Headquarters: Mountain View, Calif.
Technology Sector: Hardware
Key Product: KBOX Systems Management Appliance v4.3
Year Founded: 2003
Number of Channel Partners: 115 worldwide
Ideal Channel Partner: Midmarket-focused solution provider
Why You Should Care: Your customers are preparing to make the difficult move from Windows XP to Windows 7, and you need the right tools to help them do it as inexpensively as possible.
The Lowdown: As the Microsoft Windows 7 release date approaches, Mountain View, Calif.-based systems management vendor KACE is licking its chops. The company's KBOX 2000 series system deployment appliance is tailor-made for rolling out a new operating system across a midsize enterprise's IT environment.
"We love Windows 7," said Wynn White, vice president of marketing at KACE. That's a different tale than the one that's been told across the industry about Windows 7's predecessor, Vista. "There's no doubt that Vista was a huge black eye for Microsoft. We know exactly what customers are running in their IT environments. We see Vista installed in under 3 percent of all the machines in midsize enterprises who are customers of KACE."
And there's no doubt that KACE and its channel partners have their work cut out for them in moving businesses from XP directly to Windows 7, as many KACE customers are indicating they will do, White said.
"We definitely have a lot of interest in our customer base in moving to Windows 7, but there's still some cautiousness because people feel they've been burned [by Vista]. It will go somewhat slowly," he said. "Going from XP to Windows 7 is a real migration, not just an upgrade. We're talking a lot of overhead, a huge effort on their behalf. With the KBOX, we'll give them that ability to push it out across offices, even overseas. It's still going to be a very big project."
KACE's other major product line is housed in another appliance, the KBOX 1000 series. The software that runs out of that system provides system management that's both affordable for a midsize company and provides "very rapid payback," according to White. He said a KACE survey found that more than 50 percent of the company's customers reported their KBOX paid for itself in less than three months.
And KACE has been adding to its product lineup even as it's also expanded its customer base and partner channel. The KBOX system management product now has a module for managing iPhones, and both appliance series include a virtualization version based on VMware platforms that allow customers to both manage and deploy virtualized applications across their environments.
KACE, founded in 2003, is now approaching 1,000 customers around the world -- and White credits the vendor's reseller channel for helping it get there.
"We're seeing a lot of interest come from potential partners who in the past had seen systems management as something tangential to their business. And we're seeing a lot of interest on the virtualization side," he said.