Dell KACE recently unveiled the M300 Asset Management Appliance, a dedicated networked device for simplifying asset management and software license tracking in smaller organizations. The genesis behind the Dell KACE family of management appliances revolves around addressing mundane and often time-consuming IT administration tasks faced by businesses around the world.
Smaller organizations typically manage their computer assets and software licenses manually, while more diligent IT managers will probably make use of any number of free asset management tools that may not work well. The unpalatable alternative, of course, would be to shell out a small fortune for an enterprise-centric asset management solution. Positioned at a tenable price point of about two laptops, this is where the M300 enters the picture.
Unlike the higher-end K1000 System Management Appliance, which is positioned towards mid-sized to large businesses of over 100 employees, Dell KACE says the M300 is specifically created for organizations with 50 to 200 computers. According to Rob Meinhardt, general manager of Dell KACE, in the press release at the time, this has "never been done before."
Measuring a diminutive 1.5 x 5.79 x 5.79 inches, the hardware specifications of the M300 are relatively modest: 2GB of RAM, a Gigabit Ethernet port and a 2.0GHz Marvell Armada (6282) processor. Under the hood, however, the M300 incorporates the software smarts to maintain an inventory of both hardware and software, ensure software license compliance, as well as perform asset tracking and management.
A "plug-and-play" deployment means that the M300 can almost immediately begin providing hardware and software inventories on all devices on the network. This is displayed on a Web dashboard where filters and keywords can be used to quickly locate pertinent information or isolate specific machines for closer inspection. Given the amount of time that manual tracking for license compliance and hardware assets alone can soak up, Dell KACE argues that the hours of work saved translates into improved IT support. Moreover, IT managers or administrators will gain increased visibility into their IT network, which includes being able to identify configuration issues or missing patches before they can undermine security.
Do note, however, that the M300 lacks more advanced capabilities such as service desk or the ability to perform software distribution - which are features found in the K1000. You can see a simple feature comparison chart here. The Dell KACE M300 Asset Management Appliance is priced at $2,498, with one year of product support and a recommended maximum of 200 nodes.