SysteMacs, a 15-year-old Mac enterprise consulting firm that has developed proprietary software that’s designed to help Macs penetrate deeper into large businesses, will showcase boxIT in July at Macworld New York.
The product for enterprise customers is available now. In fact, SysteMacs patented its solution and trademarked the boxIT name on Monday.
boxIT is a methodology of making a disk image of a customized Mac with properly configured operating system and applications. The custom image is copied to an external FireWire, USB or SCSI device. This image can be deployed to an unlimited number of user computers simultaneously.
The external device also stores all critical data including e-mail. This image can be deployed on similar Mac systems in an enterprise and is an “excellent tool” to deploy Mac OS X, according to Ken Easterby, founder and president of SysteMacs. When problems occur, the user or IT support person can restore this image in less than one hour, he added.
“boxIT allows Macintosh computers to have system software and applications instantly installed from a remote computer, and for unprecedented backup and restore capabilities,” Easterby said. “This is a common function in the PC world, but hasn’t been done with Macs. This was a big gap in the curve between PCs and Macs, and we wanted to fill the need. boxIT is the only solution available that empowers Mac users and IT Professionals to effectively manage their own Mac systems, saving them money which would normally be spent on consultant fees.”
The disc image “freezes” an image in time of a Mac’s operating system, applications, and preferences. It doesn’t “freeze” data such as word processing files because such info is “dynamic and constantly changing,” Easterby said. However, with boxIT, anti-virus software and a backup solution you have a “100 percent, bulletproof system,” he said.
“The idea is to make one machine ‘look’ like another and do it more quickly than you can normally do,” Easterby added. “It’s also useful when problems arise on a machine. There’s no troubleshooting at all; boxIT simply restores the computer to a previous state. It also makes a perfect Mac OS X migration tool.”
Instead of trying to diagnose software problems the working image replaces the damaged state of the computer. In other words, it’s “proactive” rather than “reactive” support, Easterby said. What’s more, the image can be updated, tested and deployed to one or hundreds or computers with consistent results, he added.
boxIT isn’t a cheap product, as it’s a completely custom built solution. When it’s first implemented, SysteMac does a systems analysis database in FileMaker Pro. After that, they can give an estimate on what it will cost to deploy. However, Easterby claims that the solution can save a company up to 60 percent in time and money. Though it’s hard to peg a “typical customer” for the product, he said that boxIT is well suited to enterprises that have over 100 Macs.
“We look at it as the more machines you have, the more money we can save you,” Easterby said.