Not much more than a year after acquiring enterprise appliance vendor KACE Systems, Dell has launched the M300, a new device aimed at small business IT managers. We've written a bit about KACE Systems in the past, and the new Dell KACE division seems determined to make the most of the KACE acquisition.
The M300 is a small hardware appliance -- not much bigger than the Apple TV device -- that is aimed squarely at the needs of IT managers at small businesses, specifically those that manage less than 200 seats. According to Dell KACE, the M300 will help IT pros track and manage software licenses, software and hardware inventory, and help keep tabs on other IT assets. Dell KACE bills the M300 as a plug and play appliance which can be installed and configured in less than 15 minutes.
I spoke with Dell's Ken Drachnik (Director of Product Marketing) and Sendhil Jayachandran (Senior Product Manager) about the M300 announcement, and both stressed that the Dell KACE division was focused on alleviating the pain points of IT pros at SMBs.
"We targeted the primary paint points, the core DNA of the target segment," Jayachandran said. "Many of those guys are still using manual tools -- like Excel spreadsheets -- to keep track of hardware and software assets or to manage licenses. We wanted to alleviate the pain of working on all of those redundant tasks repeatedly."
Jayachandran and Drachnik described their target market as sitting between IT departments large enough to afford large system management applications like Microsoft System Center on the upper end, and smaller IT shops on the lower end that rely on manual tools (like Excel and Word) or free network management products like Spiceworks on the other. Spiceworks has earned a loyal following of millions of IT professionals, but Drachnik and Jayachandran claimed that their own research showed that some system administrators weren't entirely happy with free solutions like Spiceworks, and wanted more support, "data integrity" and reliability than free services could provide.
The Dell KACE M300 is available now for $1999 for a maximum of 200 clients, with support priced at $499 for the first year. Customers can buy up to three years of support for $1199.
Are you an IT pro at a small business that could benefit from using the Dell KACE M300? Let me know what you think by commenting on this blog post or following me on Twitter.