Tag Archives: Kloser look

Jul
31
2014

K2000 Kloser Look: Using Multicast in v3.6

It’s that time of year again, when schools and universities start preparing for their major summer rollouts and reimaging projects. K2000 version 3.6, released earlier this year, added Multicast capabilities to the K2000, which should cut down the total overall time to finish those deployment projects. If you haven’t already signed up, we encourage you to check out the Education Week KKE sessions- see the list above for dates and times.

So what exactly is Multicasting?  Multicasting allows the K2000 to send image data to multiple devices simultaneously, reducing the overall bandwidth and disk usage of the K2000.  While Multicasting will not necessarily speed up the imaging of an individual device, it does allow for more concurrent devices to be imaged at the same time without any additional load on the K2000.  Instead of imaging a handful of computers at a time, imagine deploying entire floors, buildings, and regions at one time!

Haven’t setup Multicasting on your K2000 yet? Don’t fret- it is very easy. First, make sure you have updated your K2000 to 3.6 (you should be receiving a notification on your Home module). Next, create your “Gold-Master” image and capture it as a WIM image (Multicasting does not support K-Image or Scripted Installations.)  Next, go to your Deployments module -> Automated (Boot Actions) tab and create a new boot action.  Name the Boot Action and select your WIM Image. Under Schedule, choose to run at next boot or at a future date/time. Under Type, select Multicast and select the Show Advanced Settings link.  Now we have some options to discuss!

  • Timeout to wait for connection ‘Ready to receive’ State: This is extremely important to making sure all of your target computers join the Multicast session.  This timeout begins when the first of your target computers reaches the Apply Image task of your deployment.  Once the timeout completes only those target computers that have connected will receive the multicast session, so make sure to leave ample time to get all of your target machines to that step!
  • Multicast Address: Best practice is to set this to address to 224.0.1.20 to make sure that it does not conflict with other popular multicast protocols.
  • Control Channel Port: This setting can stay as it unless another device on your network is using that port.
  • Transmission Rate: You may want to modify as this reflects the speed at which your session will deploy.  Higher speeds and larger numbers of target computers could have an impact on your network, so it is recommended that you lower this number to 4 mb/s (4000000) and then adjust this number (up or down) based on the results of your Multicast Log (Settings and Maintenance -> Appliance Logs).
  • Systems: Make sure to select your target computers.  Don’t forget to use your K1000 Inventory Tab (for those customers with a linked K1000 appliance) to target your systems based on your K1000 Labels!
  • Make these the default Settings: Your multicast settings can be changed each session, however if you would like to make your changes default, check this box.  Alternatively you can modify your default settings in Settings and Maintenance.

Finally, save your Multicast session and start PXE booting targeted computers into your K2000 Boot Environment (KBE). The K2000 will define the devices based on their MAC Address and start initiating the assigned Boot Action. Be aware, that only one multicast session can be broadcast at a time and it does not work through Remote Site Appliances at the time of this publication.

Here are some useful Knowledge Base Articles to reference while creating your images: System Imaging Best Practices.
To learn more about K2000 version 3.6 check out this KKE: What’s New in K2.

Overall, Multicasting opens up a whole new world for all customers by reducing the overall time for the summer imaging projects by allowing you to complete more in a shorter amount of time. With your free time, you may actually be able to take that vacation you were planning, or plan your trip to Austin for Dell World User Forum in November!

Posted in New Posts, Tech Talk | Tagged , , | Leave a comment
Jul
29
2014

K1000 Kloser Look: Manipulating Printers on Mac OS X

As with nearly everything for Mac OS X, there are ways to accomplish administrative tasks via the command line and via the GUI. Printing is no different. Printers on OS X are controlled using CUPS (Common Unix Printing System) which has its own set of command line tools. The basic capabilities include viewing, adding, and removing printers, as well as changing printer options and viewing print queues.

There are many things that can be done with CUPS, and once you master a few of them you’ll be able to implement them in K1000 Scripting. Once you’ve scripted the CUPS commands you need you can make them available to users if you want, or you can distribute them from the admin side of the table- it’s your call. One of our favorite Kace Koaches has written up some great details and examples on ITNinja just for you. See more at: http://www.itninja.com/blog/view/managing-printers-on-os-x-with-kace

Posted in New Posts, Tech Talk | Tagged , , | Leave a comment
Jun
30
2014

K1000 Kloser Look: Keeping up to date with your updates!

Patching is an important part of many K1000 implementations. Continuing with the “Knowledge is Power” from March, we wanted to make sure you had some great information about Patching and the K1000.

Some of you may be wondering how quickly patches are available. While your appliance’s subscription and deployment schedules may impact availability and delivery timing, the general availability is listed at http://www.kace.com/support/resources/kb/solutiondetail?sol=111224

How can you get more realtime information about patch releases? RSS feed- check out: http://www.kace.com/support/resources/kb/solutiondetail?sol=125091

What are the supported OS and applications in Patching? It changes regularly, but we keep the list fairly up to date here: http://www.kace.com/support/resources/kb/solutiondetail?sol=112030

Customers running on K1000 versions lower than 5.5 should take note that on August 1, 2014 newly published patches will not be placed in the patch feed for appliances on version 5.4.70403 or older. This article explains more about the change, and how to upgrade to a newer version: http://www.kace.com/support/resources/news/k1000-version-5-4-70403-older-eol

Posted in New Posts, Tech Talk | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment
May
22
2014

K1000 Kloser Look: Sometimes it’s the simplest things…

K1000 v6.0 has some pretty major and amazing features, and you’ll find out all about those, but in this K1000 Kloser Look we want to highlight an unsung hero- easter eggs. Not that these items are hidden, but when you find them they are pretty indispensable.

Auto-Refresh on list pages. It’s easy to enable; Simply click Choose Action, then select the auto refresh option and pick you desired update interval. This way you’re seeing data stream in as agents are updating.


Page customization- Look for the blue gear- that’s your key to getting the data you want and need on the list. Oh, and those columns are resizable, just click and drag the spacer bar between columns and make it your own.

 

Contextual help – This great little flyout helper isn’t meant to replace the documentation, but rather bring it where you want it, when you need it. The answer you need is likely right at your fingertips.

We could go on forever about all of the great things in K1000 v6.0, but don’t take our word for it- look around the new interface and see what you find most helpful in your situation. The entire appliance has been worked over to help make things easier than ever to use, find, and interact with.

Posted in New Posts, Tech Talk | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment
Apr
26
2014

K1000 Kloser Look: Why use SSL?

Did you know that by putting your appliance in your network’s DMZ, you can use the K1000 GO app on your Android or iOS device? This allows you to manage tickets while you are mobile, deploy software to devices, and view detailed system inventory information to aid you in the field. With the 6.0 release of K1000 it will also allow users to create and update their tickets. That’s pretty handy. Another reason for an appliance to be exposed to incoming web traffic would be managing clients outside the network and VPN. Or, maybe you just want to be able to run reports from home without logging into the VPN; Whatever the reason, make sure you’re doing it safely.

We wouldn’t put our money on our front lawn in a big bag marked “My Money, please don’t steal”, would we? Probably not, so let’s protect important data the same way and use SSL to encrypt the traffic. All of your Dell KACE appliances are capable of using SSL so that you can encrypt web communication between a client device and the appliance. This protects usernames, passwords, device data, and other sensitive information that may be passed along during normal web communication with these appliances. This allows you to safely support clients that are inside, or outside your firewall and feel confident you are safe from prying eyes. We recommend using certificates from known and trusted vendors. Some of the many top qualified Certificate Authorities are VeriSign , ThawteComodo, and GeoTrust. Different Certificates can have different costs and there are  multiple types of Certificates. We do not recommend one over another.

IT Security is no laughing matter; the K1000 has a lot of reach on your network and a lot of data about your environment. If you do expose your appliance to the Internet- Enable SSL, Ensure you’re using the most current versions of server and appliance, and be sure to apply any hotfixes quickly if they become available- just as you changed all passwords and began investigating possible issues to every tool and service you use when Heartbleed was revealed… Right? Listed above you will find a vulnerability hotfix, and our response to Heartbleed.

Posted in New Posts, Tech Talk | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment