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Dell To Buy Kace, Expand Management Solutions

Dell last week announced plans to acquire systems management solution provider Kace for an undisclosed amount.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Kace produces management solutions for IT generalists, including its KBox appliance product line. The acquisition of Kace will round out Dell's value-added management solutions and complement Dell's hardware offerings, according to a report by Patrik Bihammar, research manager for infrastructure software at IDC Europe.

"I have been expecting Dell to expand deeper into the IT management software market for some time, so the acquisition did not come as a surprise," Bihammar explained in an e-mail. "I was speculating they might be looking at acquiring LANDesk, which has more of an enterprise play. With Kace, they have a strong and innovative appliance-based offering for the 50 to 5,000 devices segment that is easy to deploy and use."

Dell's announcement marks its third acquisition bid for a management service company since 2007. If the deal goes through, it will expand Dell's midmarket presence, according to IDC's report, "Dell Builds Strong Case for Midmarket IT Management Through Acquisition of KACE."

KBox appliances feature a range of capabilities, from inventory and asset management to Windows 7 migration, patch management, security policy enforcement and more. Kace's offerings are available as physical and virtual appliances, and they support multiple operating systems, including Windows, Mac and Linux. Dell plans to distribute Kace's products through direct sales by Dell and through established Dell and Kace partner channels.

Kace's solutions will add to Dell's OpenManage offering and extend on-premises management capabilities beyond hardware, according to IDC's report.

"Dell has been building out its IT management offerings for some time, partly through a partnership with Altiris/Symantec around Dell's OpenManage suite, as well as through acquisition of SaaS-based solutions from SilverBack Systems and Everdream," Bihammar explained. "They have also announced new enterprise IT management capabilities, provided through partnerships with BMC BladeLogic, Microsoft System Center and Scalent Systems."

The acquisition is also seen by IDC as a penetration into the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) market. The majority of Kace's business is in North America, but the company has been looking to expand operations in EMEA since appointing a managing director for the area last August.

"I expect Dell to continue to expand its management portfolio to make a stake in the broader IT management market," noted Bihammar. "It is a good fit for a hardware infrastructure provider like Dell to provide value-added solutions."

About the Author

Herb Torrens is an award-winning freelance writer based in Southern California. He managed the MCSP program for a leading computer telephony integrator for more than five years and has worked with numerous solution providers including HP/Compaq, Nortel, and Microsoft in all forms of media.

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