Systems management vendor Kace has acquired the intellectual property and principal engineers of Computers In Motion, a small company focused on application virtualisation technology.

The purchase, for an undisclosed sum, gives Kace an entry into a market where heavyweights such as Altiris (now part of Symantec), Microsoft and VMware have been focusing recent efforts.

Computers In Motion, founded in 2001, developed a handful of products including Avispa, which allows individual applications to be imaged into a container. According to the company, applications running with a container share resources with the system, but don't change the underlying system. This application virtualisation technology appealed to Kace, according to CEO Rob Meinhardt.

"Application virtualisation technology is a must-have if you are a systems management player," Meinhardt says.

Kace will use VMworld 2008 to showcase its plans to integrate application virtualisation into existing systems management wares. According to Kace senior product manager Bob Kelly, application virtualisation will help systems administrators reduce management tasks, licensing confusion and security concerns from users visiting Internet sites.

"As a systems management vendor, it is a natural evolution for us to provide application virtualisation that will be fully integrated and controlled by our appliances," Kelly says.

For Computers In Motion, the acquisition gives its engineers the opportunity to continue evolving the Avispa and other products such as SafeContainers and Take Control. SafeContainers creates a virtual sandbox to isolate Internet Explorer from the computer it is running on, preventing any downloads or files from altering the Windows registry settings and keeping the installation clean and safe.

Take Control is an integrated set of Windows tools that control, fix and monitor in real time processes, threads, services ports and more. Another product, a Java GUI development tool dubbed Foam, will be discontinued.

"It's technology we have been working on for many years and Computers In Motion didn't have the resources to take it across the finish line," says Mark Wright, chief architect at Computers In Motion. "Clearly Kace has a shared vision of what the technology can bring to the market."

For instance, Kace intends to integrate the application virtualisation technology into its suite of KBOX appliances and enable customers to take on licence monitoring and reporting, data management and other disciplines. The benefits of application virtualisation range from ease of management to optimised performance to secure endpoints, Kace says.

"Most of the press today talks about operating system virtualisation, the core VMware technology, and that is pretty attractive in the data centre environment, but when you start to look at endpoint computers, it's a big shift to virtualise the operating system on each and every endpoint," Meinhardt says. "With application virtualisation technology, the management of that application and the control is much easier for the systems administrators."

Kace, headquartered in Mountain View, California, will locate an office in Austin to house the application virtualisation business and its staff acquired with Computers In Motion. Kace intends to release products around this acquisition by year-end.