Dell acquires KACE

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Maybe the Dell strategy for fabric computing isn’t clear yet, but its approach to virtualization definitively is: so far the company closed a number of OEM agreements with vendors in different areas to build a rich product portfolio without having to own one, and directly compete against VMware or other major players.

The list includes Reflex Systems (March 2009), Quest/Vizioncore and Novell/Platespin (both September 2008),

Dell may no interest in playing a major role in the hardware virtualization space, but it may have some in other, emerging markets.
The company in fact just announced the acquisition of KACE, the US firm focused on system management that launched an application virtualization platform in 2009.

KACE acquired it in September 2008 from a startup called Computers in Motion, and relaunched it in March 2009 as Virtual Kontainers.

The KACE go-to-market strategy seemed pretty similar to the Altiris one (which was acquired by Symantec in April 2008): the application virtualization layer isn’t there to solve the desktop virtualization challenges by offering an alternative to virtual machines; it must be considered an add-on to enrich the enterprise management system, since the virtualized applications can be easily deployed, updated and removed from a single point of control compared to “traditional” software.

So far Virtual Kontainers didn’t have much traction (the entire application virtualization market isn’t), even if KACE introduced an interesting way to solve the ISVs support challenge in version 2.0.  
The Dell interest, at least looking at the press announcement, seems solely focused on the KACE system management technology and its KBOX physical appliances, but the OEM would certainly have the resources to push application virtualization towards a broader adoption.

The Virtualization Industry Radar has been updated accordingly.