that ZENworks Configuration Management manages is who is
able to remotely control a machine, which can be set — regardless of the operating system.

When it comes to more specific pieces of security policy such as SUSE
Linux’s AppArmor and Microsoft’s UAC, both of which are user access control
type of systems, Whitehead noted that the configurations are specific to the
OS in question.

System management is handled via a user agent that is
remotely administered. Whitehead explained that the policy work takes place on the back end server and, as such, is non-intrusive to the end user. The agent itself is an adaptive agent that can self-update.

“So there is no need for an administrator to have to go machine by machine
to update,” Whitehead said.

Although relations between Novell and Microsoft can be described as friendlier since last November when they signed an interoperability and patent deal, the fruits of that partnership are not yet part of ZENworks Configuration Management.

“What the agreement will allow us to do is leverage the WS-MAN standard,” Whitehead said. “It’s a common way of describing the management versus how it is managed. The how is still unique to Microsoft or Novell.”

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