Spiceworks IT Desktop for SMB IT Professionals
Small to medium sized companies are proliferated with technically savvy one man shops, that are burdened with slim budgets and no-one to fall back on when faced with new problems or technology. Over the years they have learned to just buckle down and figure it out the hard way; wading through technology manuals, slogging through articles and blogs on the internet, or find a peer to share information and BKMs.
We recently started working with an ISV that has a new economy twist to help this under-served group of hard-working professionals. The Spiceworks IT Desktop is a “free” application suite that will automatically inventory, monitor, troubleshoot, report on and run a help desk for their IT networks. The application is connected to a professional online community where users can share ideas on best practices; collaborate on IT projects, rate and review products, and form groups around particular areas of interest with companies like them. Of course, nothing is REALLY free, over 150 advertising sponsors (including Intel) support the cost of developing the tool, and you must agree to providing anonymous data about the inventory in your network; kind of like that company that records what you watch on your television (like how I got around permission to use their name?). This is not a cloud based solution, like a newsgroup or a search engine. You download the application onto a single desktop and run it from there; the ads are pulled down from the Spiceworks servers, statistical data is forwarded back, and you have a direct link to the community.
Power Manager Plug-in sponsored by Intel
The Power Manager extension can be used to track overall power-savings due to turning a group of machines on/off per a set schedule. This extension will load a widget on your Spiceworks dashboard that shows you 3 things:
1. Visually what schedule/time the machines managed by the extension should be on/off.
2. Red-Dot – tells you exactly what machines are on/off at the current time.
3. Dollar Savings – using some estimates of price/kwh and watts used per device; an estimate of dollars saved per day/month is given.
The plug-in will turn machines off (per a schedule) and then use Intel vPro Technology to turn the machines back on (per a schedule). It will then use those numbers to calculate power saved as well as money saved (estimates of course). The graph that is shown is really telling you what should happen as a result of the schedule you put in place; the RED DOT tells you specifically which machines are actually up/down at the current time… So in a perfect world, the RED DOT should be very close (or on top of) the graph/line. If it isn’t, that tells you that some machines are off or on that shouldn’t be… The extension has some very basic defaults for price/kwh as well as watts used by machines in the suspended state, these are for reference only and are clearly not precise (but it is enough to get you started).
Currently, the Spiceworks IT Desktop supports Discovery of PCs that may have Intel vPro Technology installed, and/or provisioned. More functionality will be added to the list, including a Scheduled Maintenance Plug-in, Hardware Inventory and a remote control console for connecting to a PC, but below the OS; see the POST messages, edit the BIOS, boot to a text-based diagnostic image. Look for blogs over the next few months.
Since 2006, the Spiceworks IT Desktop user base has grown to 830,000+ IT professionals in 196 countries worldwide. This includes 77,500 Managed Service Providers (MSPs) who rely on the software to manage and support client networks. Together these organizations use Spiceworks to support 28 million employees and manage 45 million computers and devices.