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Can you migrate from Zen to sms?

Posted on 2007-04-11
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-21
We are currently in the process of conversion from Novell to Microsoft. We have used zenworks to push application icons and the applications themselves to the client computers. Is there any way to export or migrate Zen application objects into sms for easy application deployment?
Question by:jasonwebb2006
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

ID: 18892935
Why would you want to use SMS?  Just upgrade ZEN to ZEN 7.x and run it on Windows - it doesn't need NetWare.  Heck, you could run it on a SLES server and manage your Windows PC's from Linux...

Regardless, upgrading your ZEN to 7.x would probably cost you less than SMS, and will do SO much more than SMS it's not funny.  Really worth considering.  SMS is not cheap, it requires its own client (just like ZEN does) and unlike ZEN, requires you to buy MSSQL server - and unless you sprung for Core CALs you need to get CALs for SMS and MSSQL, besides.

In fact, the next version of ZEN is supposed to work with native AD instead of requiring you to install eDirectory and keep 'em in sync, IIRC.

Remember, just because you want to get off NetWare for whatever reason, that's not a reason to scrap all Novell products.  If you stop thinking of "Novell" as being the same thing as "NetWare" that might help...

(Novell != NetWare),&,(NetWare != Novell)

Remember, Novell (the company) is a technology partner of Microsoft.  It's not a matter of "do you want tea or coffee" but rather of "do you want cream and sugar with your coffee, or is non-dairy creamer and the stuff in the pink pouch good enough?"

At any rate, I don't know if there is a way to export ZEN apps into SMS.  If they're packaged using the MSI packager, then yes, you can set them up to distribute with SMS - or just via AD with GPO for that matter.  

If all you care about is applications, and you can package them yourself into MSI's, you can forget about SMS altogether and just push your apps via policy.  Not as clean or easy as ZEN, but doable.
LVL 19

Expert Comment

ID: 18895984
Have to agree. Zen spanks SMS in almost every way.

I saw a preview of Zen 8 recently, and it's all web-based. No more ConsoleOne and SnAppShot. Web browser and MSI packages.

You can obviously take existing MSI's and use them with SMS, and Installshield Repackager can repackage AXT/AOT based apps to MSI's, but well, I just wouldn't.

Like ShineOn says, you've already got the best, and you don't need Netware to run it.
LVL 10

Accepted Solution

fostejo earned 2000 total points
ID: 18941881

While I know where both ShineOn & alextoft are coming from and agree with most of their sentiments, I suspect you may not have the last say in which toolset you choose ... ie. you're being forced down the management "pure M$, definately not anything to do with Novell" route?

If so, then you have my sympathy, but to answer your question... Even if you could 'convert straight from a ZENWorks NAL object to an SMS deployed application' (and I don't think you can!), you probably wouldn't want to for the following reasons;

1. Your target build is likely to be changing from what you've currently got to a different build; ie. one with the SMS client and without the NetWare client (which you've likely currently got installed?) - there'll no doubt be other changes to the core build as you're 'refreshing' it.  This is likely to cause some issues when a piece of software snapshot on an essentially different build is deployed to your 'new' build - it may not contain all of its dependencies as an example.
2. It's an opportunity to review the snap-shotted applications you've got and decide whether you wish to repackage them straight to MSI or deploy a fresh (latest version?) install via a wrapper script etc.   Afterall, in any decent size enterprise, it's likely that the snapshots of your current applications have been done by different people at different times, working to different standards - some snapshots will invariably be 'better' than others, not containing extraneous registry/FIL file entries etc.  
3. It's also an opportunity to consolidate your applications - identify those applications with no current users, those which appear to be serving the same purpose, even those duplicate snapshots of exactly the same product done by different people and called something subtly different!

To help with points (2) and (3) have a look at NALalyse (available at http://www.johnnyfoster.com) - it's free and will give you an idea of how 'clean' your current snapshotted applications are - it'll also allow you to document them to a point prior to your Tree being decommissioned..

If you do decide to repackage your existing applications, don't underestimate the amount of work involved - even the simplest application will need numerous steps;

- Have you got all the original installation media available?
- Who in the business 'owns' the application and who's the technical expert with the software?
- Have you got all the vendor contact information and support contracts available to you in case of issues?
- Is it actually compatiable with your 'new' build anyway? - ie. does it install by sticking the CD in the drive and going through the normal install procedure?  You'll also need to document all the installation choices made as they'll form the basis of any MSI repackaging work..
- Will the application be expected to run be a non-administrative user on the 'new' build (or might that be the case in the future?)
- What software will the applications be repackaged to MSIs with? (AdminStudio, Wise, etc..)
- What happens with those applications which can't be repackaged? - are they installed via a controlling script, via SMS?
- Once repackaged to an MSI; does it install/uninstall cleanly?
- Are the SMS deployed applications deployed to the user or the machine?
- Are the users expected to 'pull' the applications or are they simply pushed to the user once they log in (and how might this effect licencing where hot-desking / roaming users exist?)

..and many, many, more but that should get you started!!

cheers & good luck..

LVL 35

Expert Comment

ID: 20793470
WRT snapshot vs MSI - current ZEN not only can deploy MSI-based applications (with transform) but comes with an .MSI application packager (at no additional cost) for those apps that do not have MSI-deployment as an option, including but not limited to home-grown applications...

Just to make sure the record's straight, and there's no confusion.  The accepted comment makes it sound like MSI-based deployment can only happen via SMS or whatever they call it now, which is far from the truth.  Zen's been able to deploy .MSI packages since version 3.2, and, as I said, more-current versions of ZEN come with an .msi repackager tool.  SMS doesn't - you have to get your own.  Although alextoft mentions it, I don't think either of us made that abundantly clear.

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