Dell Kace debuts 'plug-and-play' M300 systems management appliance

Dell Kace has introduced the M300 Asset Management Appliance, which is being targeted at small businesses looking for a more intuitive and less costly management solution.

Dell Kace has introduced the M300 Asset Management Appliance, which is being targeted at small businesses looking for a more intuitive and less costly management solution.

Measuring about the same size as the original Apple TV box at six-by-six inches, the M300 is touted as plug-and-play operation that can be set up as quickly as five minutes.

Although Dell naturally boasts plenty of benefits with its new product, it really breaks down to two purposes for SMBs with about 50 to 250 employees: managing technology assets and software license compliance. Both of these features can be moderated from a rather clean-looking user interface that keeps things simple on the dashboard with alerts broken down by urgency as well as recent activity on the network.

Starting with asset management, IT managers can log into the system and search for a device based on a number of different categories, namely IP address, user names, models and manufacturers, RAM and disk space and custom labels designated by the respective IT department. From there, users can identify the hardware, software, licenses and patches installed on these machines. The UI also keeps track of and sends out alerts about warranty information. For example, an alert will be issued if a specific warranty (either from Dell or other manufacturers) going to expire soon.

Continuing on to the software side of things, the M300 does not actually send out and install software itself. It keeps track of where software is installed and who can use it based on the designated licenses. The IT manager can also rescind permissions and licenses to particular machines at the click of a button.

Compared to Dell Kace's other offerings, the K1000 and K2000, that are targeted at medium to large enterprises, the M300 comes cheap. The box itself is $1,999 and one year of technical support is $499. Two and three-year technical support packages are also available, but the overall starting price is $2,498. The M300 is available starting today in the United States only. However, unlike the K series that supports multiple operating systems, the M300 works for Windows only.

The M300 marks the first new product release from Kace, including before it was acquired by Dell in 2010, as the last launch was the K2000 in 2006.

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