ZENworks CMEE v10
Strengths: Covers most operating systems, good asset management and patch management tool
Weaknesses: Limited compliance and risk reporting capabilities
Verdict: Definitely review for your asset and patch management needs
ZENworks Configuration Management Enterprise Edition v10 from Novell is a bundle of integrated software that uses policy-based automation to configure, secure and track endpoints across their lifecycles. Its modules include configuration, patch, asset and endpoint security management.
The offering supports most operating systems, with Windows 7 on the way. The implementation is simple, with an easy-to-use Q&A process-driven menu. The server side application load takes 20 minutes. It is agent-based and agents can be deployed through various automated options. Automatic discovery of devices is included via IP address or LDAP integration.
Patch management requires a subscription service and includes roughly 70 vendors. Functionality is good and reporting is detailed and intuitive enough to deploy patches right from a report. Reports are available to prove compliance with policy.
The software distribution capability was what you would expect it to be: build packages and deploy them now, or on some scheduled basis. We found some nice capabilities in this module, such as the ability to build out your own .msi package without having to possess programming knowledge. Additionally, there were some nice tools already available from a pull-down menu to allow you to do various pre- or post-deployment tasks, ie make a registry change, copy a .dll, or rename a file. The software distribution component managed that deployment through the lifecycle and could provide refresh or reload options in an automated fashion.
The policy management component allowed you to set up various policies for the endpoint. You could create, distribute, enforce and monitor security policies - such as personal firewall, wireless access, USB security and file encryption - on endpoint devices and set up specific bookmarks within browser configurations.
Email alerting is available but requires an external SMTP forwarder. Reporting and centralised logging were very good. There were simple asset and inventory reports available with the base system. ZENworks Reporting Server delivers advanced reporting capabilities and links to remediation tools.