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Micro Focus ZENworks Configuration Management
Developer(s)Micro Focus
Stable release
2017[1] / 22 January 2019; 8 months ago (2019-01-22)
Operating systemCross-platform
TypeSystems management

Micro Focus ZENworks, a suite of software products developed and maintained by Micro Focus International for computer systems management, aims to manage the entire life cycle of servers, of desktop PCs (Windows, Linux or Mac), of laptops, and of handheld devices such as Android and iOS Mobile Phones and Tablets. As of 2011 Novell planned to include full disk encryption functionality within ZENworks.[2] ZENworks supports multiple server platforms and multiple directory services.[3]


The name, "ZENworks", first appeared as "Z.E.N.works" in 1998 with ZENworks 1.0[4] 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)
  • "ZENworks for Handhelds" (ZfH)

Novell has continued to add components to the suite, which it sells under the consolidated name "ZENworks Suite".

The initial ZENworks products had a tight integration with Novell Directory Service (NDS). With the release of ZENworks 10 (2007) the product architecture completely changed, the product became directory agnostic and ZENworks Suite products were integrated into a single management framework.

ZENworks Releases:

Product Version Release Date Notes
Z.E.N.works 1.0 18 May 1998 Initial release
Z.E.N.works 1.1 16 Nov 1998
Z.E.N.works Starter Pack 16 Nov 1998
ZENworks 2 28 Jun 1999
ZENworks for Servers 1 7 Mar 2000
ZENworks for Desktops 3 22 Aug 2000
ZENworks for Servers 2 31 Jan 2001
ZENworks for Desktops 3.2 13 Aug 2001
ZENworks for Servers 3 3 Apr 2002
ZENworks for Desktops 4 27 Aug 2002
ZENworks for Desktops 4.0.1 14 Apr 2002
ZENworks Suite 6 14 Apr 2003 Version number jumped to version 6 as the ZENworks Suite merged ZFD 4, ZFS 3 and ZFH 5
ZENworks Suite 6.5 3 Jun 2004
ZENworks 10 21 Sep 2007 First release of new architecture, version 10 as ZENworks existed for 10 years
ZENworks 10.1 28 Jan 2009
ZENworks 10.2 2 Jan 2010
ZENworks 10.3 6 Apr 2012
ZENworks 11
ZENworks 11.1
ZENworks 11.2
ZENworks 11.3
ZENworks 2017 Dec 2016 Integration of Mobile Management
ZENworks 2017 Update 1 11 jul 2017
ZENworks 2017 Update 2 24 Jan 2018
ZENworks 2017 Update 3 16 Aug 2018
ZENworks 2017 Update 4 Jan 2019

Elements of the ZENworks Suite[edit]

In the latest version of ZENworks Known as ZENworks 2017 the ZENworks Suite consists of seven individual products:

ZENworks Suite
(March 2017)
ZENworks Suite / Platform Product
ZENworks Suite ZENworks 2017 Platform ZENworks Asset Management
ZENworks Configuration Management
ZENworks Endpoint Security Management
ZENworks Full Disk Encryption
ZENworks Mobile Management
ZENworks Patch Management
ZENworks Application Virtualization
Micro Focus Service Desk (Incident Management Edition)

Additionally, Novell offers an ITIL version of "Novell Service Desk". This version is ITIL certified by PinkVERIFY and supports ten ITIL v3 processes. E.g. Change, Incident, Problem and Service Level Management.[5]

Customers can buy the whole suite or choose between individual elements.

Initial development[edit]

Kevin Hopton, a corporate systems engineer at Novell, first conceived of the software which later became NAL (Novell Application Launcher) in 1993. He with the Product Manager, Ron Tanner, are responsible for much of the creation of the program. The original concept involved using the Novell Directory Services (NDS) directory as a namespace and storage engine. NDS, 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 expert staff could define the methods invoked for launching an application (app).

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, the primary architect and developer of Magic Windows, received important assistance from JD Marymee in the writing 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. Key engineers and architects for this official version (named Novell Application Launcher or NAL) included Damon Janis, Kelly Sonderegger, Matt Brooks and Calvin Gaisford. Ron Tanner was brought over to continue to oversee the project, and Sandy Marymee handled marketing. The network-administrator community responded favorably to NAL, and its use and adoption quickly grew.[citation needed]

From this point forward, ZENworks became one of the most profitable products for Novell. Ron Tanner continued to push the project to higher standards, eventually becoming Director of Engineering, overseeing the development of ZENworks until his departure in 2007.

The success of NAL led to a desire to expand its functionality. Notably, Kent Prows lobbied for adding software-distribution capabilities, Samm DiStasio came up with the name "ZENworks" (for "Zero Effort Networks") with Allen Tietjen driving the bundle.[6] The "Novell Application Launcher" service and executable program-names with the .nal file extension persist within ZENworks.

Novell later wrote 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), "UserNet", appeared at the Novell Brainshare conference in 1994.

Kelly Sonderegger had done prior work relating to NDS as a shared Windows registry; that work significantly influenced the design of the official versions of NAL and ZENworks.


  • The ZENworks Agent (also known as the "ZENworks Management Daemon" or "zmd") installs, updates and removes software.[7]
  • ZENworks Configuration Management (ZCM) addresses patching, endpoint security, asset management and provisioning.[8]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • 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.


  1. ^ "ZENworks 2017: One Tool To Rule Them All".
  2. ^ "SECUDE Provides Full Disk Encryption Capability to Novell ZENworks". Media Syndicate. MediaSyndicate.com. 18 November 2011. Retrieved 5 November 2014. Novell will integrate and distribute SECUDE’s Full Disk Encryption technology to its enterprise customers and prospects under the Novell ZENworks brand.
  3. ^ "Novell Doc: ZENworks 11 SP2 Installation Guide - System Requirements". Novell. 20 April 2012.
  4. ^ Compare Heskett, Ben (11 February 1998). "Novell Z.E.N. enlightens desktops". CNET News. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 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.
  5. ^ "Novell ZENworks Frequently Asked Questions. What's the difference between the incident management version and the ITIL version of Novell Service Desk?". novell.com. 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  6. ^ Anderson, Brad (1 May 1998). "An Introduction to ZENworks: Zero Effort Networking for Users". Novell Inc. Retrieved 30 March 2009. 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.
  7. ^ "ZENworks 7.2 Linux Management Administration Guide". Novell Doc. Novell. Retrieved 11 June 2014. The ZENworks Agent [...] sometimes referred to as the ZENworks Management Daemon (zmd) [...] performs software management functions on the ZENworks managed device, including updating, installing, and removing software and performing basic queries of the device's package management database.
  8. ^ Robison, Christopher C.; Broussard, Frederick W. (August 2007). "New Novell Release: ZENworks Configuration Management" (PDF). PC and Device Management Software: Event Flash. Framingham, Massachusetts: IDC. Retrieved 15 January 2015. On August 14, Novell announced the worldwide availability of ZENworks Configuration Management (ZCM). Novell is adding ZENworks Configuration Management to its stable of configuration management products. This new product has integrated patch, endpoint security, and asset management as well as the ability to provision desktops and single servers.

External links[edit]