Feeds

Tool time with Trevor: 'Organic' sysadmins' spice mush still pretty edible

When 'eat what's in front of you' just won't wash

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Are you absolutely sure it's plugged in?

It's been mentioned several times that Spiceworks is free; this is actually a lie, the Spiceworks is functionally a marketing expense required to sell you, the sysadmin, to vendors. Many people find the idea of an application littered with advertisements annoying. In this one rare case, I don't want the advertisements to go away. I am legitimately interested in most of what is being advertised at me when using Spiceworks. In truth, the number one frustration I have with Spiceworks are the limitations in vendor integration.

I've recently come off of a massive "learn all the things about Server 2012" project and am diving headlong into VMware's 5.1 offerings. I am 100 per cent sold on the concept of "single pane of glass" management. Microsoft on Microsoft with added Microsoft is an unbelievably impressive stack of products. You have to mortgage a small nation to afford it, but what this integrated stack can provide the affluent sysadmin sure is sexy.

By comparison, Spiceworks feels limited. There is this stack of products from alternative vendors that I use every day; other SMB/SME admins will have their own list. Most of them are even Spiceworks sponsors. In the coming revisions of Spiceworks, these need to see far deeper integration into the UI.

If I am looking up a system in the inventory list and that system has Teamviewer, then it should be offering me the ability to Teamviewer in to fix the problem. Right there from within the Spiceworks interface; RDP, VNC, LogMeIn, you name it. I should be able to run a resultant set of policy scan against any Windows box and see what the GPOs and local policies are doing to that PC, or see what state is being enforced on that system by its Puppet Master.

I'd love to have a major IM provider (read: Gtalk) brought into the loop. Or an offer of "live chat" through the Spiceworks end-user portal, with the conversation logged into the relevant ticket. The list goes on.

It's a trap!

When you deal with Microsoft, you eat whatever is put on the table in front of you, say "thank you" and make sure you say your prayers before bed time. There are no avenues of appeal for the the average Joe. Dissent is dealt with harshly; just ask Mary Jo Foley (skip to the last paragraph).

As a company, Spiceworks is the antithesis of this; they are built from the community up. That means that if I spot a bug or notice a UI flaw, have a feature request or think a given vendor should integrate more then getting it dealt with is a real world possibility. I don't have to be a large enterprise or possess the magic email address. I can be Joe Random; so long as I have a forum account, I can have my voice heard. That notion could get away from me rather quickly, turning into a time consuming hobby. It is more dangerous to me than most open source projects. I don't have the patience to be a truly hardcore programmer; I am not going to recode a buggy Wi-Fi driver.

I do have the skills to do QA testing and type up detailed bug reports, or play the schmooze game necessary to get vendors in the same room and agree to play nice. I am great at coming up with new features, or repurposing extant code in new ways. If I threw enough time at it, I could help shape the Spiceworks application according to my vision; a dangerously enticing idea.

The Spiceworks application does what it says on the tin. In most cases, it does it quite well; more importantly it's free. The hardest part is not making the application work; the hardest part is limiting myself to what it is today instead of dreaming about what it could be tomorrow. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
Don't worry about that cable, it's part of the config
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
SanDisk vows: We'll have a 16TB SSD WHOPPER by 2016
Flash WORM has a serious use for archived photos and videos
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.