Quest KACE Systems Management Review

We can use one image for several different instances, saving a lot of space

What is our primary use case?

The KACE K1000 is primarily used for patching or pushing out software that needs to be pushed out. The KACE K2000, the deployment server, is primarily used to image new and older computers.

I should be updating the image at least once a month. The reason why I am taking so long right now is because we didn't have access to it through our VPN, and I am mostly working from home. They just opened it up so I could work with it from home, which is great.

How has it helped my organization?

We keep on updating Quest KACE because we really use it. The patching is maintained by a different person, and he is constantly updating the software all the time. I should be doing the same thing too, and that's on me. However, I get busy with the email server, people calling in, etc. From now on, I am going to take time slots and mark myself up busy, just so I can do it. It's a lot easier working on it from home than when I'm at work, because people walk up on you and ask you to do stuff, then lose what you were just doing.

We always do the asset management first, then we image the computer. After it is imaged, it gets all the updates that it needs through the other KACE (the patch management). It makes life a lot easier. 

What is most valuable?

The most valuable is being able to use one image for several different instances. Because we only put one to three images on those instances, it saves a lot of space.

It pretty much provides a single pane of glass with everything we need for endpoint management of all devices. We have several different ways that we do stuff, e.g., for remoting in, we use Bomgar, and for asset management, we use ServiceNow.

What needs improvement?

They could make the booting solution easier for different things, e.g., easier to insert drivers. They could make it easier to create a new image and put it onto the server. Those would be some nice solutions. They could make it so that somebody who has no knowledge at all can do it. That would be really nice. Because every time, until I get it memorized, I still need to go back to the training, the manual, or Google it to figure it out again. If they would make it a lot easier, to where a nine-year-old could do it, that would be really cool. If they made it easier, I could have more people managing the images on the server, instead of just one or two people.

On the patching, the Systems Management appliance, I noticed whenever there is something new that the vendor has to do, he always has to call KACE for help with it. That could be made easier.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Quest KACE for quite a few years, since 2014 or 2015.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have never had to reboot it, except for when I have had to update the server. If it is having problems, and I have to troubleshoot, then I will need to reboot, but that is usually the image and has nothing to do with the server. The server is very stable. I have not once had to reboot because the server crashed.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have four people who have been trained on both servers: 

  • Two people are mostly working on the patching, KACE Systems Management. 
  • Two people, including me, are mostly working on the Systems Deployment Appliance.

There are 10 people in my group using the server to image. In another department, there are another two users who know how to manage the server, but they don't mess with the server networking. They only manage their image that they have on there. When I put in a fresh, new image, I inform them, saying, "Hey, I have this new image tested. You are more than welcome to start using it so I can start deleting older images."

If they would make it easier and more intuitive, then it would be easier to show other people how to do it. Right now, I have to send them to training, which costs us a lot of money.

How are customer service and technical support?

They have very good customer support and technical solutions. When I have a little issue, I call them and they fix it right away. I don't have to wait three or four weeks unless it is something out of their scope, then it takes longer. However, if it is in their scope, it gets fixed right away, for whatever I need. It is the same with the K1000. Whenever they need somebody, they have to call back that same day or the next day, depending on the urgency that we have placed on KACE.

Because I have so many different other jobs, I am still learning how to upload images, etc. I have to go over the classes, then listen how to do this and that. Instead of trying to call Quest every single time to do something, I try to just relearn it myself.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used to use straight SCCM and found KACE way better because SCCM is all Microsoft. A lot of times Microsoft is not intuitive at all on third-party software, so you can only really update the Microsoft software. When we went from a SCCM to KACE, it was way easier because it's easier to update a software or even install a brand new software.

KACE has made our life much easier since we got off the Microsoft solution. The Microsoft solution was a lot harder to image over different ports and stuff. They would only have this one place where we could do all the imaging. Now, we have a whole building where we can image from. This means that we can image from our storage area, where we have a place to do our imaging. We can also image right at our desks, which is a lot easier. Once I get up to speed on updating the image and adding new software, then it will be so much easier for everybody else because the Microsoft solution always did the image in a weird way. They didn't have all the drivers for all the things that we have. With KACE, you can actually insert the drivers and make it work.

The SCCM solution for imaging was a nightmare. It wasn't a very good solution at all. With some of Microsoft items, we would need to just make a whole image of that model, which would take up more space on the server. With KACE, you just use one or two images. We have one department who uses this one model in all their trucks. They like it to be a certain exact way, where the icons and in the exact place with all the same this and that. For that one, we just make an image of that whole thing. Because we have the terabyte solution, it doesn't put a dent on the storage at all. With the terabyte solution, because we have that on the patching too, we don't have to think about whether we are using up too much space. I can go there once a month and clean up everything instead of having to be on top of it. It is just way better.

We still use SCCM for certain things that we have to do which need to be blanketed out and are easy enough solutions for them.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very complex. It took hours of training. We found out at the beginning that we did it backwards. We were supposed to do the KACE Systems Management first, then do the Systems Deployment Appliance. We did it backwards because we didn't know about KACE Systems Management. That made it a little harder.

I would like it if they could make it easier, not a million steps to do one thing. Because once you have the image on there, it is tested, and it works, then it's great. All you have to do is update the rest of the software, but just getting the image onto the machine and making sure it works, that is the hardest part.

The initial deployment took about a week or so. We deployed it, then we had to learn it.

What about the implementation team?

I was the project manager on the deployment of the solution. I was involved in learning about it, getting a demo server going, purchasing it, and then deploying it once we purchased it. So, I have been involved from day one.

What was our ROI?

On a weekly basis, KACE saves us hours. On a monthly basis, it probably saves us a day or two. Because it is easier to use, patch, and manage than our previous solution, where I didn't even have the opportunity to be one of the people to manage it. Then, with KACE, we were able to switch it over to our service desk, divide KACE K1000 and KACE K2000, and cross-train, so we could have more people managing the servers.

Overall, the solution has increased our IT productivity as well as the other department's. Since they are using the solution, we bought them a license, which has increased their productivity immensely because they were doing everything from scratch with no imaging solution. They were just taking a brand new machine and setting it up, which just takes hours. Instead of the 45 minutes that it took to image a machine and run the patching and stuff (which may be another hour), which may take up to eight hours total to do a machine. Now, when you have all the software updated, it takes less time (45 minutes) because there is less patching to be done.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We need it, so we have to pay the price. It is what it is. If you need a gallon of milk, then you have to pay the price for it. You don't want to buy the cheap stuff. You want to buy the stuff that is organic and good for your body, which doesn't have all this other junk in it. You want it clean for your body. Quest has done that for our deployment and management systems.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did other vendors, but we didn't like them. The other solutions were too complicated and some didn't have good enough security for our system, since our security is super tight.

We first heard of a KACE when Dell EMC owned it. Then, we got more information on it. When the person who was going to do the project management couldn't do it anymore, I asked if I could be the project manager on it. I pushed it right through.

KACE promised us stuff and have kept their promise. Microsoft promises us stuff, but they don't keep their promises.

What other advice do I have?

It is a great service.

It is semi-easy to use once you have it in, but I always have to go over what I have already learned. Because after so long, if you're not doing it every day, you forget it. You have to keep relearning it.

My advice is to check it out. They are always willing to do a demo server, then you can check it out and work on it in a sandbox. 

For whoever gets trained, make sure they train somebody else along with them. They need to keep on top of it. Don't just let it sit there because it will break after a long time. The images get so old that they don't work anymore. You have to reimage it, etc. Just keep on top of it at least once a month and update everything. When a new software comes in, update that right away. You need the Management System, but install that first, then do the Systems Deployment Appliance. If somebody else is doing the Management System, keep in touch with them.

We have a system where every time there is a patch, then I get an email so I can know what patches to do, so I can update them on the deployment. Then, it doesn't have to wait for patches. That is the whole solution of doing it. You don't want to have to image something, then wait. If there is extra third-party software that you can't put on the server, then you could at least get that all installed and have it out the same day. With KACE, I have been able to image something and have it out to the customer the same day or next day, which is impressive when you are trying to serve out computers. People really are impressed when you just open a ticket and get it done.

I would give it a nine (out of 10) because it needs to be a little easier. It saves us so much time and the imaging part of it is really easy to use.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

K1000 and K2000
**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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