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Are you the guy that got stuck with the office IT just because you can work an iPod? Got the usual small family business budget of zero for IT? Maybe you’re like me and have 8 or so computers in your house and want to get a grip on them.

Spiceworks offers free network monitoring software for situations just like these, and even bigger networks. (Must run on Windows only – will detect *nix on network though.)

After scaling back our IT budget at work, we insourced the network management side of things. That’s when I came across Spiceworks. It does all the things I need it to do:

  • Software, network, and PC inventory
  • Network, Exchange, and license monitoring
  • Asset and inventory reporting
  • Helpdesk & IT Portal

Installation was as easy as anything I’ve ever installed. Then it automatically did its own network discovery, where it inventoried devices connected to the network, as well as what software and updates were on them.

Within 30 minutes, I had a high-level overview of everything in our office. That’s pretty amazing to me for free software. There were some computers it wouldn’t connect to due to local firewalls, but that was easy to remedy. And it let me know that those firewalls were there, which shouldn’t have been.

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To help you along, Spiceworks has something they call the SpiceMeter. It’s a way of gauging what basic network maintenance activities you have done,as a sort of training program. This includes things like:

  • accurately identifying 75% of your assets
  • setting up a helpdesk
  • troubleshooting problems through the remote control

When your SpiceMeter is at 100% you can consider yourself a Red Hot Spiceworks Pro.

The software itself is far too in-depth to cover here. Yet Spiceworks offers way more than the software. They have a strong and growing community of users that are people just like you – some are professionals with extensive experience and some have just been thrown in the deep end of the server room to sink or swim. I’m somewhere in the middle.

There is also plenty of free training available for Spiceworks through SpiceworksTV – a series of training videos and webinars to help you along in your quest for network mastery. There’s even a section on IT comedy, just in case you’re starting to lose your mind…again.

I find it amazing that this software is free – only supported by ads served to you in the administration screens. The ads take up less than an eighth of the screen and are usually very targeted to IT, so they can really be useful too. If you don’t care for the ads, sign up for the paid version at $20 a month. Same functionality, but no ads.

Honestly, I’m trying to find a real negative about this software, but I can’t. One could complain that it doesn’t run on anything but Windows, but there’s lots of software like that. Maybe it would run with WINE, I don’t know.You could also complain that it’s best for networks with 500 or less computers, but really, that’s a good size network for most businesses. If you aren’t sold yet, check out their awesome YouTube video.

Is it a coincidence that the marketing chick has the same first name as my ex-wife? I think not!

Are you the defacto IT person? What do you use to take care of your network? Have you had any experience with Spiceworks? Let us know!

  1. emil
    December 11, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Does anybody know how to monitor webpages using netcrunch?

  2. FQ
    December 14, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    Can any one send me EXE of Spice world as I cant download it from website. PLEASE HELP ITS REALLY IMPORTANT.

  3. akp982
    November 16, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Spiceworks rocks and I cant wait to meet the Spiceworks team at SpiceWorld London http://www.spiceworld2009.com/london/

    Its going to be the first chance to get hands on training with 4.5 which is currently in beta.

  4. steve
    July 27, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    I have Network Monitoring Software from Kaseya
    . I havent had any problems with it and has worked better than expected. I would definately recommend trying Kaseya.

    Kaseya Blog

  5. Hovhannes Avoyan
    June 27, 2009 at 6:38 am

    You may also take a look at (monitorsnmp.com) monitorSNMP free on-demand snmp monitoring service. It is quite basic and in early stage but growing quite fast. And it is the only true SaaS solution I know.

  6. Andrew Phelps
    May 16, 2009 at 9:25 am

    Spiceworks just plain rocks and i cannot wait till 4.0 comes out.

    Its such a great tool and with GREAT new features on the wya.

    • Guy McDowell
      May 17, 2009 at 10:54 am

      It is excellent. Thanks for letting me know about version 4.0. I'm out of the IT world for a bit in my day job and wasn't aware of the impending 4.0. I'll have to check that out.

  7. Curt
    May 14, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    You should be able to find a tool for Mac here: activitymonitoringsoftware.com/network_server_monitoring/network_server_monitoring1.php

  8. Cate
    April 16, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    I don't care if this is the greatest thing since sliced bread, the "Jen the Marketing Chic" thing says it all.

    Pass.

    • Guy McDowell
      April 16, 2009 at 11:18 pm

      And yet somehow calling the IT person 'guy' isn't offensive to you? Do you realize that there was an era when the word 'guy' was used to refer to a homosexual male? Trust me, I should know. It's my name. 'Guy' is also synonymous with 'boy' Is it okay to infantilize a man?

      Jen didn't seem to mind. Hey she's the marketing person. Perhaps this was all her idea! Take it up with Jen.

      I'd like to say sorry for the rant, but I'm sick of people choosing convenient times to be politically correct. There isn't anything in your life that doesn't have ties to the politically incorrect. Drive a Ford? Henry had union organizers shot. Drive a VW, or a Porsche? Nazi Germany ring a bell? Good grief.

  9. bill
    April 16, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    you've got to watch the video. It says all!

  10. Wez Pyke
    April 16, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Is there any network monitoring software for OS X?

    • Guy McDowell
      April 16, 2009 at 11:20 pm

      I don't know, but I believe if you have an OS X box on a network tied to a Windows server with Spiceworks on it, Spiceworks will recognize and inventory it.

    • Wez Pyke
      April 17, 2009 at 6:19 am

      Yeah I read that but I'm running on OS X and others on the network are on Windows. So I was hoping there is an app for OS X.

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