The latest versions of the KBOX 1000 and KBOX 2000 appliances are designed to help not just with upgrading to Microsoft's new operating system, but also with deployment and ongoing management."We support the full migration process," said KACE vice president of marketing Wynn White. "The whole 9 yards. Including readiness, what machines can be upgraded, and post installation management, as well as licenses and license compliance modeling." All from a single Web-based console.
Microsoft itself doesn't support in-place XP to Win 7 upgrades, but a variety of companies are trying to step into the breach with both low-end and high-end solutions. KACE is adding the those capabaliites to its existing line of systems management appliances.
Intended to reduce the cost and complexity of Win 7 migration -- especially from Windows XP -- by automating the entire process, the latest releases includes
- User-State Migration that can deploy user-specific files and settings along with operating systems and applications.;
- K-imaging, which uses file-based "smart synchronization" to reduce redundant transfers.
- Network OS Install automates the build out of Gold Master reference machines and deploys Windows 7 through driver slipstreaming;
- Remote Site Provisioning lets users manage OS migrations at branch offices and remote sites.
- Enhanced Asset Management to monitor software license compliance.
- Improved Patch Management can automatically deploy relevant Windows 7 patches to local and remote networks.
- Application Virtualization can isolate the core registry to keep Windows 7 deployments from potential app conflicts.
That help doesnt' come cheap, as KBOX 1000 Systems Management Appliance pricing remains unchanged, starting at $9,900. The KBOX 2000 System Deployment Appliance is available now as a Release Candidate, with general availability scheduled for December 1. Pricing starts at $4,900. (Existing KBOX users will get the new capabilities free in their next software upgrade, White said.)
If those prices seem high just for Windows migration, estimates of the cost of migrating from XP to Windows 7 have ranged up to $1,000 or more per machine, which makes the KBOX costs easier to amortize in midsize operations. And, of course, Windows 7 migration is just one feature of the KBOX appliances.
The real issue, though, is whether it makes sense to upgrade XP machines at all, or to hold off on moving to Windows 7 until you're ready to replace aging PC hardware along with the operating system.
At bMighty, we feel that while upgrading Windows Vista machines to Windows 7 makes sense in many cases, SMBs should undertake XP upgrades only when they have a specific reason to do so. Despite the benefits of Windows 7, if XP ain't broke for your company, there's no need to fix it. The time to replace the hardware with come soon enough.
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