KACE Blog

  • Dell TechCenter

    Want a more secure environment? Unified systems management can help

    The third platform of computing — social, mobile, cloud and big data — is here, and it has profound implications for systems management.

    Back in the days of mainframes (the first computing platform), systems management had to deal with millions of users and thousands of applications. Client/server and internet technologies (the second platform) increased those numbers to hundreds of millions of users and tens of thousands of apps.

    But even those numbers pale in comparison to today’s numbers. Today, we’re well on our way to fulfilling IDC’s prediction that by 2018, we will see 3.8 billion mobile users, 40 billion devices (five per person!) and 24 zetabytes of data. How can organizations maintain security and compliance in this new reality? Yesterday’s systems management won’t cut it.

    Users are already demanding that technology at work match the unrelenting innovation they experience in their personal lives, including ever more powerful laptops, dizzyingly high-speed wireless networks, ubiquitous VPNs and, especially, choice — choice about which devices to use and where, when and how to get work done. Armed primarily with manual processes and disparate point tools, IT departments are struggling to give employees the technologies and choices they require while maintaining governance and control.

    You need to rethink systems management and move towards a unified approach to meet the challenges of today’s more complex and ever growing environments.  That approach must ensure security and compliance for all connected systems and devices and also deliver the flexibility and scalability needed as users become even more mobile and the internet of things (IoT) continues to expand into the enterprise.

    On Tuesday, April 28, Dell will be hosting a webcast with IDC. At this webcast, you will learn what IDC research manager Robert Young has to say about improving security through more comprehensive systems management of your connected endpoints.  You will also find out more about how Dell Endpoint Systems Management (ESM), featuring Dell KACE appliances, can provide you with a unified anypoint systems management approach to manage and secure your enterprise into the future — efficiently and effectively.

    I hope you’ll join us.

  • Dell TechCenter

    Asset Management Without Agents — New Tech Brief

    Everybody in IT wants systems management. Traditionally, that has been accomplished by installing an agent on a managed system. However, not all systems or devices can support an agent. Some systems, such as electronic kiosks, ATMs or point-of-service devices are locked and simply do not allow installation of any additional software, including an agent from a systems management solution. And many smart, connected non-computer devices, such as printers or scanners, do not allow for installation of an agent.

    And, not everybody wants to install an agent on all of their systems. Justifiable or not, there is a perception in some IT organizations that the installation of a systems management agent can negatively impact performance. This results in reluctance to install agents on some systems, primarily on mission-critical production servers.

    How does your IT team come down on this issue? Solutions that provide agentless capabilities can expand the scope of your systems management to more devices without worrying about performance concerns.

    Asset Management Without Agents

    Once they have discovered your assets, most systems management products can perform inventory and tracking without an agent (“agentlessly”); discovering the assets without an agent, however, is another story.

    Agentless systems management is easier for organizations that are reluctant to install an agent yet still want complete asset lifecycle management: hardware and software inventory, reporting, service desk, etc. And, of course, you need agentless systems management if you want to discover and monitor non-computer assets like your printers, network devices and storage devices.

    Agentless management connects over SSH, Telnet, SNMP and other protocols to collect device information and report inventory. It’s useful if you’re running unusual OS versions/distributions, or if your organization simply prefers to manage its systems without installing an agent.

    A new comparison paper from Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. (EMA), called “Best Practices in Lifecycle Management,” provides guidance on the agentless asset management capabilities of leading systems management solutions and is a valuable guide for any IT team planning to implement a new systems management product or upgrade an existing one. Download a free copy of the paper and have a look at page 5 of the PDF for a longer discussion about agent-based vs. agentless discovery and inventory management.

  • KACE Blog

    K2000 Deployment Appliance version 3.7 – Service Pack 1

    We are pleased to announce the immediate release of Service Pack 1 for the Dell KACE K2000 Deployment Appliance version 3.7. The K2000 Systems Deployment Appliance makes it easy to fulfill all of your organization’s systems provisioning needs with capabilities for inventory assessment, OS and image deployment, user state migration, system configuration, application installation, and recovery. The K2000 improves deployment efficiency and reliability while reducing deployment time and bandwidth consumption with features such as multicasting for Windows and Mac OS X and a powerful task engine that automates pre-installation and post-installation tasks.

    Service Pack 1 comprises the following enhancements:

    • Upgrades the operating system of the appliance to FreeBSD 10 for new appliances and virtual appliances
    • Adds support for hosting a virtual appliance on Hyper-V (RSA is not supported on Hyper-V)
    • Introduces a new strong password policy for the appliance
    • Improves the deployment workbench and the driver feed
    • Additional security, performance and stability improvements

    Service pack 1 is available for immediate download through the Dell Software support portal at:

    https://support.software.dell.com/k2000-systems-deployment-appliance/

    Best wishes!

  • Dell TechCenter

    Analyzing the Costs of Systems Lifecycle Management — New Tech Paper

    Are you tired of the manual effort to manage your IT environment or the redundancy of using multiple point solutions? Are the risks of a security breach or the costs of lost productivity becoming too high to ignore? Is your existing systems management solution too complicated to use or too expensive to upgrade? Whether you are looking to invest in a systems lifecycle management solution for the first time or looking to replace your existing solution, be sure you consider all financial components.

    To continue my series of posts on “Best Practices in Lifecycle Management,”  a new comparison paper from Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. (EMA), I want to highlight the Financial Comparison section of the paper. It shows you not only the dollars you’ll spend on the solution itself, but also the other costs involved in executing a successful systems lifecycle management implementation.

    You’ll need to take several types of costs into account:

    • Pricing model — This includes the list price, which varies from one-size-fits-all to graduated pricing tailored to the size of your organization. It also includes the annual maintenance costs to keep the product up to date.
    • Infrastructure costs — How much additional hardware and software will you need to support your systems lifecycle management solution? This too varies widely from solution to solution, with the number of server-plus-OS configurations, client access licenses, database licenses and maintenance contracts you have to put in place.
    • Operational and training cost — Systems lifecycle management products that require more infrastructure will almost certainly require more people to administer that infrastructure. How many more people will you need to add to your IT staff? What will it cost to train them? Is there a way to get around adding staff?
    • Non-computer device support — With more smart, non-computer devices connecting to your network, lifecycle management now extends beyond PCs and servers to devices like printers, projectors, scanners and even universal power supplies. If you choose a product that supports those devices, your cost calculations will have to include them as well.

    For each of these costs, the paper builds out a total implementation cost based on size of organization, number of servers, length of maintenance contract, number of locations and other variables. It’s easy to follow and it’s designed to help you pencil out your own costs.

    Get your free copy of “Best Practices in Lifecycle Management” and have a look at pages 14 through 18 in the PDF for EMA’s detailed cost comparison of four products, including Dell KACE Appliances.

  • Dell TechCenter

    A Single Approach to Anypoint Systems Management — Unifying Your View of the Environment

    You really can achieve a single view of your entire connected environment.

    Throughout this series of posts I’ve emphasized that full control with a single, overall view is the promised land for systems management in the age of mobility, BYOD and the Internet of Things (IoT). It’s the only way you can keep the corporate data on your users’ personally owned smartphones, tablets and PCs as secure as the datat on your corporate-owned computers and servers, while also managing a host of new, network-connected, non-computer devices.

    The combination of the KACE K1000 Systems Management Appliance and Dell Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) can help you reach the promised land of anypoint systems management without the patchwork of point solutions you’ve likely accumulated. As shown in the diagram, the Dell KACE K1000, through its integration with Dell EMM, provides you with a single, integrated view of your entire environment – corporate-owned devices as well as secure workspaces:

    1. Systems management of traditional devices like desktop PCs, laptops, Macs and servers, as well as network-connected non-computer devices with the K1000
    2. Systems management of all mobile devices, corporate-owned as well as BYOD, by EMM with integration of all asset data into the K1000
    3. Systems management of the secure workspaces within BYO PCs

    Did we leave any devices out? We don’t think so. The Dell KACE-Dell EMM solution gives IT administrators the control and insight they need, while giving users the privacy they want and the freedom to be productive using their own devices.

    Next steps

    Once you’ve read Part 2 of our e-book, “A Single Approach to Anypoint Systems Management,” you’ll want to see a live web demo of the Dell KACE K1000 Management Appliance and Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution. You can also take your own tour and interact with a live KACE K Series Appliance in our Demo Sandbox.

  • Dell TechCenter

    Effective Systems Management in a Multi-Platform World — New Tech Brief

    If variety is the spice of life, then why does it cause such headaches for IT?

    Most IT administrators walk into heterogeneous computing environments every day knowing they’ll have to manage computers and servers running several flavors of Windows, Mac OS X, UNIX, Linux and, more recently, Chrome OS. Efficiently managing such multi-platform environments is not easy. Tasks like keeping track of all hardware and software, making sure you are in compliance with applicable regulations and licensing agreements, ensuring security, and providing exceptional support become increasingly difficult as your environment becomes more complex.

    Systems management with multiple operating systems

    In my last post I introduced “Best Practices in Lifecycle Management,” a new position paper from Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. (EMA), and outlined the many IT disciplines that lifecycle management covers, if you’re doing it correctly.

    Strong support for heterogeneous computing environments is a must-have in a systems management product, and the paper includes a section specifically identifying the OSes supported by each of the four most popular systems lifecycle management solutions on the market:

    • Dell KACE K1000 Systems Management and K2000 Systems Deployment Appliances
    • LANDESK Management Suite 9.6 SP1
    • Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager (SCCM)
    • Symantec Altiris Client Management Suite (CMS) 7.5 SP1

    If you spend your workday managing a multi-platform environment, then you’ll find EMA’s checklist a valuable resource in preparing for your next investment in a systems lifecycle management product.

    Get a free copy of the tech paper and have a look at the section “Heterogeneous Support” on page 5 of the PDF.

  • Dell TechCenter

    A Single Approach to Anypoint Systems Management — Balancing Privacy and Productivity

    How are you keeping your end users happy and productive in the age of mobility and BYOD?

    In my last post, I described the Dell KACE-Dell Enterprise Mobility Management combination for bringing all of your organization’s traditional, mobile and BYO devices under one umbrella in a single systems management product.

    “That’s all right for the devices,” you say, “but what about the people using them? How does Dell KACE-Dell EMM deal with issues of privacy and productivity?”

    Fair enough. After all, what good is it to address IT’s concerns for tracking and managing all connected devices if it only leads to resistance among users worried about privacy on their personally owned devices?

    Balancing privacy and productivity

    Don’t forget that the main reason for putting all your blood, sweat and tears into a BYOD initiative is that users can be more productive when they use their own devices. The freedom to use the corporate network as productively as possible lets users take advantage of the apps, devices and means of communication they know best. But in the same way that users expect the organization to respect personal privacy, they also expect it to respect the privacy of personal data on their own devices.

    The balance, then, is to separate business and personal use clearly and securely right on the device. The Dell KACE-Dell EMM combination for anypoint systems management strikes that balance with the Dell Mobile Workspace app that users install on their own smartphone or tablet and the Dell Desktop Workspace application for their BYO laptop. Other than installing the secure workspace on their personal device, where they can securely access corporate resources and do their work, users don’t see any difference in their devices. IT has access only to the workspaces on their personal devices and users can be assured that personal apps and data are safely partitioned and completely inaccessible by IT. Workspaces also assure IT of the same level of security desired for corporate-owned assets, with features like encryption, secure remote access, firewall and prevention of data loss for the corporate information residing within the workspace on a user-owned device.

    In my next post I’ll have more details on how anypoint systems management looks from the IT perspective, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, have a look through Part 2 of our new e-book, “A Single Approach to Anypoint Systems Management,” right now.

  • Dell TechCenter

    Why do you need a systems management solution and which one is the best for you? – New White Paper from EMA has the answers

    IT environments are becoming increasingly more diverse and complex, and consequently harder to manage. Mobility, along with more and more smart devices (i.e., the Internet of Things) has led to a significant increase in the number and types of devices that are connected to corporate networks; devices that you must now track, manage and secure. If your organization previously felt that it could get along without a comprehensive systems management strategy, you are likely now feeling the pressure to find a comprehensive “anypoint” systems management solution, one that is both easy to use and addresses all of your concerns.

    Whether you’re in the market for your first systems management lifecycle solution or you’re looking to upgrade your existing one, you’ll find a valuable resource in “Best Practices in Lifecycle Management,” the new comparative paper from Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. (EMA). I’ll cover highlights of the paper in this series of blog posts, starting with this post on the most important criteria for evaluating systems management products.

    Covering the main disciplines in systems lifecycle management

    The systems lifecycle management spans all the processes you need to get the most productivity and efficiency out of your IT spend. These processes have evolved and expanded over time and you need to address all of them if you want to sleep soundly at night without worrying about compliance violations, security vulnerabilities, managing the ever-increasing number of mobile and non-computer devices on your network, or lost productivity due to system performance issues:

    • Asset Management – Discovering hardware and software assets and managing the asset lifecycle
    • Software Distribution and Provisioning – Installing software from a central location
    • Security and Patch Management – Automating patching and security management
    • Configuration Compliance and Remediation – Centralizing systems configuration and enforcement of policies
    • Process Automation – Automating and integrating IT management processes
    • Service Desk – Providing a service desk, integrated with asset management and reporting
    • Reporting – Comprehensive and customizable reporting and alerts

    In light of those and other criteria, EMA conducted extensive research and evaluated four of the most popular lifecycle management solutions:

    • Dell KACE K1000 Systems Management and K2000 Systems Deployment Appliances
    • LANDESK Management Suite 9.6 SP1
    • Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager (SCCM)
    • Symantec Altiris Client Management Suite (CMS) 7.5 SP1

    You’ll take away a clear picture of how to shop for lifecycle management products. You’ll see how to start narrowing down the checklist of features and capabilities that will make the biggest difference in managing the desktops, laptops, servers and non-computer devices in your organization.

    Download the Tech Brief

    Get your free copy of “Best Practices in Lifecycle Management” for EMA’s detailed comparison of over 45 features across seven main areas of lifecycle management.

  • Dell TechCenter

    A Single Approach to Anypoint Systems Management — Dell KACE + Dell Enterprise Mobility Management

     

    How are you dealing with the proliferation of devices in your networks due to mobility and BYOD?

    We looked at the complexity our customers faced with the explosion in mobile devices, multiple operating systems and intelligent network-connected endpoints. We also considered the spectrum of ownership that stretches from entirely corporate-owned assets (remember the good old days?) to personally purchased and owned devices (the BYO that’s swamping your organization these days).

    The market requirement became obvious: IT administrators want a single product that brings all of these endpoints and ownership models under one overall systems management umbrella. Existing products seemed to bolt mobile device management (MDM) onto an existing systems management tool, but the integration wasn’t very good. They didn’t go far enough toward addressing the biggest concern in this area:

    How can you extend comprehensive systems management to mobile and BYO devices without negatively impacting end-user productivity or privacy concerns?

    Dell KACE appliances and Dell Enterprise Mobility Management

    Our answer was to integrate the Dell KACE K1000 Systems Management Appliance with Dell Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM), offering not only a single view of traditional, mobile and BYO devices, but also full systems management of those devices in an integrated solution set.

    The K1000 gives you inventory and discovery, software distribution, asset management, security vulnerability detection and remediation, service desk and reporting for PC’s, servers, Chromebooks and network-connected, non-computer devices — everything you need for systems management. Dell EMM can manage smartphones and tablets, regardless of whether the organization or the employee owns them, and integrates mobile device information into the K1000 to provide unified asset management for all connected systems and devices.

    Anypoint systems management from Dell gives you insight into and control over all network-connected devices as they continue to grow in number and variety.

    Don’t you want that level of integration in systems management for all the devices in your organization? I’ll have more details in my next post. Meanwhile, read Part 1 and 2 of our new e-book, “A Single Approach to Anypoint Systems Management,” right now.

  • Dell TechCenter

    Efficiently manage 30,000 desktops and laptops — while saving $100,000?

    How many desktops and laptops does your institution have to manage? How much time does it take? Making sure you have an accurate inventory is only the beginning. You also need to keep them updated with the latest operating system, browser and application fixes to ensure security. And you need to be able to troubleshoot problems that inevitably arise.

    Now imagine having 30,000 machines to manage — and a public school system budget to do it with.

    That was exactly the challenge facing Seminole County Public Schools. But by replacing its assortment of ineffective asset management, issue tracking and machine imaging tools with two Dell KACE appliances, the district enabled easy management of its 30,000 desktops and laptops – and saved $100,000 over three years.

    With the Dell KACE K1000 Systems Management Appliance, Seminole County Public Schools always has an accurate inventory of its assets and can keep all the machines properly updated to protect students’ and staff computers, as well as the network. And the K1000’s integrated service desk enables users to submit help desk tickets reports online instead of contacting IS staff individually, so the tickets can be prioritized and resolved efficiently.

    The K2000 Systems Deployment Appliance complements the K1000 by simplifying disk imaging and deployment, enabling IS staff to create and maintain a standard imaging platform across the district.

    But wouldn’t a comprehensive solution like this swallow a public school district’s budget entirely? Not at all. By replacing three separate systems and eliminating the need to purchase a significantly more expensive solution, the K1000 and K2000 actually saved Seminole County Public Schools at least $100,000 over three years. Plus, the appliances have a smaller footprint, so the district needs less physical space and has reduced its energy costs.

    To learn more, register for a live webcast where IT and network experts from Seminole County Public Schools will explain how the district leverages the KACE K1000 and K2000 to enable the forward-thinking initiatives that help make it one of the most highly performing school districts in the state while also ensuring security and reducing costs.