I have been recently contacted by ClearApps and they provided me with a full software key for their software Network Inventory Advisor so I could give it a try, and review it on this blog.
ClearApps Network Inventory Advisor is an incredibly useful tool for system, administrators that require having an accurate and up to date inventory of all the software, hardware, operating systems etc… This could be for a variety of reasons, including hardware theft, unauthorised replacement of hardware, old or unauthorised software installation and so on…
I downloaded the software in a couple of seconds, since the software is only 6.88 MB. Installation was very quick and clear wizard style (Next, Next, Next) type. I did notice that during file copying, a couple of error prompts popped up saying “Invalid File Handle” Once theses were ok’ed, the installation continued on as usual.
Once the installation was done, I was presented with a first time load screen that asks you to either insert the registration code, or a button to evaluate the software. After that, you will be presented with a wizard, that will guide you though some customisability options. These custom settings are basically there to make the software run better, depending on the size of your network. It will then run a scan to detect all the computers on your network and run the first inventory check though the entire network. Of course one must point out at this stage, that this could take a bit long on large network since the software has to connect to each computer and download the data. On my small home network, this was done in less than a minute. One should also point out that this scanner doesn’t need an agent software to run on each machine, that’s a really great!
The software “Ribbon” interface should be familiar to all those who already used Microsoft Office 2007 or tested out some beta versions or Windows 7. All the toolbar options are in plan sight and everything is very self explanatory.
When the software finished running the network auditing, it presented me with an incredible amount of information. The information was split into 4 different main categories, including a Summary tab, Software + Hardware tabs and “Other”.
Starting with the summary section, this gives a good overview of the main hardware and software items and also an alerts section.
The software section starts with an incredibly detailed operating system section, and then moves on to other important items like operating system hot fixes, a list of all installed software and security and protection software. You can also have an overview of the licences in use on the network, so you can track the keys that are being used, and re- use the unused keys.
This section was one of the most important ones for me as it gives an incredible amount of detail on all the computer specifications like; models, manufacturers, CPU types & speeds, hard drives, network adapters, motherboards, video, audio, memory, peripherals and loads more! This is incredibly useful for companies who want to take a snapshot of the original network, and periodically check again if there have been any changes. For me this section was particularly useful to have a central store of all the specifications of the computers on my network. Therefore if a particular machine fails for one reason or another, from my main database I can obtain the specifications of any part, and replace with an appropriate compatible part.
The “other” tab, also gives you access to the shared resources, processes, services, plus local and domain user accounts.
All the details in the sections above, can be either viewed as an entire network summary format, or you can simply click on one individual computer and view it’s summary.
Other features worth mentioning are:
- Scheduled reports allow you to setup an automatic schedule to run various tests according to your preferred schedule. This means that you can practically set this once and forget it. – Obviously there is still the need to monitor the actual final reports to see if there is anything to take care of.
- Exporting features – you can print or export the reports in various formats, including xml, html, sql and more.
- There are also a bunch of pre-set reports where you can scan your network for computers with low disk space, hardisk usage through the entire network, discovering users with no antivirus. And much more…
- The software is also available in multiple languages including; Spanish, Chinese, German, French, Japanese and Russian.
I really suggest you to give this software a try. If you are in the market for such software, or if your managers request ad-hoc reports out of the blue and they need them really quickly… this could be a perfect tool where it can save you an incredible amount of time. It costs only $89 for a 25 node network, and the prices get lower for larger networks.
Click here to visit ClearApps and download a free trial.