Comprehensive systems management is a cornerstone of IT in 2017. Endpoint Systems Management (ESM) allows not only tracking a company’s inventory of computers in real time, but also the ability to remotely push software upgrades and patches for a variety of software suites. Anything a desktop technician can do with a computer can be done remotely with endpoint management, and for an entire environment at once rather than one computer at a time.
At Calance we’ve been using KACE by Quest for this type of Endpoint System Management and we encourage our clients to use it as well.
What is KACE?
Physically, the KACE appliance is just a mid-range, rack-mounted Dell server (although virtual appliances are also supported). What sets the KACE appliance apart from a run-of-the-mill server is the powerful but easy-to-use KACE Systems Management software that runs on the server instead of a typical server OS.
The biggest competition for KACE in the market is Microsoft SCCM (System Center Configuration Manager). While SCCM may better serve our very large clients—it’s very powerful and relatively complex to implement, requiring considerable resources—the big advantage to KACE is its simplicity and the fact that it needs minimal resources, thus making it a perfect fit for our small and mid-size clients.
KACE main features
- Inventory and IT asset management
- Software license management and compliance
- Patch management and security—automated patching renders systems less vulnerable to cybercrime
- Software distribution and upgrades
- Automated Windows 10 Migration
- Custom reports
KACE prep and set up
As befits a product that prides itself on streamlining and efficiency capabilities, the initial setup of KACE is quick and easy. It requires one resource on the networking side to assign an IP address to the appliance and complete very basic networking setup. To actually deploy it to the environment takes one desktop tech resource and, depending on the size of the environment, anywhere from 2 hours to a week. For Calance it was deployed to 90% of our environment by the end of the day.
The pros of using KACE
Using KACE can streamline processes and conserve resources. It is definitely something we advocate for our clients to use. Here’s an example of why:
One of our clients that uses KACE endpoint management has multiple locations distributed throughout the Southern California area. We have a technician that visits three to four sites a week. He performs tasks like making sure antivirus software and Windows are up to date, checking individually on each computer. With KACE we can free up that tech to do a lot more in one site visit, because KACE is handling Windows updates and antivirus updates automatically, on a schedule—set it and forget it.
Support for managers and end users
KACE does a great job providing professional development tools. Every month, they offer something called KACE Kontinuing Education (KKE)—these are one-hour videocasts about new functions, or a deep dive into learning more about an existing function. Usually they open up the last 15 minutes of these casts for questions. Personally, I use the KKEs quite often—they’re very useful, and Quest always has the most expert person leading the module.
The future of KACE
Quest is adding capabilities to KACE all the time. Barcode management is a new feature that allows, with the use of the K1000 Go mobile app, the scanning of barcodes on equipment to create or update assets. This can streamline adding new assets or updating existing assets. The K1000 mobile app also allows administrators to run scripts created in the web interface, and to deploy software packages to endpoints.
Another area where Quest is looking to extend the capabilities of KACE is the integration with VMWare’s mobile device management solution, AirWatch. This allows technicians to collect data from an AirWatch environment and integrate it into KACE’s inventory views and reporting, to gain a more comprehensive view of the company’s assets and computing environment. KACE will also integrate with VMWare virtual environments. This will allow KACE to collect and display information, such as CPU and memory usage, about the virtual machines that reside on each host.
Interested in learning more?