Spiceworks 2. Whats the verdict?

Posted by beakersoft | Posted in spiceworks | Posted on 18-12-2007

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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.

Test Results

  Spiceworks 1 Spicworks 2
Total Network Scan Time 1 hour 6 Mins 34 Mins
Total devices discovered 57 55
Workstations discovered 87 89
Servers discovered 6 6
Printers discovered 10 10
Unknown devices discovered 16 16
Total Software recognized 712 744
Applications recognized 252 273
Services recognized 180 188
Hotfixes recognized 280 282
     

Test Conclusions

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.

Edit-I have found out since witting this that you can indeed query the underlying database see this post for details

Go to http://www.spiceworks.com for the latest build and other news and info

Comments (20)

Spiceworks 2 interface is painfully slow. I find it much slower then version 1.x. I would not consider this a primetime product.

I disagree Frank. The interface works fine for me. I wonder about the power of the server you’re using. I’m serving Spiceworks 2 off a Dell Laptop running Windows XP as a test. We have 102 workstations, 10 servers, 34 printers, and 1461 pieces of software. The inventory page takes 3 seconds to load for me.

By default a server OS is configured to provide more CPU time to background processes not the UI. XP is tuned the opposite way.

I am with Kevin. I find it very responsive. We are running it as a trial on a desktop system running Windows XP. Granted it is a Core 2 Duo CPU with 2 GB RAM, but it is very responsive. I think it may actually be quicker then Kevin stated – more like 2 seconds for us. Size wise we are about 10 workstations smaller then Kevin and I tested while it was doing a network scan.

This is totally a “prime time” product for SMBs. It does not have the full feature set that we would like to see but what it does have functions very well. For a small organization it is far better then many of the pay alternatives. The fact that it does not have an agent is a limiting factor for many of the advanced features we would like to see here.

I have found that is does run better on higher end hardware. We had problems with scans failing on a subnet with a large number of clients, so we moved spiceworks onto a faster server and it helped a lot

FWIW, log into the SW Community, and check out the following:

Community tab

Shortcuts drop-down

Popular tags

“SW Database” tag

There you will find threads dealing with accessing the Spiceworks database.

[…] i did when version 2 came out I will do some tests and compare how it performs against previous versions, hopefully its network scanning and device […]

This is DEFINETLY a “Prime Time” product for me. The help desk feature is a huge asset to my department. I have mine running on a HP Netserve E800 which is blazing away with a PIII 1GHZ with 1G RAM, running windows server 2003. My inventory screen still loads in 5 seconds with 63 workstations, 8 servers, 26 printers, 23 networking devices, 1403 software, 51 in other and unknown.

This is a must have for any IT department that can’t afford hundreds or thousands of dollars comparable off the shelf products.

[…] my previous blog on Spiceworks 2.0, I did I direct comparison of how fast a network scan completed, and what it managed to find. Here […]

Man I love this product, don’t we all. This product has saved thousands of dollar for our company with features like inventory scanning, help desk and adding your own tools. Thank you for creating such a wonderful product.

I had a very slow interface as well. It turns out it was in Firefox. If I use IE, it goes very fast, with Firefox it is PAINFUL!

Not tried it in Firefox Frank, i wouldn’t have thought it would be so much slower than IE though. Ill try it when i get back to work. Might be worth having a look through the Spiceworks forums to see if anyone else has had similar problems

Pop along to the community and well help you out with any issues :)

We have mutiple way of fixing slowness

Spiceworks 4.1 is currently out with 4.5 hot on its heals.

I can’t wait to meet the Spiceworks team at SpiceWorld London http://www.spiceworld2009.com/london/

It will be a great day with loads off information and hands on training with Spiceworks 4.5

Spiceworks have also managed to team up with Intel for a power manager http://www.spiceworks.com/free-pc-power-management-tool/ which just rocks.

I was just looking at the test results for spiceworks and I have to say I was extremely underwhelmed. I hope its performance has improved in its upcoming versions. We have a range of products that do the same thing as Spiceworks except they run in a browser, do not install on any machine on the network and scan the network at the rate of 250 nodes per second. We return data at the rate of 6,000 machines per minute; approx 1.2 million computers per hour. I’d love to hear from anyone who can beat that.

Trevor, did you pay for those other products you mentioned?

No, Point Blank, I wrote them; why do you ask?

Hi Trevor, might be useful if you posted a link to these products so other people can check them out

I was just interested, I’m always keen to check out tools for the “trade”. Running IT in a negative economic environment has bought on some challenges in financial sustainability, thinking smart, increasing productivity yet at the same time reducing expenditure…..

I’m on the prowl for free tools! :)

Hi Point Blank, these tools are free!

http://www.nanotechsoftware.co.uk/products

They are in thier infancy at the moment and have a lot of scope for further advancement.

The next release (this month) will include scheduled scanning, customisable pivot table views, emailed alerting of selectable events.

Because we have not completed the screen cam tutorials yet we are happy to give personal assistance in the meantime.

We will be providing the apps (currently 12-13 but another 20 or so in the pipeline) with limited functionality (no print, export, search, filter or grouping) free of charge. However they are not limited in ability ie they will all scan an unlimited number of nodes.

A License is required for the additional functions but at $299 per annum renewable (inclusive of all further development/versions) we felt it was a bit of a give away, especially when you compare the cost against that of the big boys.

an example … recently in a conversation with a major player I was informed that they had completed an ‘installed software’ audit of 50,000 machines for the Government in 3 months. Our software would do that in approximately 10 minutes; and without installing anything on a single machine! Thats got to be worth the approximate cost of one man for one day per annum ($299)

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