If you have a company network that contains any number of servers, desktops, printers, and various networking devices, a monitoring system is a must. You need to know the health, status, age, etc of your devices. You do this by employing a powerful network discovery/monitoring tool. There are plenty of these tools, with a wide ranging set of features and prices.
Naturally you will assume any tool worth its weight in features would cost its weight in gold. In some cases that is the truth. But in the case of Spiceworks that assumption is incorrect. Spiceworks is a free network management tool that is as complete as they come. But is Spiceworks for you? Let's find out.
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Who's it for?
Spiceworks is for any network manager looking to keep tabs on the status of their network and network devices, but who doesn't want to pay the steep price for a tool offering similar features. And because of the incredible amount of features, Spiceworks is a solution for any sized network or company, regardless of budget.
What problem does it solve?
Spiceworks allows, from a single workstation, a network administrator to monitor the status of network health, as well as devices on that network. Not only does Spiceworks monitor the network, it will also alert the administrator when problems arise.
- Simple installation
- Customizable Web based interface can be accessed from anywhere
- User-configurable reporting
- Powerful help desk feature
- Easy to use Web console
- Vast user community
- Scripting support
- Network mapping
- Track license keys, serial numbers, deploy dates
The biggest problem with Spiceworks is a product of its price. Because Spiceworks is free you will have to contend with advertisements on the Web interface.
Bottom line for business
If you are looking for a solid network monitoring solution, and you don't want to foot the bill for the features you would typically find in such a tool, Spiceworks is the perfect solution. With the ability to create custom alerts and monitors, as well as the customizable interface, you cannot go wrong with Spiceworks. Spiceworks offers as many features as the competition without the steep cost. Spiceworks does exactly what you would expect it to; it monitors your network, scans for new devices, sends you alerts when something is wrong, and does so in a simple Web-based interface. What is there not to like?
Have you encountered or used Spiceworks? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.
A desktop machine discovered by Spiceworks. You can add your own information about this device in the Notes tab.
The helpdesk is one of the more useful sections of Spiceworks. Here you can create a global helpdesk that will allows users to submit help requests which can then be tracked from this dashboard.
You can see a graphical rendering of your network from within Spiceworks. This aspect of Spiceworks could, in my opinion, use a bit of tweaking.
Scanning a network
Here you see a newly installed Spiceworks instance scanning a network for devices.
You want reports? Spiceworks has just about any report you need. And if it's not there, you can create a custom report.
From one section you can configure the entirety of Spiceworks. This is where you need to go as soon as Spiceworks is installed. The email settings are where you will set up an email used for the help desk so that users can send help requests via email.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.