Dell KACE K1000 targets K-12 with new Chromebook support

In addition to Chromebook support, server monitoring has been introduced, and the K1000's agentless capacity enhanced.

KACE Home Page-English sliderDell has announced version 6.3 of its Dell KACE K1000 Systems Management Appliance, which advances its ‘Anypoint’ Systems Management initiative by expanding support to Chromebook, the first vendor to do so. The release also introduces server monitoring, and enhanced the K1000’s agentless capacity.

“There’s a lot in this release,” said Bill Odell, VP of Marketing, Dell Endpoint Systems Management. “Smart devices are changing the definition of systems management. That’s why it’s now Anypoint Management rather than Endpoint Management. We are adapting to where the market is moving.”

A December 2014 study sponsored by Dell found that not only is connectiveness on the increase, but the volume of devices is greatly expanding. 96 per cent of those surveyed had printing devices connected to their networks, while 84 per cent had mobile devices, 78 per cent had telephonic devices and 53 per cent had audio-visual devices connected.

“Anything can be a vulnerability today if it’s on your network.” Odell said. “Systems management has to deal with this explosion of devices.”

A key systems management extension in this release is the support of Chromebook, with seamless integration of inventory integrated directly into the K1000’s asset management, reporting and service desk capabilities.

“This is first-to-market systems management support for the Chromebook, and it extends our multi-platform management,” Odell said. While he acknowledged that most Chromebooks are in the consumer space, the one huge exception is in K12, where Dell has been very strong historically.

“This is a big deal to us, because K-12 is a very big market for us,” he said.

“The Chrome console has very crude levels of systems management,” said Jason Tolu, Senior Product Marketing Manager Dell Endpoint Systems Management. “They recently published an API which makes it possible to support it. We are the first one to take advantage of the API, and as it gets more robust we will be able to add more functionality over time.”

The KACE K1000 extracts all data made available by Google for Chromebooks, integrates it with K1000’s asset management, reporting and service desk, and provides mobile functionality through integration with the K1000 GO mobile app.

“K-12s have been using the Chrome console to configure the PCs, but there’s no service desk functionality, no asset management, no reporting,” Tolu said. “We have been able to pull it all into KACE. It makes school admins’ jobs much simpler.”

A second major innovation is new server monitoring capabilities over systems log and          performance log monitoring, to expand KACE functionality for server management.

“This is entirely new,” Odell said. “We had not been in the server monitoring business, but customers have told us they want this. We won’t step on the toes of traditional monitoring services though, as this will play nicely with them.”

Tolu said that while this is an extremely important addition of functionality, it’s aimed more at small business and isn’t as sophisticated as dedicated monitoring solutions.

“It main addresses a need for small and medium businesses,” he said. “It is not a heavy duty monitoring solution. 20 per cent of all Dell KACE customers do not have a monitoring solution now, and the top reason was cost. A third of those that do have it are not happy, and the main reason is it doesn’t integrate with Dell systems management.” This is fully integrated with other K1000 workflows, and provides, inventory, reporting and alerts with automatic ticketing.

The third major innovation is enhanced agentless technology to provide greater insight for managing network-connected devices. Version 6.0 last year extended agentless capability to the Mac, Linux and UNIX inventory. Now Windows is covered as well.

“It now provides more functionality to let systems managers take control,” Odell said.

“Some companies don’t want agents on mission-critical servers because of fears it will adversely affect performance,” Tolu said. “This takes those performance fears out of the equation.”

Greater visibility through enhanced agentless technology produces actionable insights into a broad spectrum of non-computer devices such as printers, projectors, network routers and switches – all from a single console.

Agentless inventory for connected non-computing devices like printers, projectors, network routers and switches has also been enhanced to provide actionable insights.

“For example, with printers, it can pull SNMP data, or give an alert if toner or battery is low,” Tolu said. “This now goes beyond just inventorying these devices by pulling actionable data. It goes beyond traditional asset management to managing any connected device, through being a single console for managing all connected environments.”

Other elements of the KACE 1000 were enhanced as well. Patch management – the most used feature in KACE – was improved with a streamlined patch catalogue interface and more granular control for patch deployments.

“You also now see a lot more information in real time, instead of having to run reports,” Tolu said.

ServiceDesk functionality has been better integrated into other K1000 workflows, and more functionality now comes directly from the ticket.

“You can now track when tickets are resolved more granularly, which is helpful for assessing techs’ performance and giving end users information about when the issue will be resolved,” Tolu noted.

For systems that still use agents, the deployment process has been streamlined with pre-defined best practices, which Tolu said meant less clicking will be required.

Mobility has been improved through a single sign-on with Dell Enterprise Mobility Management, to make configuration changes without having to do multiple sign-ons. Minor improvements have also been made to software license management. The system can now determine if you bought Retail or. OEM purchased licenses.

K1000 pricing has a base system starting at $8,900 US, which includes a license for 100 managed computers. Addition computers are $31 each, but Chromebooks, only $5 each.

Server Monitoring gives a license to monitor 200 servers for a $2,000 flat fee. $85/month Includes training, support, and maintenance