December 13, 2012, 4:38 PM — To handle the explosion of mobile devices in the enterprise, Dell this week unveiled plans for a server designed to automate a wide range of mobile management jobs for mid-range business customers.
The Dell KACE K3000 Mobile Management Appliance combines the new software with a rack-mounted Dell server. The K3000 appliance handles jobs such as over-the-air provisioning of iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, enforcing through user profiles a range of security and management policies, tracking hardware software inventories and managing distribution of enterprise mobile apps.
CLEAR CHOICE TEST: Top tools for BYOD management [Network World Insider article, short registration required]
The appliance comes from Dell's KACE division, a 2003 systems management startup bought in early 2010. The original product, now the K1000, is an automated systems management appliance for servers and desktop and laptop PCs, followed by the K2000 for automating operating system deployments, updates and patches. All three are available as either hardware or a virtual appliance, the latter for VMware virtual servers.
The K3000 extends the same automated, life-cycle approach to mobile devices, whether corporate issued or personally owned. A Web-based console lets administrators access it from any Web browser.
"Our server is plug and play," says Roger Bjork, director of marketing for Dell Enterprise Mobility Solutions. "You install the server, point it to a network address and it starts to identify the [mobile] endpoints, and install our agent on them."
The agent runs in the background and collects data on the device's software and hardware, including license information and a range of metrics such as how often apps are run. Mobile users with their own devices receive an email or SMS message with a Web link, which takes them to the company's end-user agreement. Once they agree to that, the agent is downloaded and automatically installed.