If you’re toiling at a small to medium sized business, and you work with computer networks, whether inside or outside IT, you should check out Spiceworks. For the record, an SMB is defined as an organization with more than 10 but less than 100 employees for small, and from 101 to 999 for medium here in the U.S., but only up to 500 elsewhere in the world (mostly Europe). Spiceworks is a free network management, monitoring, and help desk environment that relies on financial support from technology and hardware vendors to bring cool tools and capabilities — and gosh, the Spiceworks environment suffers from a terrible embarassment of riches in that regard — to its one-million-plus registered users and adopters.
To give you an idea of what Spiceworks can do, here’s a high-level features list from the home page:
Suffice it to say that I’m learning to use Spiceworks to manage my network of 3 to 10 PCs, and that activity on the user communities indicates it’s being used in organizations with hundreds of PCs equally well (if not better, since I’m still a tyro). You should definitely check out this superlative package of network management capabilities, and expect to see regular coverage of its capabilities in future postings here and elsewhere. I’m also trying to twist the arms of management at the company, to persuade them that a certification program would be in everybody’s best interests.