There has been a new beta version of Spiceworks 2 released this week, so i’ve decided to put it to the test and see if the improvements are as good as they are
I am going to look at a couple of areas for the test:
- Hardware Inventory scanning. Is it any quicker and does it recognize all the devices?
- Software Inventory scanning. Does it find all the software you expect, and does it know how to classify it
- Is the interface any faster. Version one was quite slow, this version is meant to be more responsive
To try and make the tests fair, I ran the old version and the new version on the same hardware (a Dell poweredge server) , and at the same time of day, so both versions should have the same amount of work to do. The Server was also scanning 3 different vlans on both tests.
|Spiceworks 1||Spicworks 2|
|Total Network Scan Time||1 hour 6 Mins||34 Mins|
|Total devices discovered||57||55|
|Unknown devices discovered||16||16|
|Total Software recognized||712||744|
So, the initial clam of Spicworks 2 being a lot faster in the scanning stakes is indeed true, and I have to say the speed increase was very impressive. Now onto what it actually found.
In order to try and see how valid the results of both versions of Spiceworks were, after they had finished scanning I ran an IP network scanner, and the total number of devices found on the 3 subnets did indeed add up to what Spiceworks was telling me. So both versions did see all the devices attached to the network.
When I looked closer at the devices it had flagged as unknown, they all turned out to be Cisco network devices (routers, switches and a couple of phones). This was the same for both versions, and I was a little surprised version 2 could not recognize them, but for what the software is aimed at this is probably not that important.
Now software. Unfortunately I did’nt have any real way of checking if what Spiceworks was telling me was true, but checking through what versions of Office, Acrobat etc it thought was installed,both versions seamed close to the mark. One of the things I like about Spiceworks compared to other tools that do software auditing is the fact it can actually tell the difference between a hotfix and an actual application. For some reason other tools I have used in the past had real trouble with that.
The only thing I’m suspect of software wise is its reporting of virus software and versions. It seemed to think an awful lot of machines didn’t have the correct signatures on. I did check a few machines and they looked fine to me. I am at a bit of a lose of how it actually decides what signature version should be installed.
Lastly, the interface. The actual look of it in version 2 hasn’t changed much from version 1. One thing I was interested in was is the new interface any quicker. Well, the answer does seem to be yes. But not my much. Going into the inventory page on version 1 used to take up to 7 seconds (from my machine anyway), this had improved in the new version but not by much. There was a bit more Ajax style coolness in some parts of the interface, but nothing mind blowing.
So, is it any good?
I personally think yes, for free (well, ad sponsored) software it is very good. It has some limitations like you cant get access to its underlying database (not that I could see anyway) and the interface is still not lightening fast, but overall its very good for small to medium size networks.
Go to http://www.spiceworks.com for the latest build and other news and info