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ZENworks is not dead

Sep 23, 20033 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Red Carpet will not replace ZENworks

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Some members of the press just seem to go out of their way to try to create controversy, especially (it seems) about Novell. Now I’ll admit that I enjoy a spicy bit of gossip about the company, but there’s enough legitimate stuff to fulminate about without having to make up things, or create controversy where none exists. Here’s what I mean.

At the recent BrainShare Europe in Barcelona, it was announced that Red Carpet, the management package Novell acquired when it purchased Ximian, would replace ZENworks in the upcoming Nterprise Linux Services product. Novell spokesman Kevan Barney was quoted by one publication as saying “ZENworks would have worked, but our engineers found Red Carpet was closer to meeting the needs of our customers.” Some people took this to mean that ZENworks was now a dead product. Folks, that’s the kind of thinking that keeps Novell from saying anything to the press.

As Barney told me afterwards, what he actually said was that, “For the management services that are going into Nterprise Linux Services 1.0, Red Carpet technology is the better choice. ZENworks is good, Red Carpet a little better (for this specific purpose).” In other words, Red Carpet – at this point in time – does Linux better than ZEN does. But that implies nothing about what might happen a year or two from now when NetWare 7 (the one running on a Linux kernel) gets shipped.

Personally, I think we’ll see that Red Carpet gets subsumed into ZENworks to create a package that will run on (and manage) Linux, NetWare, even Windows and Solaris – in short, any platform on which eDirectory can run. To do otherwise would make no sense. ZENworks and what it does is inextricably tied to eDirectory. That’s good, but ZENworks is also the application (or service, if you will) that can be the “killer app” for eDirectory. People want ZENworks, so they’ll install eDirectory to get it. If there’s no ZENworks for a particular platform, then there’s less incentive to install eDirectory.

There will be another version of NetWare. There will be another version of ZENworks. There may or may not be another version of Red Carpet, but its functionality will live on even if the name doesn’t. Of course, “Red Carpet” is a good name for a management product. And how many people remember that ZENworks used to be Z.E.Nworks and stood for “Zero Effort Networks”? Perhaps it is the kharma of ZENworks to become Red Carpet. I will go and ask my master. His answer, of course, will mystify me but that is why he is the master.