Kace Tucks Virtual Systems Management Into VMware Infrastructure

Kace announced Monday what it called the first virtual systems management appliances to run natively within the VMware infrastructure.

The Virtual Kbox appliances offer users a software product that runs on the user’s existing computer hardware. Earlier versions of the Kbox appliance required the installation of separate hardware to deploy and manage IT resources.

The virtual management system provides the benefits already available from Kace’s physical appliances but with the added scalability, affordability, ease-of-support and maintenance of virtual solutions, the company said. The Virtual Kbox appliances family is now shipping and fully supports physical and virtual machines across Windows, Macintosh, Linux and Solaris environments.

“Unlike a generation of virtual appliances preceding it, the Virtual Kbox family provides a systems management and deployment solution that is fully integrated from a highly optimized and hardened operating system through an easy-to-use, Web-based application,” Rob Meinhardt, cofounder and CEO of Kace, told TechNewsWorld.

What It Does

The virtual Kbox appliances give small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) choices for beginning to explore vitualization, said Meinhardt. They provide complete IT control in one downloadable solution.

The virtual appliance aims at delivering the benefits of a hardware appliance, including fast deployment times with low costs and ease of use. It also provides the benefits of virtualization, such as improved resource utilization, reduced energy and cost savings, improved maintainability and support and the ability to quickly scale.

“The virtual appliance is the integration of virtual application software welded onto any operating system,” Lubos Parobek, senior director of product management for Kace, told TechNewsWorld.

While the product’s name implies that it is an actual hardware device, it is a software product that runs on the customer’s computer. The virtual appliance product will do all that a physical appliance will do, he said. It provides the full range of features found in physical appliance management devices.

Virtual Variety

The addition of the virtual appliance products gives Kace a family of four Kbox appliances to manage physical and virtual environments.

The Kbox 1000 or V-Kbox 1000 is used for systems management. The Kbox 2000 or V-Kbox 2000 is for systems deployment.

The V-Kbox 1000 costs US$8,900 and includes 100 nodes. The V-Kbox 2000 costs $4,400 and includes 100 nodes.

These two virtual appliances run on VMware ESX, VMware Server and VMware Player.

Virtualization Growing

Virtualization is exploding in popularity in many enterprise categories. Organizations are seeking new ways to leverage this technology, according to Meinhardt.

“We’ve seen an incredible ramping up for virtualization. This gave us an opportunity to deliver our Kbox products for virtual appliance management,” said Parobek.

The virtual management tools allow users to capture the actual running state of the virtual machine, store it and call it up to roll back a later running state. This eliminates down time and provides Kace with the ability to remotely diagnose a problem and provide support, he said.

Virtual Benefits

Virtual computing provides better resource utilization. It reduces energy and cost savings and offers the ability to scale to meet changing circumstances.

The virtual Kbox system is fully configured and is a ready-to-deploy platform. It’s self-healing with automated maintenance — for instance, it can run diagnostics each night and make backups of all data and running states, automatically recovering from system problems, Parobek explained. It also features built-in redundancy.

Targeted Users

Kace, which started in 2003, is targeting companies with from 100 to 1,000 employees. It currently has 450 customers worldwide, mostly in the SMB category, according to Meinhardt.

“That gives us up to 100,000 companies worldwide as potential users,” he said.

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