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Novell ZENworks, a suite of software products developed and maintained by Novell, Inc. for computer systems management, aims to manage the entire life cycle of servers, of desktop PCs (Windows or Linux), of laptops, and of handheld devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs). ZENworks recently included full disk encryption functionality. ZENworks supports multiple server platforms and multiple directory services.
Kevin Hopton, a corporate systems engineer at Novell, first conceived of the software which later became NAL (Novell Application Launcher) in 1993. The original concept involved using the Novell Directory Services (NDS) directory as a namespace and storage engine that, in concert with a client console program, would perform just-in-time application-configuration. The directory namespace - global, unambiguous and outside the influence of end users - provided a highly reliable mechanism for ensuring that the methods invoked for launching the application were those defined by expert staff.
The prototype consisted of a demonstration app named "Magic Windows" due to the automatic correction of configuration errors after the double-click and before the launch. Kevin Hopton was the primary architect and developer of Magic Windows but received important assistance from JD Marymee in the creation of AppWare objects that enabled directory access. Hopton produced a second version, written in Delphi and with UI assistance from Eric Burkholder. That version added representation for users and several other object classes.
Once the demonstration application proved a hit with customers, Novell's software-engineering organization took over the code and rewrote it from scratch in C. The key engineers and architects for this official version (named Novell Application Launcher or NAL) were Damon Janis, Kelly Sonderegger, Matt Brooks and Calvin Gaisford. Sandy Marymee handled marketing. NAL was well received by the network-administrator community and its use and adoption quickly grew. The success of NAL led to a desire to expand its functionality. Notably, Kent Prows lobbied for addition of software distribution capabilities, Samm DiStasio came up with the name "ZENworks" (for "Zero Effort Networking") with Allen Tietjen driving the bundle. The "Novell Application Launcher" service and executable program-names with the .nal file extension persist.
Novell later created a version that diversified the managed object class to include users. That solution (based on the second iteration of Magic Windows, engineered primarily by Damon Janis) was named "UserNet" and appeared at the Novell Brainshare conference in 1994.
Kelly Sonderegger had done prior work relating to NDS as a shared Windows registry, and that work significantly influenced the design of the official versions of NAL and ZENworks.
The new name, "ZENworks", first appeared as "Z.E.N.works" in 1998 with ZENworks 1.0 and with ZENworks Starter Pack - a limited version of ZENworks 1.0 that came bundled with NetWare 5.0 (1998). Novell added server-management functionality, and the product grew into a suite consisting of:
- "ZENworks for Desktops" (ZfD)
- "ZENworks for Servers" (ZfS)
Novell has continued to add components to the suite, which it sells under the consolidated name "ZENworks Suite".
- Dayley, Brad (2006). Novell ZENworks 7 Suite Administrator's Handbook. Novell Press. ISBN 978-0-672-32846-6.
- Tanner, Ron (2006). Novell ZENworks 7 Linux Management Administrator's Handbook. Novell Press. ISBN 978-0-672-32784-1.
- Dayley, Brad (2005). ZENworks 6.5 Suite Administrator's Handbook. Novell Press. ISBN 978-0-7897-3204-0.
- Dayley, Brad (2003). Novell ZENworks for Desktops 4 Administrator's Handbook. Novell Press. ISBN 978-0-7897-2985-9.
- Dayley, Brad (2003). Novell ZENworks for Servers 3 Administrator's Handbook. Novell Press. ISBN 978-0-7897-2986-6.
- SECUDE Provides Full Disk Encryption Capability to Novell ZENworks
- "Novell Doc: ZENworks 11 SP2 Installation Guide - System Requirements". Novell. 2012-04-20.
- Anderson, Brad (1998-05-01). "An Introduction to ZENworks: Zero Effort Networking for Users". Novell Inc. Retrieved 2009-03-30. "The name ZENworks is short for "Zero Effort Networks." The name is not intended to imply that Novell is able to eliminate the work and effort associated with deploying and maintaining a network on the administrative side.[...]The name ZENworks was chosen to suggest that network administrators can remove the obstacles and frustrations that prevent users from effortlessly accessing the resources on the network. [Theoretically,] zero effort is required from users."
- Compare Heskett, Ben (1998-02-11). "Novell Z.E.N. enlightens desktops". CNET News. Retrieved 2010-08-03. "The company [...] will release an open beta version of its Z.E.N.works (Zero Effort Networks) software suite next month [...], with final shipment due in the second quarter."