Due to the fact we are going to get an Audit, we have recently installed Spiceworks on our network. For those who have never heard of it, Spiceworks is a web based appliction that gathers information ion all the devices on your network.
Using WMI it gets hardware and software information for each device, and records it all in a database. We are going to use it for its software auditing purposes, it will give you lists of sortware installed on your network, and you can upload details of your licences into it to keep track of what software you have that is legal. I think it will even warn you if some new software appears that’s new or unlicensed.
The thing that makes Spiceworks different from its rivals, is that fact that it is completely free. The only thing that it does do is display advertisements in the browser console. Now, call me daft but i’m quite prepared to put up with an advert (they dont take up much room or distract you much) if quality software like this is free.
Some of the auditing tools we have used in the past haven’t been very good, there main problem used to be picking up windows components and listing them as separate software, so you ended up with a huge list that meant nothing. Spiceworks manages to filter all this out into a list that actually makes sense and work with.
The only problem we had was upon running a scan, there were quite a few errors (about 20% of machines). They said something like cannot get authenticated on the client. There is a page you can call up on the client machine that will attempt to diagnose the problem (urlofspiceworks/fix), upon running this we could see it was trying to authenticate on a different machine. A quick look in the reverse DNS lookups told us that the IP address of our problem client was in DNS numerous times with different names.
A quick clean up of DNS and a re-scan in Spiceworks, and virtually all the problems had gone. For small to medium sizes networks, I would recommend downloading it and giving it a try. Get it from www.spiceworks.com