Spiceworks 4.0 Beta Available
Spiceworks 4.0 beta is now available for download.
Spiceworks, currently at version of Spiceworks is 3.6, is management software for information technology networks and provides software, network and hardware inventory, network monitoring, asset reporting and helpdesk facilities. There is also a thriving community to call upon for help and support to problem. Spiceworks has come a long way since I first wrote about it in 2007.
I recently downloaded the v4.0 update, it didn’t take long at around 20MB in size, I then upgraded my version 3.6 to 4.0. After logging in to the new version, the most immediately obvious change is an interface reorganisation into a three section design which makes it feel less cluttered.
The first section has houses the menu bar and spice meter, the central column houses the customisable dashboard and the right hand side an information panel. At the bottom of the screen is a new icon toolbar with a quick summary, a network scan option, and icons for creating new tickets and new assets.
The dashboard content can be enhanced with widgets including Alerts, RSS Feeds, Various predefined newsfeeds, Security Bulletins, and Inventory Summaries. The Timeline widget is particularly useful as it shows changes on your network in the order they happened. The number of widgets can be expanded by using user created plug-ins (available from Settings, Plug-Ins).
Some of the new features in v4.0 include the Network Map, User Portal, How-tos and Whitepapers sections. The Network map has some novelty as it attempts to show graphically the relationships between the network and devices however it could really do with more screen real estate to get a reasonable view of things (perhaps the ability to undock it from the central panel might be useful). Two views are available, Tree View and Fan View but as you can see in the image below, even with a small number of devices, the image offered struggles and zooming in could be boosted by a mini-map overview to let you know where you are more easily.
The new User portal provides a useful feature – providing a customisable and limited view of Spiceworks which allows users to log their own support tickets, obtain support articles, and see a history of support calls.
The How-to section currently provides over 250 solutions to common problems experienced and solved by other Spiceworks community members. Articles can be commented on, rated, and you can even submit your own How-to articles to expand the usefulness of this new features.
The Whitepapers sections brings together articles from a large number of Vendors including Cisco, ScriptLogic, AMD, MessageLabs, Zimbra, and Sun Microsystems. Having these papers together saves a lot of time that would have been spent navigating each vendors own website.
Spiceworks 4.0 is still in beta testing so changes are likely prior to the public release. More information and the Spiceworks 4.0 beta is available at the Spiceworks Community site.