Kace Aims Virtual KBOX at Mid-market

The virtual management appliance runs on VMware servers.

Systems management appliance vendor Kace Networks, on Feb. 19, put a new spin on virtualization when it launched a version of its tool for VMware servers.

Kace, which targets mid-market customers looking for simplified deployment for desktop and server lifecycle management, created the Virtual KBOX appliances to allow customers to install and run its management functions from within a VMware ESX, VMware Server or VMware Player virtual server.

The intent is to allow customers to exploit the ease of configuration and administration its hardware appliances provide in a VMware environment, but without the sheet metal.

With monitoring and management software, "you have to have a certain operating system, a database, a Web server. All those are bundled, so the user is unaware of what's running under the hood," said Rob Meinhardt, CEO and cofounder of Kace.

Although server virtualization has been dominated by larger enterprises as a part of consolidation efforts, in surveying its customer base Kace found a growing interest in the technology among mid-sized enterprises.

"Midmarket organizations are more stretched. They want to do more with less and virtualization gives them a way to do that," said Meinhardt.

All of the components necessary to install and run the management software are integrated, all of the necessary services are turned on, and the communications ports that are required are preconfigured, according to Lubos Parobek, senior director of product marketing at Kace.

"With the Virtual KBOX appliance, you update everything inside it, and we update all the different components. And as you increase the load, we optimize the database to support that, so you don't have to re-index the database by hand," he added.

Parobek said the Virtual KBOX appliance can be initially provisioned in hours, and additional instances can be configured within minutes.

The virtual appliance provides a range of management functions, including software license compliance management, asset management, provisioning, software distribution, configuration management, patching, security management and help desk functions.

By using the Virtual KBOX instead of the physical appliance, customers gain better resource utilization and greater flexibility.

"You can easily plug in new systems management applications into the virtual appliance and it gets energy, space and cost savings. And with virtualization you can decide how many processors or how much disk space or memory a virtual machine gets. So you can decide how much resource that KBOX gets, and you can change your mind," said Parobek

The Virtual KBOX appliance also exploits VMware reliability features. "You can move virtual machines to different hardware, if the hardware they are living on starts to degrade. It automatically moves KBOX to a running machine," he added.

The Virtual KBOX is available now.