Today I had a chance to do something that has frankly been on my to-do list for sometime now — check into Spiceworks. Designed to run on Windows PCs, I opted to install it on my own VirtualBox installation just to toss a wrench into the mix to see how well the software reacted.
For those of you who are not familiar with Spiceworks, it is a software suite that allows you to monitor/manage/audit/inventory all of your network assets with amazing ease. The best part is the cost. How does NOTHING grab you for a price?
Installation and options
Installation was very easy. Setting up what appears to be a localized server running on port 80, Spiceworks immediately gave me the means to provide any of the following right away.
- Help Desk
- Community (IT education, forums, etc – a place to post notices of outages and so on)
Due to the limited scope of time I had to work with, I opted for the Inventory function. As soon as I selected it, I was presented with a choice to either scan my immediate network or, instead, scan my PC. I opted to scan my network.
Here is where I found myself being impressed. I was immediately asked if I run Windows only PCs or if there are Macs/Linux boxes on the network as well. I, of course, chose both as we have a little of everything on this LAN. I needed to also provide both a yes or no as to whether any of the platforms in question had remote administrative privileges, along with the needed login info.
The initial network scan took a while, but considering just how many network devices I had, I found that it did a fairly decent job.
Rather than try to itemize all of the features this has, I would instead have you review the bottom of this page. From there, you will be able to see each of the inventory features available.
How is this free?
Keeping in mind that I only covered one of the many levels of functionality that this software can provide, you might be asking yourself just how in the world something like this could possibly be free? The answer might surprise you. It’s advertising supported.
Now before you instinctively balk at the idea, realize that this is allowing you to utilize pro-level IT management software without having to deal with advertising that would be considered intrusive. There are no pop-ups or other annoyances.
If you are looking to trim back costs by using a more cost effective means of managing your IT assets, then you would be insane not to at least look into using Spiceworks. It installs easily and I think you will be amazed at just how user friendly it is to use.