Thanks for the information on spice works. Recently I read through few Free IT inventory and management software and finally decided to give a go at OCS inventory NG (http://ocsinventory.sourceforge.net/
) which is a open source software.
I installed the server component on my Win XP PC in 5 minutes and it was up and running.
Then you need to install the client agent on each PC which runs as a service. You can install the agent remotely if u are on a directory service. The outcome was very impressive.
The agent updates the server at pre scheduled time intervals. The info collected by agent is stored in both the PC and the server. The advantage of this is even if your server crashes, u can re install the server from scratch. And the next time the agents connects to the server it will re-populate the database with all the info from the local file. So no information is lost. This is specially useful if you decide to use a old obsolete PC without any support or redundancy for the server
This software does inventory but custom reporting and such additional facilities are minimum. But there is another Open source software built on OCS inventory called GLPI (http://www.glpi-project.org/spip.php?lang=en
) which uses the data collected from the OCS and facilitates complete asset management. I haven't installed this product yet for reasons I will explain later. GLPI has a compete demo site at http://www.glpi-project.org/spip.php?article47
for you see the power of it.
IMO These two Open Source applications together will compete with any thousand dollar IT asset management application without any problem.
I was so impressed with the results I decided to put at least OCS inventory on live environment. For this I tried to install the server on a CENTOS ( http://www.centos.org/
) This is a free alternative to Red Hat Enterprise Linux server. And I tried... and I tried... and I tried ... for almost 2 days.
The difference between the Linux version and the Windows version is that the windows version bundles MySQL, Apache Web server, and all related apps (incliding the XAMPP contol pannel) in to one installer and everything gets installed initially. But with Linux version only the app binaries are included. It requires MySQL, Apache and lot of other packages to be installed before installing the application. As a Linux newbie I just couldn't get though this phase. So temporarily stopped the project untill I get some free time again. This is obvioulsy why I dint get to trying out GLPI.
But if things fail, I will just install the windows version and try to install Linux version leisurely. (becuase I will not not loose the collected data by replacing the server)
1. Almost all the info u need on a PC is collected and well presented
2. Web interface for view and admin
3. Agent communicates with the server on port 80. So its easy on the firewalls
4. OCS includes package deployment feature on client computers
5. Unlike Spiceworks, the applications does not not need connection to the internet so there is no risk of any information leaking to the software vendor or any other person.
1. Both french based products. So english help is limited
2. The agent updates the "seconds remianing for next update" in local ini file every second (cant see any reason for this). So this could be a issue on old PCs though I didn't feel a performance issue with the few PCs I tested. The documentation states this will be corrected and the ini file update frequency will be configarable in the next agent release.
Please set me know your comments if you have already have tried this or if you try this.