Novell has demonstrated new software that is designed to simplify the management of Windows desktops for small and medium-sized enterprises.
The software, Zenworks Configuration Management, can be used to manage desktops running versions of Microsoft's Windows operating system from Windows 2000 through Windows Vista, said Martin Buckley, product management director of Novell's systems and resource management business unit, speaking at the Cebit trade show in Hanover, Germany.
A tie-up between Novell and Microsoft, signed in November, will see Microsoft will recommend Novell’s Suse Linux Enterprise platform and is expected to improve interoperability between the operating systems of the two firms – increasing the market for Novell products among Windows users.
The new software shown at Cebit will run on either Windows 2003, Suse Enterprise Linux or Novell Open Enterprise Server, and will integrate natively with Novell's eDirectory and Microsoft Active Directory without the need for metadirectory software such as Novell's Identity Manager, Buckley said.
Doing without Identity Manager would not cut software licensing costs, because the product is already included with Zenworks, but it would cut indirect costs by eliminating the need for additional hardware and support to run it, he said.
The directory integration allows IT managers to control the desktop according to policies related to the user's role, for example by installing different applications or allowing access to specific network resources.
"It will manage deployment, software distribution, asset management and, of course, patching," Buckley said.
Zenworks Configuration Management is still in beta testing with 30 users, and should go on sale by the end of June, he said.
Buckley said Virgin Radio was among the beta testers. Policy and role-based management was particularly important for the radio station because of the very different IT needs of finance managers and DJs, he added.