iInventory is the latest version of LANauditor, which was launched back in 1990. This package can audit not only Windows-based PCs but also Macs and Linux systems. However the console that runs the whole show must be installed under Windows. The vendors recommend installing the software on a workstation instead of a server as it is claimed it is more secure, offers greater data throughput and clients do not need to access any part of the main program or data.
Installing is very easy as it is a relatively small program. The console when fired up is displayed in an Office XP- interface. There are three parts to the console - the menu and tool bar, the report grid where results of a query are run, and tree window where the fine detail is displayed.
On first start the application goes into self-audit mode and audits the machine it is installed on. This was quite quick and the results were displayed in an Access 2000 database. This is meant for demonstration purposes and does not leave an asset tag file on the machine. A full audit is required for that.
Getting PCs audited was no hassle and a user questionnaire can be included to gather information the program cannot, such as physical location or sticker numbers.
Setting up agents to run on Linux and Macs was an altogether different proposition. It involved running an internet applet to generate an agent for Macs and Linux. We thought this was slightly strange and could have easily been incorporated within the main program.
Once the test machines were audited and information gathered the data was imported into the main console. From there queries can be run against the database. The queries on the tool bar are weighted towards the Windows world, accounting for half of them. However, new queries can easily be set up.
The inventory is kept as an Access database. Our main concern about this is its scalability as Access is not renowned for its ability to run enterprise databases. Also once again there is no option to sniff out machines and audit them; a logon script is required for remote audits, so the process could take weeks rather than days. The next version in the pipeline will include compatibility for SQL Server, which will resolve the scalability issue.