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Make Dell KACE ServiceDesk SLA's Easier to manage

We all appreciate the hard work that those guys at Dell KACE do to make our lives easier as Tech's and System Administrators, in particular the inclusion of formal SLA measures and working time calculations in the latest 6.4 release was, in my eyes, a long awaited "God-send". However as with most technology firms the software is good, but does not always translate into day to day business usage, just as it is with the SLA functionality.

So the ability to set the due date and to see on a ticket list if the ticket is showing as Warning or Overdue is great but has anyone tried to write reports and crack open the back-end to see how this all works?

My solution to this is simple, first let's create a custom, single select field in the ticket Queue, call it SLA Flag and populate it with three values:
 
  • OK (Default for all new tickets)
  • Warning 
  • Late
Make a note of the custom field value

Next we need to create two ticket rules in the relevant Queue, one to turn the default "OK" value, in our custom field, to "Warning" when the SLA time comes within a predefined margin of the due date, and a second one to change the "Warning" value to "Late" when the SLA time is breached.

Warning Ticket Rule

You can create a single rule to alert when any priority SLA is close, i.e 2 hours from SLA. If you have a 4 Hours P1 SLA that 2 hour window works well, but for an SLA of 5 days, it could be deemed a little short notice. If that is the case you will need to create a set of Warning rules, one for each defied Priority of tickets.

Sample code for the Warning SLA rule is shown below:
Select SQL

SELECT HD_TICKET.ID, HD_TICKET.TITLE, HD_TICKET.DUE_DATE, HD_PRIORITY.NAME AS PRIORITY, Q.NAME AS QUEUE_NAME, HD_STATUS.NAME AS STATUS_NAME  FROM HD_TICKET  JOIN HD_PRIORITY ON (HD_PRIORITY.ID = HD_TICKET.HD_PRIORITY_ID) JOIN HD_QUEUE Q ON Q.ID = HD_TICKET.HD_QUEUE_ID JOIN HD_STATUS ON (HD_STATUS.ID = HD_TICKET.HD_STATUS_ID) WHERE (HD_TICKET.HD_QUEUE_ID = 3) AND (((TIMESTAMP(HD_TICKET.DUE_DATE) >= NOW() AND TIMESTAMP(HD_TICKET.DUE_DATE) < DATE_ADD(NOW(),INTERVAL 1 HOUR))))

The two highlighted areas show the Queue ID and also the warning time, in this case alert 1 hour before SLA. If this rule is to be created per Priority you would have to add in HD_TICKET.HD_PRIORITY_ID = x to the Where portion of the SQL statement.
Update SQL
update HD_TICKET
    set HD_TICKET.CUSTOM_FIELD_VALUE5 = 'Warning'
  where 
        (HD_TICKET.ID in (<TICKET_IDS>))
The highlighted field reference in the update statement will need to be changed to match the Custom field you created as your SLA Flag.
It would also be wise to append a comment to the ticket such as "SLA flag set to Warning by Ticket rule" and may be also configure the rule to send an email to the ticket owner as a reminder.

So we also need to create a rule to set the flag field from "Warning" to "Late" 

LATE Ticket Rule

Select Statement
SELECT HD_TICKET.ID, HD_TICKET.TITLE, HD_TICKET.DUE_DATE, HD_PRIORITY.NAME AS PRIORITY, Q.NAME AS QUEUE_NAME, HD_STATUS.NAME AS STATUS_NAME  FROM HD_TICKET  JOIN HD_PRIORITY ON (HD_PRIORITY.ID = HD_TICKET.HD_PRIORITY_ID) JOIN HD_QUEUE Q ON Q.ID = HD_TICKET.HD_QUEUE_ID JOIN HD_STATUS ON (HD_STATUS.ID = HD_TICKET.HD_STATUS_ID) WHERE (HD_TICKET.HD_QUEUE_ID = 3) AND ((HD_STATUS.NAME != 'Closed') AND ((TIMESTAMP(HD_TICKET.DUE_DATE) < NOW() OR TIMESTAMP(HD_TICKET.DUE_DATE) >= DATE_ADD(NOW(),INTERVAL 10 DAY))))  ORDER BY ID
Update Statement
update HD_TICKET
    set HD_TICKET.CUSTOM_FIELD_VALUE5 = 'Late'
  where 
        (HD_TICKET.ID in (<TICKET_IDS>))
The highlighted field reference in the update statement will need to be changed to match the Custom field you created as your SLA Flag.
As with the Warning rule it would also be wise to append a comment to the ticket such as "SLA flag set to LATE by Ticket rule" and also configure the rule to send an email to the ticket owner as a reminder.

SLA Reporting

SLA reporting now becomes straightforward as it is doen by the SLA flag field, which can be easily displayed on the ticket list layout, or within the ticket. You will also be able to create simple SLA reports from the wizard for current and closed calls as you require.

Other Blogs by Hobbsy
Have you tried the new Dell KACE Benchmark survey  - Here

Wanted - Dell KACE customers to trial our new Dashboard Product - Here

BarKode Scanner for Dell KACE  Asset Management - Here

Create Regular Scheduled tickets in Dell KACE - Here 

Financial Asset Management in Dell KACE - Here

Patch on the first xxxday of the month - Here
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Limitations of Microsoft App-V 5.0 with '.rels' files

This blog explains the Sequencing Limitations of App-V 5.0 SP3 with '.rels' files:

Description:
1. The Microsoft App-V 5.0 (SP3) sequencer fails to package application if that application contains "relationship part" (.rels) file.
2. This is a known limitation in App-V 5.0
3. The error message:
    "An error was encountered while trying to finalize the package. Please check the event log for more details".

Identifying:
4. Relationship part can be identified by the presence of a file with a ".rels" file extension in a folder named "_rels".

Resolution:
5. To work around the limitation, all relationship files (.rels) needs to be deleted from the package source folder prior to saving the package.
6. Delete the file(s) when reaching the Create Package page in the new package wizard, just prior to clicking the Create button.
7. One of such application we have recently worked is:
    MindGenius_Business_05.10
8. This application has ".rels" files associated, so couldn't sequence the application as after deleting the files application was not working properly;
    hence we have proceeded with MSI packaging.
9. More details on this can be found in this below KB article:
    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2843030

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RayPack 2.0 – Integration of state-of-the-art technologies

Quality section with RayQC

An outstanding highlight is the integration of high level quality assurance provided by RayQC directly into the RayPack 2.0 GUI. The new quality menu can be used to perform various quality checks against the current project and provides a simple yet effective checklist, which can be generated with one click, to be used during pre-quality checks and as a baseline for quality engineering tasks.
RayPack 2.0 enables the packager to use a wide range of rulesets, to cover many cases from virtualization to collision management. A major advantage is, that the user does not have to switch to other software programs to use these quality features as long as both products are installed on the same machine.
QC results are shown directly within the RayPack validation results, allowing to fi x the issues before the package is actually tested against them in later Quality Assurance phases of the overall packaging process. This saves time, money and protects your nerves from uncomely rejects.

PowerShell CA’s

It seems like there has been some joint development activity between the RaySuite tools RayPack and RayQC, since both massively extend their PowerShell utilization and support. For the 2.0 of RayPack, Raynet has extended their Custom Action wizard with the ability to manage PowerShell CA’s. 

Command Line Snapshotting

The Command Line Tool already known from prior releases has been extended to perform system snapshots. Combined with the ability to use individually configured settings profiles, this feature is very handy to automate packaging related procedures.


With 2.0 Raynet presents another RayPack release that is rich of new and extended features. Beyond the highlights named within the prior posts, there is a lot more to explore. You should really get a trial version via RayPack.net and check it out on your own. RayPack might very well become your best companion for packaging ever.

Join out live webinar: 13th August 2015 at 5pm CET

Get further information about Raynet and RayPack!
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Have you tried the New Dell KACE Benchmark Survey?

As a Dell Partner we have now had the privilege of taking somewhere in the region of 750 Dell KACE customers through the Jumpstart training program. On occasions we are lucky enough to then work with some of those customers again, or through the course of our business and events such as the Dell Software user forum we get to renew friendships and acquaintances made during Jumpstart. I am constantly reminded that every customer is different. Different in their attitude, different in their approach to Dell KACE and different in their capabilities, and as hard we try to set our Jumpstart customers up in the best way to use their Dell KACE appliances, the paths that customers then travel are many and varied.

So we started to wonder, Jumpstart training is a great foundation, and for the areas of expertise that each customer selects, we do our best to get the customer to a certain level of competence. If we assume a certain level say 2 out of 5, is there a way of measuring where the average Dell KACE customer is at today and what is the average skill level across the customer base?

So we decided to see if we could introduce a simple process that enables us to measure how any individual customer is doing. We would then be able to compare that with the standard that we know KACE Jumpstart customers should be at the end of their Jumpstart program, and then use those scores to evaluate the Dell KACE community as a whole by setting a Benchmark.

What is the Survey

The survey is a simple questionnaire of 75 questions, that asks questions about your usage of all the functions within both K1 and K2 appliances.

The survey takes approx. 10 mins to complete

Once completed your scores are recorded and we then format a benchmark report, which is emailed to you, to show how you scored

Benchmark Maturity Survey

The Benchmark is measured on a maturity level of 0-5, this can also be measured in percentage terms, where 0 is no skill or usage and 5 or 100% is a KACE Superhero! We made the assumption that any customer undergoing the Jumpstart process should be at maturity level 2 (40%) in the areas that they elected for training, from that we were able to define what you as a customer should know and understand.

This gave us a default level of 2 (40%) across all 9 sections of the Benchmark. As we have received responses we have then applied the scores to the Benchmark, which enables us to assess the average Benchmark score across the KACE customer base. This gives us a dynamic Benchmark against which, any Dell KACE customer will know where they stand.

The Dell KACE Benchmark will continue to be a living thing as we further develop the survey and set the Benchmarks in line with responses, so please feel free to revisit if you haven’t completed the test in a while.


The Results

We have now been running the Benchmark for about a month and from the many results that we have scored, it was interesting to find out

86% of Customers who responded are not yet getting full value from their KACE appliances

69% of Customers who responded have at least one area of functionality that is unused

44% of Customers who responded have had KACE for more than 3 Years

Also setting the Benchmark initially at 40% (or 2 out of 5) the scores that have been submitted have changed that benchmark to an average overall score of 34% (1.7 out of 5)

So how would you do?

Click here to take the survey 

Or Visit our website at http://indigomountain.co.uk/project/benchmark/ for more information


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Installing Mimecast with KACE K1000


Challenge:  Mimecast is an E-Mail risk management application that has a different installer for each version bitness of Microsoft Outlook, either x86 and x64, not the Windows architecture installed. 

Requirement:  Identify which version bitness of Outlook is installed on each computer to then install the proper version of Mimecast using the appropriate installer.

Solution:  The architecture or version bitness of Microsoft Outlook is not gathered as a part of the standard inventory.  Use Custom Inventory Rules to find what version of Outlook is installed, then create a Smart Label to group the similar machines together to then install the corresponding version of Mimecast against the label.

1.       Identifier: Determine the architecture of Outlook installed. There is a registry to identify the architecture. 

a.       For example, Outlook 2013 has the following key/value name: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Outlook\Bitness and its value will be x86 or x64

VV5Jzk.png

2.       Custom Inventory Rule

a.       Go to Inventory -> Software and create a New Software

                                                               i.      Define Name, Version and Publisher at a minimum

                                                             ii.      Select OS versions to investigate

                                                            iii.      Define Custom Inventory Rule

1.       If you only have on version of Outlook installed, say 2013, you only need one entry for the rule: RegistryValueReturn(HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Outlook, Bitness, REG_SZ)

2.       However, if you have more than one version or the possibility of more than one version, define the rule as follows:

a.       RegistryValueReturn(HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\9.0\Outlook, Bitness, REG_SZ) OR
RegistryValueReturn(HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook, Bitness, REG_SZ) OR
RegistryValueReturn(HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Outlook, Bitness, REG_SZ) OR
RegistryValueReturn(HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook, Bitness, REG_SZ) OR
RegistryValueReturn(HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Outlook, Bitness, REG_SZ)


                  Rule Example
                          xHYp0r.png

                    Result

                 JFsS1H.png

3.       Label:

a.       Create a Smart Label to group together all 32bit versions of Outlook and another label to group together all 64 bit versions of Outlook.

                   

            X86 Installs

                     CaapMn.png

            

X64 Installs

                       lwF87n.png


  Installation of Mimecast

a.       Create a Managed Install or Script to install the x86 version of Mimecast and target your “Microsoft Outlook Bitness x86 Installs” label.

b.      Create a Managed Install or Script to install the x64 version of Mimecast and target your “Microsoft Outlook Bitness x64 Installs” label.

 

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