Enterprise Software

Installing ZENworks for Desktops

Gerald Foster continues his explanation of how to perform your ZENworks for Desktops installation while avoiding performance problems.


In the Daily Drill Down entitled “An Introduction to ZENworks for Desktops,” we gave you a general overview of what ZENworks for Desktops is and how it works. In this Daily Drill Down, we’ll cover installing ZENworks for Desktops on your network. This installation can be complicated for the novice because it asks questions that are difficult to answer unless you understand the issues surrounding them. We’ll explain all of the components and how to perform the installation without causing future performance problems.

Think first
Although ZENworks for Desktops is very easy to install, if you don’t plan things in advance, it has the potential to degrade the performance of your NDS. This product can add a large number of objects into your NDS tree, so you should think carefully about where to place the components so that enhancement of your desktop service does not come at the expense of NDS performance.

ZENworks has many components. Knowing what all these pieces are for can be rather confusing at first. You’ll probably find that most of them are not required, but it’s a good idea to know absolutely which ones you need and which ones you don’t. If you’re new to ZENworks for Desktops, it’s probably best to install as little as possible on the client. The server installation is quite straightforward when you know what the different components are. If you’re installing for the first time, you may be better off keeping it simple at this stage.

Looking after your NDS tree
Your NDS tree probably has a variety of objects, consisting mostly of users, servers, volumes, and print queues. It can accept as many objects as you wish, but ZENworks for Desktops will add objects into your tree that can affect logon performance. The tricky part is deciding where to place these objects in your NDS tree. It’s especially important to place them relative to other objects so that NDS will continue to perform in the way you expect.

ZENworks for Desktops can potentially double the number of objects in your NDS tree. It is a good idea to take account of this issue now so that you can strategically plan how to organize your NDS tree to accommodate them. It may not require a total rethink of your NDS, but considerations such as where these objects should reside and where replicas should be placed are a good idea at this stage.

ZENworks for Desktops contains 11 powerful new object types. The installation will extend the schema and add snap-ins to NetWare Administrator to allow the following object types to be used:
  • Policy Package objects: There are seven Policy Package objects that are designed to restrict users and workstations. These include the Windows NT User Policy Package, Windows 95/98 User Policy Package, and Windows 3.x User Policy Package. These policies are associated with User objects and should be placed as close as possible to those objects. Also included are the Windows NT Workstation Policy Package, Windows 95/98 Workstation Policy Package, and Windows 3.x Workstation Policy Package. These policies are associated with Workstation objects and should be placed as close as possible to those objects. A Container Policy Package is also included, which can be used to ensure that policy search times are reduced.
  • Application objects: Application objects contain details about how to install and run an application. They can be associated with User objects or Workstation objects. Application objects should be placed as close as possible to the objects with which they are associated. If you have slow network links, you may wish to partition and replicate the applications to the other side of the slow link. For the purposes of the installation, the objects can be moved after they’re created.
  • Application Folder objects: You can place these objects anywhere in the NDS that suits you. This special type of object is provided as a tool for you to more easily visualize the folder structure you’re developing. The object is never referenced by either users or workstations because the folder information is actually stored in the Application object itself.
  • Workstation objects: If you have as many workstations as you do users and you have numerous users, you should consider the placement of Workstation objects in the same way you did User objects. Workstation objects are very similar to User objects in many respects. Because your NDS is composed mostly of users, you could have as many workstations as users, thereby doubling the number of objects in your tree. You should carefully consider the rules regarding the placement of these objects, especially if your organization has slow network links.
  • Workstation Group objects: As a general rule, workstation groups should be treated like user groups. Place workstation groups near the workstations, but they should not be allowed to span a slow network link.

The workstation software installation
Before you can begin installing ZENworks for Desktops on your server, you must have at least one workstation on your network running a Novell client. Even though you can access a NetWare server with the Microsoft Client for NetWare Networks, you can’t use ZENworks for Desktops with it.

The workstation installation is pretty straightforward, so we won’t go into detail about installing the NetWare client. Just so you’re aware, however, the workstation installation gives you several options depending upon the platform you’re installing to. The components and what they do are listed below:
  • The NetWare Client (Windows 2000, NT, and 9x): A new authentication module is installed called the NWGina, which will authenticate to NDS or Bindery NetWare server or to a Windows NT domain. No transport-layer protocols will be installed, but you can use either the TCP/IP or IPX transports provided by Microsoft as part of the operating system. The client also includes a GUI map function for mapping drives and printers.
  • Workstation Manager (Windows 2000, NT, and 9x): An agent is installed that performs work on the workstation defined by you in NDS Policy objects. The Workstation Manager has a scheduler to perform the work when needed. It can create accounts on Windows NT/2000 Workstations as well as install and configure printers as defined by you in a Policy object.
  • Application Launcher Service (Windows 2000 and NT): This Windows NT/2000-only service distributes files and registry keys to the workstation without having to give the user inappropriate NTFS permissions.
  • ZENworks Remote Management (Windows 2000, NT, and 9x): The Remote Management components of the ZENworks Full Pack require an agent to be installed on the workstation. This option installs the agent, which is then configured via a User or Workstation Policy.
  • Novell IP Gateway (Windows 2000, NT, and 9x): If you have an application requiring IP on the workstation, but have only IPX present, this service will allow Windows Socket-compliant API calls to be redirected to the NetWare server.
  • Novell Target Service Agent (Windows 2000, NT, and 9x): If you want the workstation to be backed up by the NetWare server, then this service must be installed on the workstation.
  • Novell SNMP Agent (Windows 9x): An SNMP Management console will require SNMP functionality on the workstation if it is to be viewed as a manageable object. This agent will respond to SNMP requests from the Management console.
  • Host Resources MIB for the Novell Client (Windows 9x): This is an extension to the SNMP Agent described above. This MIB returns inventory information to the Management console.

Now that you know what all these components do, you can probably guess that you don’t actually need most of them. If this is a first-time install, just select the Client And Workstation Manager. If you’re installing on a Windows NT/2000 Workstation, also make sure you select the Application Launcher Service. The Remote Management Agent may be important to you, but it’s probably best left to a later stage—although installing it at this stage will do no harm.

Planning the server install
I’ve found that one of the annoying things about the server install is that Novell neglected to include a Browse button to ask which server you’re installing to. That means you must remember to authenticate to the server you wish to install to before running the installer. It’s probably a good idea to log out from any server that you don’t wish the install to copy files to. The server will require the following minimum resources:
  • NetWare 4.11 with Support Pack 6 installed
  • NDS Version 5.99a
  • 64 MB of memory
  • 200 MB of disk space on the SYS volume for a complete installation

Make sure that the NDS replica ring is fully synchronized before you start the installation. It’s also recommended that no one be logged on to the server for the duration of the installation.

If you wish to install the inventory function, then you’ll need to decide how the inventory should be configured in your environment. The data is collected by the gather process and is stored on an inventory server in temporary files. These files are then transferred to the database server, where they are permanently stored.

It’s quite possible that the inventory server and the database server are the same machine, but if you have even a medium-size installation, you’re advised to split the tasks. Although it’s entirely reasonable to have several inventory servers, you should deploy only one database server unless you have more than 10,000 workstations. If your organization has offices connected via slow network links, you should have an inventory server at the end of each slow link.

Installing the server software
After you’ve made all these decisions, it’s time to insert the ZENworks for Networks CD and proceed with the install. I always select the Custom option when I install anything, and this is certainly no exception. Custom installations give you more control about what’s being installed and let you know what the installation program wants to install before it does so. If you’ve planned carefully, you’ll know exactly what you want to install.

After being presented with some obvious screens (click Next to bypass them), you’ll see the first Select Components screen. Here you can select from the following options:
  • Application Management and Distribution: This speaks for itself. Most of you will want to manage applications. If you want this function, select this option.
  • Workstation Maintenance: This option will install the remote control components to the server.
  • Desktop Management: If you wish to use Policy Packages, select this option.
  • NWADMIN32: This option allows you to install NetWare Administrator. You’ll need it if you haven’t already installed it on your network.
  • Copy Clients to Network: If you wish to distribute clients from the network, select this option.

When you click Next, you’ll see another Select Components screen. This screen lets you select from the following options and components:
  • Files: At a minimum, you’ll need the files copied to the server.
  • Schema Extensions: If this is a first install to the tree, then you must check this option; otherwise you can leave it unchecked. It makes the extensions to NDS that ZENworks needs.
  • Application Objects: This option installs some Application objects to the container where your user ID resides. They can be moved later to a better location.
  • Workstation Registry Entries: This option updates the workstation with the correct snap-ins for NetWare Administrator.

After you make your selections and click Next, the installation will proceed. At the end, the installation program will ask you to prepare a container for Workstation object registration. If you don’t wish to perform this step at this stage, you can cancel it. The step can easily be performed later and may be better left for then if you don’t understand the issues involved.

Finishing up
The server installation is complete. You can now use NetWare Administrator to view your NDS. You’ll see very little change except for some Application objects in the Organizational Unit context where your current ID resides. If you’ve installed the inventory modules, you’ll see some NLM processes running on the server, which are started in the Autoexec.ncf file.

Conclusion
In this Daily Drill Down, we covered installing ZENworks for Desktops on your network. We explained the various components and showed how to perform the installation to avoid performance problems. It’s best to install only the ZENworks components that you need and no more. If you’re investigating this product, we strongly advise you to install to a test NDS tree until you have a complete plan of what you intend to do.

Gerald Foster is a computer officer at the University of Cambridge Computing Service. He has an M.Sc. in computer science and specialized in computer networking. He has considerable experience providing strategic solutions for IT departments and rolling out Windows NT Server and Workstation in the UK. He has moved the University of Cambridge Public Workstation Service from Windows 3.1 to Windows NT Workstation, using ZENworks to integrate their large Novell NetWare network. He has published several books including O'Reilly's Desktop Management with Novell ZENworks.

The authors and editors have taken care in preparation of the content contained herein but make no expressed or implied warranty of any kind and assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. No liability is assumed for any damages. Always have a verified backup before making any changes.

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