Novell: Family Ties

By Baselinemag  |  Posted 2004-02-05 Print this article Print

ZENworks was born in 1998 to help administrators using Novell's NetWare operating system get a handle on their desktop hardware and software.

ZENworks was born in 1998 to help administrators using Novell's NetWare operating system get a handle on their desktop hardware and software. For better or worse, its descendants are still geared toward customers already using Novell network software.

"The big reason we chose ZENworks was because we're a Novell shop," says Christopher Nelson, director of global technical services at H.B. Fuller, a maker of industrial adhesives and sealants based in St. Paul, Minn. Another incentive: Novell gave the company 5,000 ZENworks desktop licenses for only the cost of consulting and a yearly maintenance contract. (The software's list price starts at $69 per PC.)

For others, though, the Novell-centric nature of ZENworks is a disadvantage. DaimlerChrysler, for example, mandates the use of ZENworks across its entire corporation. But Michael DiMaggio, a network manager at DaimlerChrysler who provides support services to 1,100 remote sales workers, would prefer to use Altiris' management software. ZENworks, while easy to use, doesn't easily accommodate those who don't log in to a NetWare-based network, he says: "ZENworks is really designed for the clients inside an office building."

In addition, ZENworks customers say deploying the software can be complex. "You need a small army to install ZENworks—it's kind of the nature of the beast," says Doug Boval, systems engineer at St. Vincent Health. The Indiana health-care provider took a year to fully roll out the software on 4,000 PCs after starting the project in mid-2002.

But now that it's up and running, Boval estimates St. Vincent will save at least $100,000 per year because technicians can now configure a PC remotely instead of visiting an employee's desk—which may be a four-hour drive away. He also says the software helped cut tech support calls by 12% last year compared with 2002. "On a yearly basis, it pays for itself," Boval says.

ZENworks saved the Georgia Court of Appeals from having to add another staffer to its four-person technical-support group, says John Ruggeri, one of the court's technology project managers. For 200 ZENworks desktop licenses, the court paid less than $15,000, compared with $75,000 or more in annual salary Ruggeri says another support tech would have cost. "We decided to invest in software instead of hiring another person to take care of desktops," he says.

1800 South Novell Place
Provo, UT 84606
(801) 861-7000

Ticker: NOVL
Exchange: NASDAQ
Employees: 5,700

David Patrick
VP, General Manager, Resource Management and Ximian Group
In charge of the ZENworks product line, as well as Linux desktop and server software. Previously, he was president and CEO of Ximian, which Novell acquired in August 2003.

Alan Murray
Product Marketing and Management Director, Resource Management
Responsible for ZENworks' product direction. Previously, he was Novell's technical director of global alliances.


ZENworks 6 is software for centrally managing desktops, laptops, servers and handheld devices. The suite, which requires Novell's directory-services software, can let administrators automatically configure, update and troubleshoot computers remotely. ("ZEN" stands for "zero-effort networking.")
Reference Checks

Ron Cook
VP, Technical Strategy and Operations
Project: Electronics retailer uses ZENworks to manage 3,000 desktop PCs, providing software distribution, hardware and software inventory and remote control.

St. Vincent Health
Doug Boval
Systems Engineer
Project: Hospital group delivers applications and software updates to 4,000 computers at 82 clinics and hospitals with ZENworks.

H.B. Fuller
Christopher Nelson
Dir., Global Technical Services
Project: Adhesives company deployed ZENworks primarily for software distribution to 5,000 PCs worldwide because of its tight integration with Novell's directory server.

Packaging Corporation of America
Dustin Sanders
Dir., Networking Services
(847) 482-2656
Project: Box and cardboard manufacturer uses ZENworks to handle application management, patch management and inventory for more than 4,200 desktops.

Georgia Court of Appeals
John Ruggeri
I.T. Project Manager
Project: Uses ZENworks 6 to "lock down" about 200 desktops running Windows XP, limiting the systems' users to certain applications.

Berkshire Industries
Mike Giovaninni
Information Systems Manager
Project: The Westfield, Mass., mechanical parts supplier uses ZENworks 4 to distribute applications to about 85 PCs.

Executives listed here are all users of Novell's products. Their willingness to talk has been confirmed by Baseline.


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