Spiceworks 5.0 The whole new frontier of Everything IT


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We love updates, specially when it comes to products, which already might be topping our list of favorite; either it be next version of Windows or next version of Smartphone OS of our favorite brand or your favorite Management software. So, here you are, coming September (my birthday month) bringing the biggest release of the IT management software Spiceworks (I covered sometimes back), the 19th release.

Spiceworks and me: It took a learning curve to me to get used for Spiceworks, as I taken a look over it about two years back as a free Software. I wasn’t that big impressed that time or could say kind of scared of many options and ads around within the interface. But now I feel that I was stupid that time and when it came back again, then it kept on amazing me …

I primarily using it for two purposes as of now ..

  1. Gather Inventory info from Multi-Domain structure: That’s probably one of the biggest task for any infra, if you need to get your hand dirty by going to each PC by yourself to gather info. Spiceworks not only empower an IT Admin to gather the same info by sitting at one place, but it provides flexibility of using authentication of multiple domains as well means no more worries. Best part still remains the way it provides you excel reports in exact way you always wanted.

    But the last releases have enabled users to not only gather info but to interact with running processes at the moment and many other relevant info of IT Management.

  2. Helpdesk: Perhaps among all the free/ open source IT Helpdesk software’s, I might have gone through in all those years, never found anyone compared to Spiceworks IT Helpdesk Software. Other one either focuses on concept of one IT person managing the helpdesk and lodging calls on behalf of users and assigning calls to engineers accordingly or even if give users some kind of console, then leave it utterly simple without no option to customize as per your needs.

    I feel Spiceworks Helpdesk solution could very well stand as an independent product and still will be a hot cake. It really gives you enough hands on customizations, rules, priorities, designing and even associating tickets with asset’s profile. Great!!! what else you could have wanted.


What’s new inside version 5.0

There is a lot of info on the official community page, which you could find here and if you can’t hold yourself waiting till the final release in September, then yesterday night they already has released the beta that you could download from here. There are some rules about testing out any beta, but I will come over the same later on.

Spiceworks is just not the two features I mentioned above, it some huge, very huge that’s why they call it everything IT, keeping track of your purchases, IT Services and many more.. lets see what the latest version got as addition:

  • Multi-site Helpdesk: When heard the name for the first time, I was confused that what is it, but later on reading about, it fascinated me a lot. Multi-Site helpdesk means many Helpdesk consoles that might be running in different site with different customizations, different prospects and still gather the data for a central console. Wow!!!! what else I was looking for, got my wish granted even before wishing for it.

    Things to try out with this beta are:

    Helpdesk

    1. Connect a remote site to a central helpdesk site.
    2. Submit tickets from a remote sites portal and respond to them from the central helpdesk.
    3. Set-up email at the remote site and have users submit tickets (including attachments) and confirm they reach the central helpdesk. Respond to the ticket from the central site.
    4. Customize the remote portal.

  • Purchasing: If I am right then there are purchase ticket kind of option in current version as well, but it got a complete redesign and attention with this release only. Finance people should really check this feature out rather than working over some custom made buggy CRM or maintaining the track of purchases manually. You can now use a purchasing workflow on tickets to track approval, ordering and receipt of purchases.

     
    Things to try out with this beta are:

    1. Add purchase to tickets
    2. View purchases and how they relate to Help Desk tickets, inventory and IT Services
    3. Approve and track purchases
    4. Shop for purchases

  • LDAP Authentication via SSL: It always been a treat to watch that how effortless the authentication methods of Spiceworks are. Either be it on user side or IT side, I never faced any big issue and using the AD authentication for logging into Helpdesk been superb thing to me. New Addition is LDAP with SSL that sure going to grab attention of security savy techies, who were avoiding it on the basis of security risks.

    Things to try out with this beta are:

    1. Access via Help Desk > Settings
    2. Users who have an Active Directory will be able to use an SSL option for user portal login
    3. Users can choose an SSL Configuration or leave unchecked for a regular Active Directory Configuration

  • Hyper-V support: Virtualization is something everyone is talking about right now. Recession has taught IT Administrators and companies to work in most efficient manners and probably the biggest technology catching up been the Virtualization. Hyper-V support really adds the missing part of Spiceworks as Virtual is today’s real. 

    New support for Hyper-V in 5.0 means that you’ll be able to discover your Microsoft virtual machines servers. This is in addition to the ability 4.6 delivered to discover your VMware virtualization servers (ESX/ESXi & vSphere) and virtual machines.

    Things to try out with this beta are:

    1. After a scan of your Hyper-V device in 5.0, verify the VM’s tab displays when viewing the device.
    2. Verify the content on the VM tab is accurate.
    3. Verify the Hyper-V server displays in the Virtualization Hosts group
    4. Verify the Hyper-V VM’s display in the Virtual Machines group.

  • NAS support: This is brand new and advanced feature in compliance of escalating expectations from Spiceworks. Many were asking that if Spiceworks could report even individual workstation disk spaces from thousand machines on daily basis, then why not something real like Network Storage? Version 5.0 beginning support for Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices. By inspecting the Web-based Management User Interfaces (MUI) of your Buffalo and Netgear devices, Spiceworks can gather device and disk space details, and show any changes over time.

    Things to try out with this beta are:

    1. Create an HTTP account type on the network scan settings page. This is the same account name and password that you would normally use to access the NAS Web-based MUI.
    2. Scan your NAS device.
    3. Verify the Total Disk Usage Information on the Configuration tab.
    4. Report back to the community and please post the Manufacturer of your NAS. (We have tested this with a Buffalo NAS device but we are looking for users with Netgear to try this out.)

  • Backup/Configuration of network devices: Spiceworks been always amazing to me in terms of backup and restore, it has even options of automatic backup over scheduled times. Not a single incident happened with me, when any of the update asked me to restore back any configuration as it handles most of the thing automatically. But there are many other devices in your network that might not be that lucky and you need to backup them on regular basis like your switches, routers, audio cards .. sure this might be a huge plus on part of the upcoming release in some scenario, if implemented well. It not only allows you to configure and backup your network devices directly from within Spiceworks but also let you compare configuration changes with previous versions to help in troubleshooting network issues.

    Things to try out with this beta are:

    1. Create Telnet and Enable scan accounts for your network devices.
    2. After a network scan select a network device through the inventory and view the gathered configuration data from the device’s Configuration tab
    3. After a change has been made to the device’s configuration, run another network scan and verify the device’s Running Configuration is now different from its Startup configuration, this can be done by select the Changes option for any configuration listed.
    4. Select Restore for any configuration that has been gathered to apply that particular configuration to the network device.

  • SNMPv2c and SNMPv3 support: The beauty of the Spiceworks in best lies within its support to global technologies that doesn’t need a client to be installed on each machine to gather the info and the upcoming version going to add support for SNMPv2c and SNMPv3. You’ll now be able to see more network devices scanned into inventory.

    Things to try out with this beta are:

    1. Create an SNMPv2c or SNMPv3 account on the Network scan settings page.
    2. SNMPv2c supports a community string authentication.
    3. SNMPv3 default options ‘authPriv:md5:des:username’ or ‘authNoPriv:md5:username’. You replace the ‘username’ with the username you log into the device.
    4. Scan your device using the SNMPv2c or SNMPv3 account and confirm the device shows up in your inventory.


So, what’s you waiting for grab the beta and start with it and if you are new to Spiceworks, then could check my introduction article over it or check their official page. I repeat it, its kind of essential weapon for any person handling IT Infra at a better level.

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Author: Nitish Kumar

I love to write and raising voice, sharing thought and heated debate is a kind of passion for me. Jobwise I am just another Computer professional handling Infra and designing solutions for a big Indian Media house but I love to write, sketch, photography and a lot more.

5 thoughts on “Spiceworks 5.0 The whole new frontier of Everything IT”

  1. the authorization code does not work when connecting remote sites to the central server, I have tried over and over again. Is there a workaround or trick I’m not aware of?

  2. Thanks for one’s marvelous posting! I quite enjoyed reading it, you could be a great author.I will make certain to bookmark your blog and definitely will come back down the road. I want to encourage you to definitely continue your great job, have a nice afternoon!

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