Quest KACE Systems Management Review

Gives us a better handle on knowing exactly where our computers are and who is logging into them


What is our primary use case?

We use it to deploy software, push updates to the software, and manage our endpoints, desktops, and laptop computers. We are currently managing over 4,000 endpoints.

We are patching our software with KACE.

We have a virtual appliance.

How has it helped my organization?

We have a better handle on knowing exactly where our computers are and who is logging into them. We also have a better solution on what equipment is obsolete and needs to be replaced. We are also probably more compliant with upgrading our software or keeping our software patched so we have less vulnerabilities.

The solution has increased our IT productivity. I have seen a big increase from management to do reporting. It takes us a lot less time to identify systems that need to be upgraded. It is very efficient when we have to upgrade settings on the computer because my folks don't have to walk around and do that. 

What is most valuable?

KACE collects all the inventory of everything on a computer and everything about a computer, like warranty information. Software control and inventory is its most valuable feature. We use it all the time for that because we have a large geographic area with limited staff. It allows us to do things from a central location.

The solution provides us a single pane of glass with everything that we need for endpoint management of all devices. It definitely has made our endpoint management process much easier.

What needs improvement?

For the basic functions, it is very easy to use, e.g., looking up computers and seeing what is on them. For the software deployment and scripting, it is more difficult. I only have experienced people on my team do that type of work. If there was a way to simplify the interface for more technical tasks, that would be more useful.

We had a system that we had to upgrade manually this past week. It was a good portion of the systems. Unfortunately, due to the type of software it was, I couldn't do it with KACE, even though we tried. So, my folks had to manually touch each one of the computers, and it cost us hours in lost productivity.

The correlation between assets and inventory needs improvement. The KACE appliance does both asset tracking and inventory, and the link between those two is very sparse and difficult to operate. So, I asked them if they could link those two more seamlessly. I gave that information to KACE a couple of years ago.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for over 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It has been very stable. It just runs. We haven't had to reboot or do any work on the virtual side in months.

It does regular upgrades, which are manual. You need to upgrade your appliance manually. We are one iteration back right now, so we will have to upgrade the appliance. This doesn't happen that often. We don't typically upgrade every time an update comes out. We do it as needed or before it gets too old.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We haven't had to scale it. We only have one appliance. However, when we have gone through several upgrade purchases to add more nodes and systems to it, we buy a license, then apply that to the appliance. Then, our systems can just check in.

We put the solution on every computer in our environment. So, we don't have plans to increase usage, except when we buy more stuff. KACE goes on every computer that we have. It is required for our organization. If we bought 5,000 more computers, then we would buy 5,000 more licenses. That is just the standard that we use.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have Quest support. I assume we buy the highest level. Here's the thing about their support: It is good and bad. Their support is excellent once you get to the right person on the right team, I find that the subject-matter experts in their area of KACE are extremely helpful. They guide and help me figure out the things that I can't do. However, it takes a little while to get through their support system to get to that right person. The issues with KACE are minor compared to the benefits provided by the organization.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was complex. It is a Linux-based virtual server, where the customer cannot get into the back-end, so you can only follow their prompts. Then, there are specific things that have to be done in their implementation and upgrade phases that have to be done in a certain order or steps. If you don't get those steps right, the system doesn't work. I think that either simplifying that process or providing really good step-by-step documentation would be helpful.

Simultaneously, we were having a problem with the appliance, which caused us to migrate to virtual.

Our implementation strategy at that time went through our change control process. It was to back up the old system, take those backups offline, implement the new system, and then restore from the backups. There are two parts to that which need to be done: 

  1. Bring the system up and test with the test group. 
  2. Deploy that system for the rest of our network.

What about the implementation team?

We originally had it on an appliance. I was the one who did the virtual upgrade. It was very complex to get it first setup. However, Quest was very helpful in getting that done. I would not have been able to do it without some of their help. The migration took days (close to a week).

What was our ROI?

It has saved us a lot of time. I couldn't quantify it because we have been using it for so long. It would be hard to remember what it was like before using it. I would imagine it is enough personnel hours that when we have lost people due to attrition, if we didn't have it, then we would have been pretty sunk.

As a government agency, our accounting doesn't look at depreciation or ROI. We just don't. I have seen the return on the investment personally, because I can see the folks who work for me don't have to work as hard or have to travel as much to get things done. I could see where, in a private company, you could turn that into dollars and cents. We just don't monetize that. However, if I worked for a private company, I would absolutely be counting the hours saved and how much that turns into money.

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

Its pricing model is good for what it offers. Nobody here gives me a hard time about renewing the contract every year. It might be a little cost prohibitive for a smaller company who has to stand up a virtual environment as well as have virtual environment licensing and the hardware. If you have a smaller environment, it might be cost prohibitive. If you only have a couple of hundred computers, you might be more willing to do those manually. In our environment, the cost savings of having KACE far outweigh the licensing costs. We are okay with its pricing model.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have another solution for patching endpoints on the operating system. KACE would probably do a great job at it. We just already have something else in our environment. Most companies probably do. For example, if you have a Microsoft environment, then you would probably use a Microsoft solution. Or, if you are in a Linux environment, then you would probably use a Linux brand.

We have a separate system for imaging and deploying our computers. I wouldn't mind trying the solution's Systems Deployment Appliance (SDA). It might be something that I will look at in the future.

We evaluated what we could do with Microsoft solutions because we have Active Directory. We haven't really evaluated any other third-party solutions because we have been happy with KACE and don't see a need to shop elsewhere.

Microsoft has some easier solutions because they are already built into the Active Directory system, because the operating systems are already talking on the back-end. KACE does things that are easier to implement because it is a single dashboard that allows me better control. We don't use KACE for operating system updates because that is built into Microsoft Active Directory, but Microsoft Active Directory does not provide anything for third-party software updates, like Adobe products. So, we kind of use KACE for what it is good at and use the other one for what it is good at.

What other advice do I have?

Absolutely leverage the software update catalog that you can put together and implement. Brush up on your batch scripting because that is very important. Those are the main things that really helped us. 

The software distribution takes some research to figure out how to do. You will just have to spend some time learning how to do it.

Our mobile devices are managed separately.

I would rate this solution as an eight out of 10.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

10.1.99
**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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