Novell will steal a march on Microsoft's Zero Administration initiative later this year when it introduces its new desktop management system, ZENWorks. ZEN stands for Zero Effort Networks, and is designed to battle the NC on manageability and cost of ownership. ZENWorks, Novell claims, brings centralised management, software distribution, and desktop management and maintenance to the PC. The software, to ship in March, embraces a number of desktop management initiatives, including Intel's Wired for Management specification, and Microsoft's Zero Administration for Windows (ZAW), which will ship with NT 5.0 in 1999. ZENWorks uses Novell Directory Services (NDS) to provide distributed policy management, and enhances a user's "digital persona" in NDS to allow customised or personalised desktops. It also provides secure remote control capabilities for maintenance, and a problem reporting mechanism that utilises a Help Request Application icon on the user's desktop. This sends a "Trouble Ticket" to the network administrator, giving detailed information about the fault and the user's configuration. ZENWorks will snap into Novell's Java-based platform for network management, codenamed Houston. The Houston SDK will ship in the third quarter of this year, allowing third parties to integrate their applications into the Houston managment console. This will be available in August as an upgrade to NetWare, available for download from Novell's Web site. Novell intends to integrate all its management applications, including ManageWise and NetWare Administrator, into Houston, as well as other utilities and functions written entirely in Java. NetWare Administrator for Houston will ship in August, ManageWise IT in September, and the second version of ZENWorks by the end of the year.
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