Spiceworks Review

Has good policy enforcement but the network mapping could be improved

What is our primary use case?

My primary use is for documentation and monitoring the vital services.

My biggest need for using a network monitoring system was to track activity and find out what I've actually got out in the universe. When I came here, I had absolutely no documentation on this network whatsoever, and that's an 875 node network.

What is most valuable?

I have found a couple of features to be valuable. One, it shows the users that are currently logged in, which is not something that Active Directory by default will ever let you know upfront. It's something you have to craft a script for and it's kind of a pain to have to do it every time. If I just want to quickly look and see who's logged on to their machine Spiceworks will tell me that. That's a very accurate and easy way to find software inventory of every machine that's out there. I do have a Microsoft Configuration Manager Server here and that will work okay. But Spiceworks definitely gives a much broader overview. The SCCN machine on the South Room Inventory and Compliance might tell me some of the other software that's on. For example, I've already caught several world-class operators here in our work environment putting the software on their machines that should not have and it was documented and they were disciplined because of it. I would say policy enforcement is definitely one of the bigger features overall that this solution gives.

What needs improvement?

The network mapping could be improved. Putting together an actual, bonafide network map would be really nice. I've been messing around with their Google Map snap-in that they've got and that's great if I've got a massively corporate Enterprise Scale Network with branch locations in 50 different cities around the U.S., but I don't. I have an 875 square-mile Indian reservation that I have to keep an eye on. And the mapping that they've got there doesn't even come close to being usable to me. 

So if they could implement a little bit better GIS-based mapping, I could take a Google Earth image and zoom right down here on my 875 square miles. And I could show the links, I could show the nodes, I could show the switches, routers, et cetera. And everything else in between. But I don't have any tool that is capable of mapping the way that I need to map this network.

It doesn't have some of the integrations I'd like to see, some of the ticket generation alerts, things of that nature. It does alerts, but it tells us when stuff is down and when it comes back.

I would also say that a faster network search engine would be good. When it does device discovery, that really takes a long time. It took me two weeks to get everything that I imagine is in the network onto that. Because, like I said, I have no documentation into this network and what I've been able to find is I've got 1,375 DHCP leases out there. Half of those are desktop phones, another 200 or so are probably cellular phones or WiFi devices that connect up. And then I have about 575 actual devices out on the network and those are things that Spiceworks has all been able to tell me. But the time it took to do that discovery was quite lengthy. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Spiceworks for about a year and a half.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Overall, the stability is fairly decent. It's pretty good. I've got some reservations about how any resource you click on goes out to the Cloud. I could also do with the UI advertising being a little less. I've inadvertently clicked on several of the ads thinking it was going to show me some value-added feature within Spiceworks and I get bounced off to some other place, but that's not what I want. And I am a bit emotionally triggered and pissed off because of it because it's wasting my time and it's not what I want.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

As the Interim Director of Information Technology, I am the only one using it.

I've got an IT Department of 10 technicians and I've had a couple of folks look at it, but I think I'm probably its biggest user.

How are customer service and technical support?

I've never used support.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was a bit time consuming, but it was fairly straightforward. It was about 90 minutes to run through the setup on just that product alone. That's not including the time it took to stand up the server, load the OS, get the drivers and updates and all that done. It took 90 minutes to load just Spiceworks.

What other advice do I have?

It's a pretty good product. I like it. It's given me some fairly valuable information that I've needed on a couple of occasions that no other product would present to me.

On a scale of one to ten, I'd probably give it a seven, based on the fact that it does give me some information that nothing else has. But the pain points like the length of duration for the discovery, the GIS mapping, the ability to map is kind of lackluster takes the three points away.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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