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
Maintenance Plug-in sponsored by Intel
The new plug-in released late December, and builds in the capability of the Power Manager Plug-in I blogged about last month. This new plug-in allows you to run scheduled maintenance tasks on entire inventory groups. It will wake computers before and hibernate them after a scheduled maintenance tasks.
What it requires:
- Spiceworks 4.5.45710
- Scanned computers in Inventory organized into Inventory groups
How it works:
Choose from 3 pre-defined tasks, or write your own scripts to run.
Select an Inventory group and select the day and time that you'd like your script to run.
For Windows machines you can:
a) run any executable or batch file that you would otherwise start from the Start->Run field
b) send user defined commands by pre-appending cmd. For example:
cmd /C "echo test > C:\test.txt"
Note that commands will be run as the user used for the network scan.
For OS X & Linux/Unix, any commands you send will be run in the default shell.
Currently, the Spiceworks IT Desktop supports Discovery of PCs that may have Intel® vPro™ Technology installed, and/or provisioned, and Power. 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.