Spiceworks

Spiceworks Review
Active directory support ensures you can import all of your users, and easily scan your AD assets.


Valuable Features

The value is in the free IT help-desk and inventory. All IT departments, big or small, even single man, need to keep accurate records of their work, and Spiceworks polished interface and continued development allow you to setup up a server and scanning with minimal configuration.

Active directory support ensures you can import all of your users, and easily scan your AD assets. You also have a direct feed to the community right in your help desk. The Spiceworks community is one of, if not the best community of IT professionals. More times than I can count, I’ve looked to the community for solutions to problems, proof of concepts, projects ideas and advice.

Even after our organization stopped using Spiceworks, I still encourage my team to frequent the community and look there for ideas, solutions or even feedback.

Improvements to My Organization

Before Spiceworks, my current organization used Librum Helpdesk. The last revision for Librum was in 2002, so when we moved to Spiceworks, it was like coming out of the dark ages. Spiceworks allowed us to keep notes on all of our vendors.

These notes slowly turned into our knowledgebase (before Spiceworks developed their *actual* knowledge base). It also allowed us to get an active inventory of most of our assets and be able to add notes to them, such as identify their owner, purchase date and price as well as preventative maintenance frequencies.

Room for Improvement

The only real gripe I have would be the stability. See below.

Use of Solution

We used Spiceworks at our organization for about three to four years, and racked up about 10,000 tickets in the database.

Deployment Issues

We had no issues with the deployment.

Stability Issues

As our database grew in size, so did the frequency we had to restart the application on the server. Spiceworks had a memory leak that would eventually bog down the server it was on and force us to restart the service, which would take about 45 to 60+ minutes. Obviously these restarts never came at optimal times. By the time we were getting ready to retire Spiceworks, we were restarting the service twice a month.

Scalability Issues

There were no issues with the scalability.

Customer Service and Technical Support

The community is the only way to get support questions answered, as there is no “formal” support. However, the community has a wealth of knowledge, and Spiceworks Professionals do chime in as well.

Previous Solutions

Eventually we ended up going with BMC Track-It!, as some colleagues had experience with the product and we were looking for something with change management and ITILv3 compliance built in.

I still believe Spiceworks is a great help desk for a Level 1, 2 and even 3 IT department. (See Gartners “Maturity Levels of an Information Technology department.)

Initial Setup

The initial set-up is straightforward, however, customizing the program for your organizations needs will take some time. Things like ticket fields, definitions, custom fields in tickets and inventory. While this will take time, it’s also a reason why Spiceworks works so well, it’s very customizable. Start with the help-desk.

Implementation Team

The previous IT Manager handled most of the initial setup, but my advice would be to spin up a virtual machine and take a crack at it first. Stay as vanilla as possible. Try reproducing your current solution, or as close as you can get, starting with the help desk. Then move to inventory, user portal, etc. Then start utilizing features you didn’t have and implementing them. It is a very complex process migrating a help desk, so be sure to take your time and test.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

Licensing is free and pricing is non-existent, unless you want an ad-free experience. Paid support is not an option, only community support (which is pretty good).

Other Advice

Being a free product, it’s really hard to criticize, as it has many excellent features, such as inventory with asset scanning, purchase tracking and the ability to add plug-in’s created by the Spiceworks community that can add even more functionality. Ultimately, we stopped using Spiceworks, as a new IT Director came on board and we decided to move to a product that supported change management and could conform to ITIL v3 standards. Spiceworks is a great, free product. Any IT department that doesn't have a solid help-desk/knowledge-base solution would be amiss not to implement it.

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

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