KACE Expands Systems Management Capabilities For Macs

KACE will announce Tuesday that the next generation of its KBOX line of systems management and deployment appliances will offer capabilities that are on a par with those offered for Windows PCs and Linux computers.

"What we've seen in the last 12 months is increased penetration of the enterprise market by Macs," said KACE CEO Rob Meinhardt, in an interview. He attributes that to the increased influence of consumer products on corporate buying decisions, lack of acceptance of Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system, and interest in Apple's upcoming Mac OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" operating system.

KACE cited a survey by the Information Technology Industry Council that found that 68 percent of the surveyed companies would allow workers to use Macs as their company desktop computers over the next 12 months. That's double the 34 percent that were willing to do so in 2008.

While the KBOX appliances have provided some support for Macs in the past, the new capabilities "are taking Macs to a whole new level and making [them] an equal citizen," Meinhardt said.

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Channel partners account for about two-thirds of KBOX sales, Meinhardt said.

The appliances provide a range of remote-site support, device discovery and reporting capabilities. The KBOX Systems Management Appliance provides asset management, software deployment, help desk, security, software patching, and configuration management capabilities while the KBOX Systems Deployment Appliance offers tools for network operating system installation, disk imaging, and recovery.

The new releases of the appliances that will ship in August offer improved disk imaging, software metering and configuration management functions for Macs, bringing all capabilities for Mac computers into parity with those for Windows PCs, Meinhardt said.

The new imaging features eliminate redundancies in the capture, storage and deployment of disk images during system provisioning, according to KACE. Software metering for the Mac helps companies manage their license fees by analyzing software utilization. And the policy-based configuration management helps enforce operating system and application settings on Macs.

Meinhardt said the KBOX systems, which can be deployed as physical or virtual appliances, don't require Apple's Xserve server to run as competing systems management products do.

Pricing for the KBOX Systems Management Appliance will start at $9,900 while pricing for the KBOX Systems Deployment Appliance will begin at $4,900.