RES releases free version of PowerFuse

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RES Software has released a free-to-download version of its PowerFuse tool for managing user workspaces in Windows-based networks.

The move is part of a re-branding exercise to boost awareness of PowerFuse, which can reduce the complexity of managing users compared with using Active Directory, according to RES.

PowerFuse 2008 Express Edition, available immediately, has been designed as a starter package to manage operating system and application settings for Windows users, the company said. It is restricted to handling 100 concurrent users and has reduced functionality compared with the full enterprise version, but customers can upgrade easily if required.

RES marketing manager Ron Grevnik said that PowerFuse is a very complete solution for managing user workspaces, but some customers have found it overkill for their requirements.

For this reason, the tool is being split into three editions; Express, Standard, and Enterprise. Enterprise is an updated version of PowerFuse Series 8, released last year, and costs £125 per user with no limit on users supported. The low-cost Standard Edition is planned to be available in May and will support up to 500 concurrent users.

PowerFuse 2008 Express Edition lacks features found in the commercial editions, such as security management, performance management, and support for applications delivered via Citrix or Thinstall.

"Express Edition is best suited for business environments using one single application delivery mechanism," Grevnik said.

However, it is still a complete product that can be used to simplify management of Windows desktop environments using its point-and-click interface.

"Microsoft offers roaming profiles as the way to manage user workspaces, but it falls short if you are moving to multiple application delivery elements," Grevnik claimed

For example, PowerFuse can be used to set policies restricting what company information a laptop user can access when using a remote connection, or based on the time of day.

"You could do this with roaming profiles, but it would be very complex and require scripting," he added.

The company said it hopes the re-branding will boost awareness of PowerFuse, and that offering a free 'lite' version of the product will drive sales.

"Some companies may be satisfied with the Express Edition and find it meets their needs, but we see it as seeding the market," said Grevnik. For this reason, customers will be able to upgrade from Express Edition to a paid-for version without needing a complete re-install, he added. @ 2010 Incisive Media

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