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Kace Updates Management Product for Windows 7

Kace on Tuesday unveiled an upgrade to its systems deployment appliance that can help with Windows 7 migrations.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company has updated its KBox 2000 appliance with a new user-state migration capability. It allows the transfer of files and settings, along with the operating system and applications, during a migration. It can reduce the risk of losing critical information during deployments of Windows 7, according to Sendhil Jayachandran, Kace's product manager.

Kace offers an appliance-based approach to network management. The products consist of two physical boxes: the systems deployment appliance (KBox 2000) and the systems management appliance (KBox 1000).

KBox 2000 is used for bare-metal provisioning on machines, including the operating system and applications. It can support clean installs of Windows 7 -- something that IT pros may face if migrating from Windows XP.

KBox 1000 supports the day-to-day management of IT assets across the network. It includes features for hardware and software discovery, asset management such as software licensing compliance, software distribution to remote boxes, application virtualization, patch management and integrated help desk.

The two boxes work together using a common user interface and a single sign-on. The system has a proprietary K-Imaging feature that lets users edit images and avoid redundant transfers. It takes a snapshot of a reference machine and lets you place that snapshot on any machine on the network, Jayachandran explained.

The system also has a Network OS Install feature, a scripted process that automates the entire operating system installation process. Users can automate the buildout of gold master images and slipstream drivers along with the deployment.

The KBox system also includes an Inventory Assessment capability that can analyze which machines can use Windows 7. The applications virtualization feature of the KBox system -- called "Kace virtual containers" -- can help keep Windows 7 deployments free from potential application conflicts, Jayachandran said. It can also be used a way of distributing applications.

Kace competes with Altiris, LANDesk and Microsoft -- particularly Microsoft's System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) product. Kace sells to midmarket organizations of about 100 to 10,000 persons. The company's products are aimed more at the IT generalist who may be responsible for network administration and security, as well as the help desk, according to Wynn White, Kace's vice president of marketing.

"They're often times in the reactive firefighting mode, and they don't have the time and expertise to learn one tool really deeply," he explained.

The KBox appliances support Windows environments, as well as networks with Mac and Linux operating systems. Users plug the boxes into their network to start the management process.

"That's why we deliver it as an appliance -- so that you slap it in a rack, give it a power source, give it an IP address and you're basically up and going," Wynn said. "And that's not really the case with SCCM -- it's a much more complicated beast."

The release candidate version of the KBox systems deployment appliance is available now to existing Kace users and the product will be generally available on Dec. 1. The KBox 2000 systems deployment appliance costs $4,900 while the KBox 1000 systems management appliance is priced at $9,900.

Kace also offers a free trial version of the KBox 1000 appliance as a virtual machine, which can be accessed at Kace's home page.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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