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IT Inventory Tracking and Purchasing

Posted on 2010-11-29
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
We are looking for a free software that will allow us to do the following:

1. Track Network Assets/Inventory (computer, printers, cell phones(?), broadband cards, etc.)
2. Asset Allocation (transfer between users)
3. Purchasing Management

We have looked in to many different programs, but nothing that we need.  ManageEngine is too expensive and does too much (if a program can do such a thing).   We already use SpiceWorks as our helpdesk ticket system, but the purchasing module is terribly basic.  The purchasing part of Spiceworks does everything nicely, but there is no line item to the purchase, so we have to create a new purchase for each item.  Each purchase has to be approved...  If we purchase 20 computers and 20 monitors, we have to enter one purchase for each computer/monitor pair to allocate to a user.  It seems like we should be able to enter an entire P.O. as one purchase in Spiceworks.


Question by:Kris Montgomery
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LVL 25

Accepted Solution

madunix earned 1500 total points
ID: 34232839
look @ my list
Domain Technologie Control      
PC Inventory Advisor      
IT Asset Management    
NEWT Professionals      
Network Inventory Monitor    
Desk Center      
Network inventory Explorer      
Network Asset Tracker      
EMCO Network Inventory      
ADMLINK Network Inventory    
Total Network Inventory      
E-Z Audit      Propriety
ServiceDesk Plus    
Global Network Inventory      
AdRem Inventory    
DEKSI Network Inventory     
Belarc Advisor      
Steel Inventory    

Author Comment

by:Kris Montgomery
ID: 34232861
I will search through the list, but I can see some are not asset management AND purchasing managers.

Which one(s) do you use?


LVL 25

Assisted Solution

madunix earned 1500 total points
ID: 34232904
We're using Spiceworks' IT Desktop at a lot of our client sites as well as in our own office. We had been looking for something to do inventory auditing and trouble ticketing (this product has both), and
we came across IT Desktop by accident one day - totally looking for something else - and we've been using it ever since. It's got everything you're looking for, plus some -- Inventory, Monitoring,
Reporting, Tracking, Ticketing System, etc., but I would  check other products on the list to have the complete picture.

Author Closing Comment

by:Kris Montgomery
ID: 34239503
The list only has asset managers, but no purchase tracking.
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 37411698
Of course, the question then becomes "How do you measure network bandwidth?" There are several ways of measuring and monitoring the available bandwidth. You just have to decide which method is best for your company, based on your own individual budget and needs. For the purposes of this article, I will show you both a high-end and a low-end software product for monitoring network bandwidth.

A high-end solution
There are countless third-party products available for monitoring network bandwidth. One example of such a product is CyberGauge( I want to tell you up front that I have never actually used this particular product, so I am not necessarily recommending it. The reason I chose to write about it is that it contains a good basic feature set and is somewhat reasonably priced.

CyberGauge uses SNMP to monitor routers on your network. In doing so, it automatically collects and logs usage statistics. It then uses these statistics to compile daily, weekly and monthly average utilization reports. What this means is that the software is basically creating a baseline of what level of bandwidth consumption is normal for the various segments on your network.

If a user happens to call the help desk reporting poor performance, you can view the current bandwidth utilization of each segment and compare it against your baseline. More importantly, though, the software can be configured to send you an alert if a network device becomes unresponsive or if the bandwidth utilization exceeds a preset threshold. This allows you to be proactive in correcting bandwidth-related problems.

A low-end solution
When it comes to low-end products, I like a free utility from IXIA called Qcheck. The best way I can describe Qcheck is to say that it is like an advanced Ping test. The basic idea is that you install Qcheck( at two endpoints on the network. For example, you might install it on a workstation at the help desk and on a server in your data center.

If users begin to complain of slow performance, Qcheck can test the throughput between two endpoints. In addition to checking the throughput, Qcheck also tests for packet loss and can test a variety of different protocols. Qcheck can even perform tests to see whether the network can support streaming media, as used in videoconferences.

In addition to performing a packet loss and throughput test between two endpoints, Qcheck also performs a trace route. It shows you all of the hops between the two endpoints and reports the latency of each hop, along with the name of each hop. In case you are wondering, the trace route function does not require the endpoint software to be installed at the destination. This means that you can perform trace routes against resources that you don't own, such as Web-enabled applications hosted by someone else.

Which is better?
I've shown you an example of both a low-end and high-end application. So which is better? It really depends on your business needs and your budget. For example, CyberGauge's ability to automatically monitor your network's performance and send you alerts about sub-par performance is certainly desirable.

Quantum indeterminacy(,,sid9_gci341236,00.html) states that you can't measure a thing without affecting it to some degree. What this means is that the price of this constant monitoring is that some of your bandwidth will be consumed by the monitoring process. Qcheck consumes some bandwidth too, but it is an on-demand testing solution. Because it does not constantly monitor your network, there is far less of a drain on your network's bandwidth.

I personally tend to think that Qcheck is more flexible than CyberGauge. It allows you to test what you want, when you want. I also like the fact that Qcheck can use a variety of different protocols and that it supports tests for streaming media. Of course, Qcheck will never on its own proactively alert you to an impending problem. It's up to you to run the tests and interpret the results.

In the end, I don't think that one solution is necessarily better than the other. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. It's just a matter of which one best meets your needs. You should also keep in mind that there are dozens of other bandwidth-monitoring products available on the Internet.


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