Kace KBox 1100 review

Price when reviewed

Systems management products are more often offered as software solutions and aimed at larger businesses with deep pockets.

Kace KBox 1100 review

The latest KBox family from Kace delivers an interesting alternative, since these appliances offer a solid mix of management tools for inventory, assets, applications and patches along with software distribution, license metering and help desk functions.

Deployment is simple and the well-designed web interface makes general configuration easy enough. Agents need to be deployed to selected systems and, although these can be pushed from the appliance, you must ensure that simple Windows file sharing is disabled otherwise this will fail. The agents initially use the same ports as file sharing to communicate with the appliance but afterwards move to a dedicated port allowing simple file sharing to be switched back on again.

The appliance stores its inventory in a MySQL database and we found it was capable of providing a lot of detailed information about our test clients. It had no problems identifying the latest dual- and quad-core Xeons, while for software it picked up all the key applications running on our test clients. However, we did notice that it picked up only the Office Professional 2003 suite and not the individual applications within.

A key feature of the KBox is its Labels, which are essentially group headings used to represent anything from physical locations, user groups, servers, inventory details and so on. You can also apply filters to the computer inventory, which adds considerable value as these can have dynamic content. You could create a filter and apply it to systems running low on hard disk space and tie this in with the KBox’s scripting tool to fire up a disk defrag job on all new entries.

For patch management Kace has teamed up with PatchLink, whose Update product impressed us when we looked at it earlier this year. The KBox currently offers patch management for Windows and Macintosh systems with Unix and Linux support in the pipeline. Kace has an SLA (service level agreement) with PatchLink to ensure that all patches are tested and verified by it before being passed on to the appliance. During testing, we found patch management worked well, although Windows Server 2008 will only be supported in a future release.

Kace’s software distribution supports a wide range of delivery systems including MSI files, ZIPs and Wise installation packages. License metering comes under this section and this is currently passive – some control is possible using scripts, but full active license metering will be added in a future release.

The help desk functions are also neatly integrated into the management interface and users can email support requests or log on the appliance’s Server Center and issue a request there. The Help Desk offers a reasonable range of feature as administrators can view all tickets, see their status, assign them to users and change priorities but the majority are manual tasks. For example, automatic trouble ticket escalation isn’t fully supported although this is slated for yet another future release.

It did take a while to get our heads round the KBox’s modus operandi, but it soon became clear that this well-specified appliance offers plenty of system management tools. Development is still needed in areas such as helpdesk and license metering, but we found inventory to be very accurate.

Comments are closed.

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos