Novell says ZenWorks key to Fossa Project success

SALT LAKE CITY – Novell has positioned its ZenWorks systems and identity management product line as a central piece to its newly unveiled “Fossa Project” strategy, which aims to turn compute infrastructure into collaboration infrastructure.

This includes a focus on new enhancements to its virtualization, Linux, orchestration, policy, identity, compliance, and collaboration tools. In a nutshell, Novell wants to allow users the freedom to work more efficiently with both physical and virtual machines along with the integration of its management tools, identity services, collaboration software, and open source operating systems.

The company named the strategy after the agile Madagascan animal of the same name, but are now referring to it as ‘Free and Open Source Software with Agility. ‘”

Novell chief Ron Hovespian said that move to mixed IT environments – where a variety of server and desktop platforms might be used under the same roof – allows ZenWorks to fit in quite nicely with Fossa and the rest of Novell’s IT services.

“If you think about our two pronged strategy, we’ve got a desktop to data centre Linux strategy at our core,” Hovespian said. “So, what we’ve done is built tools around virtualization, management of those servers, and desktop tools. ZenWorks represents that desktop set of tools.”

He said the heart of Novell’s technical vision, as well as its partnerships with companies like Microsoft, is to ensure that users can have the freedom to use any device they want and maintain the safety and security that go along with that.

Novell’s ZenWorks systems and asset management software suite – which aims to manage the entire lifecycle of servers, Windows and Linux-based desktops and laptops, and handheld devices – has spent a significant amount of time in the spotlight at this week’s Brainshare conference in Salt Lake City, UT.

The suite consists of nine different software packages, including desktop, data, patch, server, asset and endpoint security management offerings. Other services falling under the ZenWorks umbrella include; ZenWorks Orchestrator, which automates IT tasks in the data centre via a policy-based approach; as well as ZenWorks Virtual Machine Management, which allows IT managers to deploy virtual machines across the VMware, Xen or Microsoft virtual environments.

“It works throughout the extent of the entire lifestyle,” Ross Chevalier, CTO at Novell Canada, said. “Systems resource management is almost like the core to which everything passes through. Automation and policy make a huge difference in taking complexity and risk out of IT.” Chevalier said that ZenWorks security and asset management offerings not only help protect the company, but also helps define the user, ensuring they get the right set of services delivered to their machines.

“When somebody’s role changes at a company, how do I ensure that the device is migrated and facilitated to that person,” Chevalier said. “That’s one of the things ZenWorks can help achieve and its truly integral to Novell.”

The Novell Canada CTO also said the software suite will be particularly attractive to Canadian IT managers because of the changing role for many in the country’s workforce. Earlier this year, Framingham, Mass.-based IDC predicted that 75 per cent of U.S. workers would be mobile by the year 2011. Chevalier sees a similar trend in Canada.

“Canadians love ZenWorks because it plays well into our geography,” Chevalier said. “We have lots of smaller towns and not all of us work in the same physical offices. Work is becoming an activity as opposed to a location and if IT departments aren’t able to facilitate that efficiently, the costs could get out of control.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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