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What's so great about Spiceworks?

Open-source IT management suite Spiceworks engenders fierce loyalty.

By , Network World
April 25, 2011 06:00 AM ET

Network World - Spiceworks users are a loyal bunch, judging by their raves about the open-source IT management software.

When we asked IT pros to write in and tell Network World about their favorite enterprise IT products, the Spiceworks user community responded in droves. (See the full recap of IT pros’ favorite products here.) We limited the main product roundup to one rave per product, but it seemed a shame not to share all the praise for Spiceworks’ features, cost (free!) and community support.

FAVE RAVES: 22 top picks from IT pros

Here’s just a sample of what Spiceworks users had to say:

“It's without a doubt the most versatile SMB systems management tools I have every used, with an incredible community behind it,” says Joseph Foran, director of IT at FSW Inc., a social service agency in Bridgeport, Conn.

Full-featured systems management tools were too expensive for the nonprofit, so Foran got by with a hodgepodge of different management tools until he found Spiceworks.

“About the only things it doesn't do are patch management (coming soon via a partnership with Shavlik) and software deployment -- it tracks inventory, scans health, provides alerts, checks toner, and keeps a tidy helpdesk with tracking and vendor management,” Foran says.

“The short answer for why I like it is that it is free and it works -- you don't usually get both at the same time,” says Dana Millaway, district technology coordinator for Holdingford Public Schools in Holdingford, Minn. “The software is intuitive but powerful. The programmers listen to the users. The community is friendly, professional and helpful -- another rare combination.”

MORE FAVES: Finger pointing? These products get IT off the hook

Steven Dally was dreading doing a network inventory until he found Spiceworks. “It does a superior job gathering network and system information into one place; it gathered information about my systems that I didn’t even know that I wanted!” says Dally, network/systems administrator at Little River Wetlands Project. “I’ve gotten it to the point where I don’t have my e-mail box clogged with user issues, requests and complaints, and I have a comprehensive change management log that helps me keep track of what’s been changed and when for troubleshooting purposes. Oh, and did I mention it’s completely, and 100% F-R-E-E? At that price point, I’m game.”

“This is an extremely comprehensive IT systems monitoring and management tool which puts a lot of the power and capability of enterprise class systems into the hands of every small business,” says Charles Kokoska, CIO at Joe Tahan’s Furniture Galleries in New York.

“Given the economic downturn of the last few years, my employer and most other small businesses I know of have had to stretch every last penny of their IT budget to the max. This has resulted in a substantial increase in maintenance and support efforts to keep older systems and software running longer with minimal downtime but far fewer resources to accomplish the goal,” Kokoska says. “There was no budget for a network management or improved help desk system to help us. Spiceworks was FREE, and has not only enabled us to meet our goal but gave us additional capabilities we did not expect!”

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