Dell Software plans to release a major update to its KACE K1000 systems management appliance in May with a sleeker user interface and enhanced security and IT controls.
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Originally scheduled for release by the end of the first quarter of 2014, KACE K1000 v6.0 is expected to be generally available toward the end of April, with a formal launch slated for the first week of May.
Dell Inc. previewed the K1000 v6.0 during a closed session for IT administrators at Dell World in December. The presentation slides and streamed video session of the preview for the new version were posted to the KACE conference session user site, but later removed as of March 26th.
KACE K1000 v6.0 includes a vastly cleaner look and feel for a more modern appliance interface. The new interface offers personalized list views, dashboards and consistent terminology. The product also includes a reworking of its page flows, contextual help, and standardized actions and objects, according to the presentation slides.
Industry observers who saw some of the upcoming features were pleased about the improved user interface and more application, discovery and security control for IT administrators.
One IT professional who has seen the new release also called the interface "sleeker."
"It's a good, solid release," said a source familiar with v 6.0 who requested anonymity. Dell is focused on improving its mobility and client management solutions regularly, the source said.
Dell KACE K1000 v6.0 features
More than 250 pages have been transformed into the modern look, with collapsible side navigation, smart labels upgraded to the v5.5 model, and better navigation to secondary pages. Dell said more than 2,500 strings were eliminated from the user interface.
The new look "matches our new Dell Software look-and-feel standards," said Lubos Parobek, Dell Software's vice president of product management for KACE. The user interface upgrade starts with the K1000 v6.0 release and will extend to other KACE appliances when they become refreshed, he said.
Dell also matched the product's terminology to support industry-standard terms. The company also made buttons perform in a way that replicates its functionality, and reduces localization schedule issues.
The streamlined product now supports more commonsense navigation and flow. For example, alerts are now found under the distribution selection, discovery results are navigable under the inventory choice, and provisioning rules are displayed in the provisioning panel. In addition, discovery results can be selected to populate agent provisioning, according to the presentation slides.
An enhanced feature for the pending release is the agentless functionality to automatically discover devices such as printers, storage and other products residing on the network. The K1000 v6.0 will add support for more platforms, including Linux from versions 3 to 7 and Unix, according to the presentation slides. There is already support for Mac OS.
A future release will support agentless Windows systems, Parobek said. Windows agentless technology stems from the former Quest QMX management technologies, which served as an add-on to Microsoft's System Center Configuration Manager.
With the K1000, Dell Software must build the agentless Windows technology and is doing so from the ground up, Parobek said. The new feature could come in the fourth quarter of this year, although Parobek declined to provide a specific date.
Moreover, Dell now provides enterprise IT with more software asset management control with application blacklisting. Applications are selected as "not allowed," and a label is created for them, said Dean Wade, KACE senior product manager, on the posted video. This will enable IT managers to send logs to appropriate business managers when users attempt to access unauthorized applications.
"Previously, you would have to specify the specific executable process that you wanted to block," Parobek said. "What we're doing [now is] using the application catalog to link the application processor to the name."
Parobek acknowledged there would be some minor memory upgrade for the appliances in the v6.0 release, plus a hardware refresh slated for within the year.
There will also be higher-capacity disk drives for the K2000. The larger disk drives are especially useful for dealing with Windows migrations because Windows images tend to be large and require more storage, a Dell spokesperson said in an email.
In addition, a monitoring module for the K1000 is being developed, but will not be included in the v6.0 release. Parobek declined to comment on when the module would be available.
Pricing for the v6.0 update was not available at press time. However, pricing of the K1000 update in August 2013 was $8,900 per 100 nodes, with an additional $31 per managed node.