SMB: Spiceworks offering up new net management freebie

Spiceworks recently made available a new version of its management software free for download for small-to- midsize customers looking to add help-desk and community capabilities into their daily monitoring of IT systems.

The start-up plans to unveil the first official generation of its management software. IT Desktop 1.0 software monitors desktops and other IP-based devices and collects inventory, application, patch and health data from the machines.

Company representatives say about 15,000 active users (managing a total of more than 500,000 devices) have signed on with IT Desktop, which requires little configuration to start and uses such open protocols as Secure Shell and Windows Management Instrumentation to collect data across devices. “That number represents customers, people that have downloaded and registered the software, not just unregistered downloads,” says Spiceworks CEO Scott Abel.

The bulk of the start-up’s revenue comes from the clickable ads featured in its IT Desktop console program. Users will see a list of clickable ads regarding the subject they are monitoring, though more than three-quarters of the screen will be devoted to the management program. For instance, if an IT manager is checking the status of a storage device, the links listed could point to data backup and recovery companies. When users click on the links, advertisers pay Spiceworks a fee.

IT managers putting Spiceworks’ IT Desktop to work monitoring their client machines say the technology-related ads on their management console screens aren’t much of a bother. Targeted for customers with up to 250 managed devices, IT Desktop fulfills an IT monitoring need without straining small business budgets.

IT Desktop 1.0 includes a new feature that allows IT managers to create trouble tickets. With this feature, IT managers can automatically attach the ticket to the appropriate hardware or software in their network and more easily track trouble-ticket creation and resolution.

Spiceworks competes with AdventNet, Alloy Software, Ipswitch and Solarwinds. IT Desktop 1.0 runs on Windows and discovers Windows, Unix, Linux and Mac OS X machines along with any other IP-addressable device.

QuickLink: 061810