SpiceWorld 2015 recap: Network monitor updates, concierge service debuts, and free cloud-based help desk

Another exciting installment written in the Spiceworks history book last Thursday with three big announcements: Network Monitor Linux support, the free concierge service, and the change to free for the cloud-based Help Desk.
Written by Ken Hess, Contributor

SpiceWorld 2015 Austin ended this year on three very high notes: additional features for the free Network Monitor, free cloud-based help desk application, and a free concierge service.

SpiceWorld by Spiceworks is always a fun time. I meet a lot of new people. I get to connect with key vendors. I get to rub shoulders with other tech journalists. But most of all, I get to connect to the happiest people in tech: Spiceheads. Seriously. Not only are the folks at Spiceworks a pleasure to work with, but their customers are as well. It's as if we're all on the same side and working toward a common goal.

Spiceworks helps everyone do a better job at his or her job. It also does it free of charge. And what's better than free? Well, getting paid is better, but free runs a close second and Spiceworks knows this. That's why its applications (Spiceworks and Network Monitor), its cloud-based help desk software, and its concierge service are all free.

Network Monitor*

Spiceworks introduced the original Network Monitor in December 2014. It didn't have Linux support in it -- only Windows. But now it has Linux support and you can enter your Linux systems into it for full real-time monitoring. You can see your systems at a glance to note any current problems in your environment. Of course you want to see all green, but in case you don't, you'll know why with a quick look.

Network Monitor now gives IT professionals the ability to actively monitor Linux-based server environments, invite colleagues to view and create custom dashboards, fine-tune alert settings, and better understand communication issues associated with offline devices.

You can track the following for Ubuntu, Debian, SUSE, Red Hat, CentOS, and Fedora:

  • Processes
  • CPU utilization
  • Disk I/O
  • Memory latency
  • Other system statistics and services

The Network Monitor also features:

  • Multiple user support - Each team member can have a custom dashboard
  • Custom threshold editing and alerting - Set a variety of custom alerts and thresholds for network switches, hard drives, network cards, memory, CPU, and other technologies.
  • Online device warnings - Alerts notify you when Network Monitor can't communicate with a device that's known to be online.

Cloud-Based Help Desk Application

The cloud-based help desk application is now free for businesses of any size with unlimited administrators, unlimited user seats, no hosting costs, and no storage costs. You also get unlimited updates, free support, and access to the four million strong user community.

"IT professionals have spoken loud and clear - they want great tools designed for them that just work," said Nicole Tanzillo, director of help desk product marketing at Spiceworks. "Tools must be easy to deploy and use and allow IT professionals to spend less time on mundane tasks and more time supporting their organizations."

The help desk application offers a rich feature set that includes:

  • Custom dashboards - Statistics such as average response times, top ticket creators, ticket categories, ticket types, and average time to close.
  • Ticket auto-assignment - Administrators can set up ticket auto-assignment to distribute tickets to technicians as they arrive in the queue. Automation options also include setting task due dates and establishing priority levels for certain ticket types.
  • User portals - Users can submit tickets via a customizable web page rather than through email.
  • Mobile app - iOS and Android app will be available soon. Currently in beta.

Spiceworks IT Concierge Service

The concierge service provides a single point of contact for IT professionals to get the help they need to manage any IT project. The service is available at any stage of a project.

"Many IT departments are resource constrained and may lack the technical expertise, time, or manpower they need to manage new and ongoing IT projects," said Jay Hallberg, Spiceworks' co-founder and CEO. "The IT ecosystem is a complex mix of technology OEMs, resellers, managed and cloud service providers, and technology integrators. The new service is there to help IT professionals navigate this complexity in a way that empowers them to make the best decision for their business and get their jobs done."

Spiceworks announced the associated partner program for the new concierge service that's designed for technology service providers of all sizes. Among the technology companies and service providers that have joined the partner program are: Rackspace, Box, Equinix, Okta, CenturyLink, GHA Technologies, Cumulus Global, Texas Systems Group, and Technology Business Solutions.

The two themes that permeate Spiceworld are fun and informative. I'd have to agree. Spiceworld is fun, but you also learn a lot from fellow Spiceheads, the Spiceworks folks, the vendors, and the speakers. Trust me, after a day of Spiceworld sessions, you'll be ready to dance the night away at the Austin Music Hall. This year's theme was Star Wars and featured dancing by Storm Troopers, Han Solo, and even Darth Vader. It's a nerd-safe environment that allows even the most awkward Spicehead a few hours of coolness. Next year's Spiceworld is scheduled for early November and will feature cooler temperatures, great sessions, and more surprises. See you there.

*My complete review of Spiceworks' Network Monitor will post in a few days.

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