Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Spiceworks - killer app for network management?

I love how someone can take a look at 3 or 4 different areas of technology that are well known and well documented and then basically have an 'ah ha' moment and create something unique no one else have developed.

These guys really have developed a killer app.

Inventory Everything on Your Network
Discoverer the Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs and servers, routers, printers and any other IP-based devices on your network. Gather all of their relevant technical data plus the software, patches and services on each machine. Add important data such as the number of licenses you have, the purchase price and physical location. Keep track of other assets such as mobile phones and even office furniture. All without agents. And, all inventory information is stored locally and securely on your network - so there's no concern about sensitive data flying across the Internet. Learn More

So whats it all about?

Well basically SpiceWorks is a "Killer App" for network management. Once you install it on any desktop that has administrator rights to your network it goes out an 'discovers' things (yep even things like IP phones and UPS devices).

This is "technology area" number 1 - all of these api's are well known and have been available for some time but putting them together in a this format is as far as I know is unique. eg. I've been able to query my 'machine information' using Speedfan for sometime - however being able to do this and then collect everything from every computer on one simple web page for my entire network is fantastic.

Being able to collect MAC addresses or Software licenses in a single location is worth the price of entry alone. Knowing what the 'free space' on each of your hardware drives and what your network is doing normally requires 3 different applications alone.

Technology Area Number 2 - they use Ruby on Rails to deliver a lightweight highly modifiable interface. ROR isn't new by any means but more and more I'm seeing it pop up on 'portal' applications that hook into deeper code underneath in such an elegant way that is pure gold.

Technology Area Number 3 - "Ad Supported Applications", although this software is working on an internal browser page on your computer behind a firewall when you access the various web pages you're presented with advertisements which make the developers money - which enable them to eat - which enables them to keep coding - which gives us even more killer features.

Now I've posted more than a few times that I think banner ads are a waste of money but this is such a targeted defined audience that the value of this "segment" is extremely valuable for people trying to target to network administrators. The value of this network grows exponentially for every new user they have install the application (and has potential to offer further interactions using the www.Mexuar.com Corraleta click-to-talk technology but more about this another time).

There are more than a couple of other neat aspects to the application but that's enough for here, by this stage of the blog you've either decided to download it or not depending on if your run a network (or manage people who do).

Shoot me an email or post here with your thoughts.



  1. I have run this up at home with my own personal network and it has been extremely simple to install intially. I'm a "network guy" and have used the traditional tools. I must say that Spiceworks has raised an eyebrow or two! Next up is to install it in my work on a spare machine and see how it works in a business environment. But, if it in any way does what it has done at home then I am confident that it will be a positive asset in the workplace.

  2. one caveat:

    "We collect anonymous, aggregate information on the numbers and types of hardware that are being managed by Spiceworks"