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Windows Alternative to Novell ZENworks Application Launcher

Posted on 2007-11-26
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Last Modified: 2010-07-27
I have just upgrade one of my customers from Novell Netware 6.5 to a Windows Server 2003 network.  Under the Novell network, they were using ZENworks Application Launcher to distribute their applications based on a group membership.  Now that they are in a Windows network, they do not have this functionality anymore.   My customer really wants/needs something similar.  Does anyone have any recommendations on a product that is similar to Application Launcher?  You help is much appreciated.
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Question by:simplemojo
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by:weareit
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You can use SMS for the same functionality.  Windows Server 2003 also offers policy application installations (using MSI's) out of the box.

http://www.microsoft.com/smserver/default.mspx
http://www.microsoft.com/mspress/books/sampchap/5867.aspx#SampleChapter

-saige-
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by:simplemojo
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Thanks for the quick response.  I am not looking to install the applications. I should have given you more detail.  Here is how my customer was using app launcher:  When the user logs into the workstation, app laucher appears with a window of icons.  These icons are network applications.  No installation is needed as they are all launched from the application server.  The icons that appear are based on group membership.  The user cannot close the app launcher window, only minimize it.  We have tried creating a folder with the necessary icons in it and then placing it in the startup folder, but this is not a good enough solution.  This has to be managed at each workstation and the user can close the folder.

We need to install an application on each workstation so when the user logs on, the app is launced and the appropriate icons appear based on group membership in active directory.  This application needs to have a server console to be able to manage this.
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by:weareit
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As I said, SMS can be used for the same functionality.  We did the same type of migration at a hospital a few years back.

-saige-
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alextoft earned 500 total points
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With all due respect, SMS is garbage compared to Zenworks.

What you want is Zenworks Configuration Management. It doesn't require Netware, and it doesn't require eDirectory. It's all web-based and runs on either a Windows or Linux server (using SQL Server or Sybase as a back-end DB), and you can bind it to Active Directory in order to associate apps with workstations, users, groups etc etc.... All the policy, application, asset and patch management you've ever wanted in 1 great package.


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by:weareit
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alex I agree that SMS is garbage compared to ZENWorks but up until a few minutes ago I didn't know of another option.  Thanks.  ;)

-saige-
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by:alextoft
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I've used ZCM a couple of times since its release earlier this year and been pretty impressed with it. It's exclusively MSI as far as kicking out applications, but you've still got the NAL, and you can associate policies, apps etc. with AD users/groups/OU's just as you would using the old Zen architecture.

I'm actually at Novell UK today (abusing their free wifi :), and been chatting to some of the techies here about ZCM and plans for the future. It's a great product with a great future now it's been freed from its eDirectory requirement.
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