Dell Kace K1000 system management appliance review

Dell’s Kace appliances aim to be a more sensible alternative to systems management heavyweights such as Altiris and LANDesk. The K1000 looks a lot better value and in this review, Dave Mitchell finds out if it has the features to match.

We had no problems deploying the agent to our Windows XP, Vista, 7, Server 2003 and Server 2008 R2 systems. With this in place, inventory becomes very detailed with extensive lists of hardware information, running processes, installed software and services.

Once the agent has synced itself with the appliance, it appears in the Computers' list with an icon to show whether it's online. Selecting one then drills down to display an impressive amount of searchable information about each system.

Dell Kace K1000

The agent gathers hardware inventory for each system and provides a lot of useful and very detailed information.

Another useful feature of the K1000 is its Smart Labels. These can be used to represent anything from physical locations, user groups, workstations, domain members, licenses, inventory details and much more.

Smart Labels are created using the search and filter tools and up to four search parameters can be defined from the web interface. For computers, these can be anything from a CPU and memory configuration, to a BIOS and OS version, or even a disk capacity.

They have dynamic content too, so as systems change, the Label content is updated accordingly. Custom SQL queries (or Dell's assistance) will be required if more than four search parameters are required though.

Scripts and alerts can also be linked to Smart Labels. That means if a system is running low on disk space, for example, an email alert can be generated and a defrag task can be activated remotely.

License metering relies on Smart Labels too, and we found this awkward to set up on our first attempt. The process begins by creating a software Smart Label for the application or suite to be monitored, followed by the creation of a software asset that contains details about the number of licenses, when they were purchased and when they'll expire. Lastly, a license asset is created that links the Smart Label and the software asset.

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