Management appliance firm Kace is to offer full support for Apple Macs, aimed at helping IT managers better control their entire computer estate.
The company already supports Windows and some Linux platforms, but has seen increased demand for Mac support as Apple's market share grows.
"We continue to witness a steady increase in the use of Macs in the enterprise," said Rob Meinhardt, chief executive and co-founder of Kace.
"With our new Kbox Appliance releases we are delivering robust, seamless cross-platform systems management support, effectively ending Apple management discrimination in the enterprise. Whether Mac or Windows, organisations can now manage both equally through a quick-to-deploy and easy-to-use appliance."
Meinhardt believes that the growing uptake of Mac computers is down to the commoditisation of IT in general and a dislike of Windows Vista, and said that he wants to "bring Mac management functionality up to parity with PCs".
A recent survey by the Information Technology Industry Council found that around two thirds of IT managers intend to allow users to deploy Macs as their predominant corporate enterprise desktop over the next year, double the figure reported in 2008.
Meinhardt claimed that other Mac management tools available today are very limited or standalone products, which leaves IT departments having to manage two separate applications.
Kace is also offering beta level support for Microsoft's Windows 7 and Apple's Snow Leopard, and said that the platform can support dual-boot systems as well as those running a virtualised version of Windows from within the Mac OS.
The new Kbox appliances offer enforced policy-based configuration management and the handling of updates and patch management, and feature Mac Imaging which uses Kace's K-Imaging technology to eliminate redundancies in the capture, storage and deployment of disk images during systems provisioning.
Kbox also includes new software metering support for Macs, which keeps track of the applications installed, and how often and for how long they are used, helping companies manage licence fees, according to the firm.
The Kbox Systems Management Appliance starts at $9,900 (£5,900), while the Kbox Systems Deployment Appliance starts at $4,900 (£2,950). The next generation of both products should be generally available in August 2009.
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