Dell has announced an upgrade to its Dell Kace 1000 Systems Management Appliance, version 6.3 delivering "first-to-market systems management support of Chromebook", along with agentless inventory of Windows servers plus agentless discovery and asset management of connected non-PC devices such as printers and projectors.
The Kace 1000, which is available as a physical, virtual or cloud-hosted appliance, forms part of an extensive Dell IT management stack that includes enterprise mobility management, identity and access management, VPNs and next-generation firewalls, data protection, database management and data centre/cloud management.
In August last year Gartner forecast that Chromebook sales would reach 5.2 million units in 2014, a 79 percent increase from 2013, and that by 2017 sales would grow to 14.4 million units. That's still a low-single-figure percentage of the entire PC market, but the growth -- particularly in the education market -- has clearly prompted Dell's move to add Chromebook support to the Kace K1000. As well as Dell, Chromebook vendors include Samsung, Acer, HP and Lenovo.
With the version 6.3 software, the K1000 will extract Chromebook data that's currently made available by Google (see screenshot above), allowing the appliance to perform day-to-day management tasks like hardware inventory, reporting and service desk functions.
Another version 6.3 enhancement is the ability to do agentless asset management of Windows systems (already supported for Mac, Linux and Unix systems), which should alleviate performance concerns around agent installation on mission-critical Windows servers. IT managers will also get configurable server log monitoring for Windows, Linux and Unix platforms, integrated with the K1000's service desk and reporting functions, and with the K1000 GO Mobile App for Android and iOS.
The enhanced agentless functionality in version 6.3 also gives the Kace K1000 greater visibility into network resources such as printers, projectors, UPSs, routers and switches. Virtually any networked device with an IP address that can send information via SNMP can now deliver actionable data -- such as toner level, lamp life or battery level -- to the K1000. Other new features include streamlined patch management, service desk improvements, enhanced integration with Dell Enterprise Mobility Management via single sign-on, and software asset management extensions to support more licence types and an inventory of Microsoft App-V-installed applications.
The Kace K1000, which can handle up to a recommended 20,000 PCs and servers, starts at $8,900 for the physical or virtual appliance and licences for 100 managed computers (PCs or servers), with extra licences costing $31 each. An additional 200 servers can be licensed for $2,000, and up to 250 Chromebooks and non-computing devices for $1,250. The hosted K1000 service starts at $6.50 per system per month, with server monitoring costing $85 per month and Chromebook/non-PC management at $50 per month.