Tally Systems comes back with a number of improvements to its inventory software. The package can provide a one-stop shop for data that can be tied into various helpdesk systems that work with the software.

Network managers will require a collection server at each site, harvesting inventory data which is then sent to a central inventory database running either SQL Server (7.0 or 2000) or Oracle 8.0 (or better).

We installed the product on our test server that had a fresh copy of Windows 2000 Advanced Server (SP 3). When running the installation we noticed a couple of severe error warnings but this did not seem to affect the running of the application.

The hardware requirements are not at all cumbersome, which meant it was flying when running an inventory. The company says this may be an issue with the OS not maintaining a dll file properly.

The console itself does not lend itself to clarity, and it took a while to figure out how to get our test machines on the network to carry out an inventory. The getting started guide (located on the disk and nested in a couple of folders) was hard to trawl through to find the relevant parts to get the whole thing up and running.

Once we worked out how to get started things became a lot easier. A hard copy of the guide is normally provided but due to time constraints of the review it was not available to us.

Taking an inventory of a client involves manually installing the client software on the target machine or setting up a logon script or system policy. There is no auto discovery and installation as seen on sonme other products in this test, but the company points out that it simply uses a different approach.

That aside, the client fed a lot of useful and accurate data into our collection server and we were able to drill-down a lot of information about our network. We particularly liked the web reports provided and felt these were particularly easy to configure.

We were impressed by the amount of data collected from both scanning the computer and user questionnaires. The product also included monthly recognition updates to keep the list of recognized applications up to date.

Overall, the inventory software was quick and accurate despite the console not being the most intuitive we have seen.

Product title
Product info
Name: TS.Census (Audit group test) Description: Price: £21 per PC (1,000 PCs)
Detailed data from clients and support for Linux and Unix clients. Light hardware requirements for server.
Console difficult to comprehend.
Worthwhile auditing package for mixed infrastructure environment.

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