With Windows no longer the only fruit on corporate desktops, Dell has updated its KACE K1000 management appliance to provide support for a much broader range of both existing and upcoming platforms. Dell has also added a new API to handle clients for which an agent isn't available, as well as enhanced the reporting and patching capabilities and upgraded the hardware for new buyers.
Available in 10 languages and 110 countries, the new software (known simply as v5.4) will be a one-click upgrade that can be implemented on existing appliances at no charge. New customers will also benefit from upgraded hardware on which to host it, Dell installing the new 5.4 software on its 12th-generation 1U PowerEdge R420 rack server hardware.
Whether upgrading or buying a new appliance, what you get will be agents to support not just the upcoming Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, but all versions of Apple OSX, including the recent Mountain Lion implementation, plus Ubuntu, SUSE and Red Hat Enterprise Linux distros.
Unfortunately the Windows 8 client is x86 only, which means that tablets running Windows 8 RT, also due out later this year, won't be supported.
Android and Apple iOS don't get agents either, which could be seen as serious omission against a background of increasing acceptance on the back of the BYOD phenomenon. However, a separate module to cope with smartphones, tablets and other devices based on these and other platforms is rumoured to be in testing and could well be unveiled at Dell World in December.
For more obscure and legacy platforms, a new Machine Inventory API will enable integration with the KACE management appliance. This sounds good, but it will call for scripting work at the client end, to collect the inventory information and package it as an XML file ready for use by the appliance.
On the plus side, agents already deployed by customers won't have to be updated to work with the new release. There's also a new one-click update option to cope with future agent changes. Likewise, the ability to selectively download patches has been added to optimise the more general software patching process, making it more efficient and better able to cope with the enhanced range of platforms.
Reporting has been enhanced too, with new multi-object reports now available to, for example, list the patches applied to clients running different OS versions on the network.
Other changes include an enhancements to the audit trail and configuration history options plus tweaks to the user portal.
The updated Dell KACE K1000 Management Appliance, based on the PowerEdge R420 hardware will be available for purchase in November 2012. Prices remain unchanged, starting at £8,000 including one year of support. A virtual machine implementation is also in the offing.