Dell's Kace subsidiary is beefing up the capabilities of its management appliance, claiming it to be the first platform to support Google Chromebooks, but also extending support to other hardware on the network.
Dell is also looking to link it with other Dell tools such as security software to deliver a more comprehensive solution.
Available immediately, the new features are delivered in version 6.3 of the software platform that powers the K1000 appliance.
This is based on Dell PowerEdge server hardware, and customers with an ongoing support contract can simply update their existing appliance with a download.
The headline features in this release are support for Chromebooks and Windows Server monitoring and management, and extended support for other devices connected to the network, such as printers and projectors.
Florian Malecki, international marketing director for Dell Networking Security, told V3 that the Chromebook support was added largely at the behest of education customers in the US.
However, Google has also been promoting the appliance-like Chromebook platform to businesses as an alternative to Windows laptops.
Adding support for this to the K1000 allows customers to support a diverse array of endpoints from a single management platform, including Windows PCs, Macs, and Linux and Android devices, Malecki said.
The Chromebook support enables the K1000 to discover these devices for inventory and asset management purposes.
On the server side, the K1000 adds support for agentless monitoring and inventory of Windows Servers, while the monitoring of other devices on the network has now been extended so that customers can get alerts on data collected via the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP).
"If a printer is getting low on toner or if the battery of an uninterruptible power supply is reaching a critical level, an alert can be signalled to the administrator via the K1000. We can support any device so long as it can generate SNMP data," Malecki said.
The version 6.3 update also streamlines patch management with real-time and roll-up status reporting, according to Dell.
Beyond these features, Malecki said that Dell is looking at how to make greater synergy between the Kace platform and other Dell products that customers may be using.
As an example, the Dell SonicWall secure mobile access solution could check that a mobile device attempting to connect to the network from outside has the Kace client running as part of security policy, or intercept downloads of company documents and automatically encrypt them with Dell Data Protection.
All of these capabilities mean that the K1000 is evolving into a comprehensive management platform, which is targeted at small to mid-size businesses that may not have the level of IT support available to larger companies.
As well as a physical server, the Dell Kace K1000 is available as a virtual appliance that can run on VMware infrastructure, or as a cloud-hosted subscription service.
The physical and virtual versions cost $8,900 (£5,892), which includes endpoint licences for up to 100 managed systems, while the hosted service costs $6.50 (£4.30) per managed computer per month.
Server monitoring incurs an additional charge of $2,000 (£1,322) for up to 200 licences, while the licence cost for managing Chromebooks and non-computing devices is $1,250 (£826) for up to 250 devices, Dell said.
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