Kace acquires application virtualization technology

Systems management vendor Kace picks up intellectual property, assets of application virtualization player Computers In Motion

Systems management vendor Kace announced Tuesday it had acquired for an undisclosed sum the intellectual property and principal engineers of Computers In Motion, a small company focused on application virtualization technology.

The buy gives Kace an entry into a market where heavyweights such as Altiris (now part of Symantec), Microsoft and VMware have been focusing recent efforts. Computers In Motion, founded in 2001, developed a handful of products including Avispa, which allows individual applications to be imaged into a container. According to the company, applications running with a container share resources with the system, but don't change the underlying system. This application virtualization technology appealed to Kace, according to CEO Rob Meinhardt.

"Application virtualization technology is a must-have if you are a systems management player," Meinhardt says.

Kace will use VMworld 2008 to showcase its plans to integrate application virtualization into existing systems management wares. According to Kace senior product manager Bob Kelly, application virtualization will help systems administrators reduce management tasks, licensing confusion and security concerns from users visiting Internet sites.

"As a systems management vendor, it is a natural evolution for us to provide application virtualization that will be fully integrated and controlled by our appliances," Kelly says.

For Computers In Motion, the acquisition gives its engineers the opportunity to continue evolving the Avispa and other products such as SafeContainers and Take Control. SafeContainers creates a virtual sandbox to isolate Internet Explorer from the computer it is running on, preventing any downloads or files from altering the Windows registry settings and keeping the installation clean and safe. Take Control is an integrated set of Windows tools that control, fix and monitor in real time processes, threads, services ports and more. Another product, a Java GUI development tool dubbed Foam, will be discontinued.

"It's technology we have been working on for many years and Computers In Motion didn't have the resources to take it across the finish line," says Mark Wright, chief architect at Computers In Motion. "Clearly Kace has a shared vision of what the technology can bring to the market."

For instance, Kace intends to integrate the application virtualization technology into its suite of KBOX appliances and enable customers to take on license monitoring and reporting, data management and other disciplines. The benefits of application virtualization range from ease of management to optimized performance to secure endpoints, Kace says.

"Most of the press today talks about operating system virtualization, the core VMware technology, and that is pretty attractive in the data center environment, but when you start to look at endpoint computers, it's a big shift to virtualize the operating system on each and every endpoint," Meinhardt says. "With application virtualization technology, the management of that application and the control is much easier for the systems administrators."

Kace, headquartered in California, will locate an office in Austin to house the application virtualization business and its staff acquired with Computers In Motion. Kace intends to release products around this acquisition by year-end.

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