Cross-platform systems support from one box
Consumerisation is said to be driving an increase in demand to use Macs at work, and more IT shops are having to look for cross-platform desktop management tools as they consider adding formal support for Apple machines in the corporate desktop estate.
That is the claim of Kace, the systems management appliance company.
Lubos Parobek VP Product Management for the Mountain View, California-based vendor told us a survey by high-tech research and consulting firm Information Technology Intelligence Corp had recently revealed organisations are deploying Macs and the Mac OS X 10.x at a rate not seen since the late 1980s.
Some 68% apparently said they would be deploying some Macs this year to add to their corporate desktop estates, double the number planning to do so the previous year.
The trend looks set to continue, Parobek said. Apple’s upcoming operating system, OS X Snow Leopard has built-in enterprise support for organisations that have the latest version of Microsoft Exchange. “Come September or October when Leopard is released, that native support will be seen as being a big issue,” he claimed.
Education and media are no longer the only Mac friendly sectors, Parobek said, “We have really seen demand swell over the past 12 to 18 months. We see many businesses now with 50 to 100 Macs installed, and they can no longer afford to push them off to one side.” They need to be managed like any other desktop asset, with a systems management processes that are consistent, effective and comprehensive, he added.
Kace accepts that some management suites already offer cross-platform support, but the company argues the level of support is often unequal, with Mac either being relegated to ‘second class status’ or the solution simply piggy backing off of Apple’s xServe solution in ways that require customers to invest in additional hardware and software.
The company said the latest software release for its KBOX Appliance delivers robust and seamless cross-platform systems management support, effectively ending Apple management discrimination in the enterprise.
Whether Mac or Windows, organisations can now manage both equally through an easy-to-use appliance. “We have brought up the level of our Mac capability to match our PC capability with the same level of function within one toolset” Parobek told us.
Come general availability of the software in August, all existing customers using a KBOX appliance can make the upgrade.
The new version offers Mac imaging, new software metering support for the Mac to help companies manage licence fees via thorough analysis of software utilisation, and some additional policy-based configuration management for Mac that enforces OS and application settings through pre-packaged routines.
The appliance sells at $4,900 for the deployment version and $9,900 for the management appliance.
KACE has been trading since 2003 and claims over 950 customers of its appliances. It competes mainly in the market against products produced by Altiris and LANdesk, as well as with Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager.