Spiceworks 7.0 – A Beginners Guide to Getting Spicy

So recently my company had floated the bill for me to attend an all day, $200 Spiceworks Training course. While ALL of the information that was covered within the confines of the course could be found on Spiceworks.Com… I thought It might be nice to organize everything that was covered in one place and reduce the 100 or so pages of power point slides, lectures and demos into one elegant and simple to use guide. I’ve covered Network Monitoring with Nagios, ticketing systems with osTicket and a slew of other tools to help make your life easier – but Spiceworks integrates nearly all these features and more into one space. If you aren’t using Spiceworks yet, you are missing out.

This was no small task to try to document 8 hours of lecture and sift through all the fluff…but somehow I finally managed to finish this guide and cover most of the essentials. If you feel I missed an important aspect of what makes Spiceworks valuable in your environment, leave me a comment and I’ll add a section for it.That being said… half the fun of using Spiceworks is exploring and finding cool new things you can do with it! Stay spicy my friends 😀

 

Installing Spiceworks


 

Before we get started with Spiceworks – I highly recommend that you check out the Spiceworks Minimum system requirements, as there are a few caveats if you plan on running your Spiceworks server in a virtual environment!

1.) Download the latest version of Spiceworks @ Spiceworks.com

2.) When you first Run The Spiceworks.exe you will be notified on which port Spiceworks will run on. Spiceworks will attempt to run on Port 80 by default, however if it detects a conflict on your machine (Like ISS) – It will default to Port 9675.

Spiceworks_Install_PortNumber

In command prompt – Type ” netstat -o” to see what ports are currently in use

3.) Accept the Terms and Conditions….

4.) When Prompted to install NMap and WinPcap, I would suggest installing both components as they will improve your scan speed!

Spiceworks_Install_Nmap_WinPCap

5.) Click install, after a few moments you will be prompted to finish the install and Spiceworks will start automatically in your browser. It may take several minutes for Spiceworks to complete it’s initial setup.

Spiceworks_Install_HeatingUP
6.) You will need to create a Spiceworks account if you haven’t already…

Spiceworks_Install_CreateAccount
7.) After creating your account you will then be given the option on which Spiceworks feature you wish to setup first. Make your selection and let’s get started setting Spiceworks up!

 

Backup & Restore Your SpiceWorks Install


[learn_more caption=”Backup Spiceworks”]

I know you are probably anxious to start dissecting your brand new Spiceworks Install, but let’s take a minute to setup automatic backups of our system.

1.) Go to: Settings > Backup Configuration

2.) Setup a recurring backup schedule for Spiceworks and choose a Backup Location. Ideally your backup location would be pointed to a mapped network drive, NAS, Samba share, or cloud storage.
(After all what good is a backup that is stored locally?)

Spiceworks_Backup_Configuration

3.) Finally, run a backup manually by clicking “Backup Now” and make sure that Spiceworks is able to reach the chosen backup location. You can never be too careful when it comes to backing up all your hard work 😀

[/learn_more][learn_more caption=”Move & Restore A Spiceworks Install From Backup”]

Spiceworks has made this process extremely easy. So when you create a backup of your Spiceworks installation, what it is doing is creating a backup of your data & db directories  (“C:\program files\spiceworks\backup” by default). The process for moving a Spiceworks installation is nearly identical to the process for restoring a Spiceworks install, so the below instructions will work for either situation.

 

1.) If you are moving your installation, you will need to have a fresh install of Spiceworks installed on the target machine before beginning this process. If you are merely doing a restore you can start @ step 2.

2.) Make sure that all Spiceworks processes and services are halted. If you have Spiceworks Desktop in your system try – You can R-Click and exit to stop Spiceworks.

3.) Our Spiceworks backup will be in .zip format, so we need to unzip the desired backup file and copy the data & db folders. But before we copy our data & db folders into our Spiceworks install directory, we will want to either delete or rename the existing data & db folders.

4.) Finally, when we start Spiceworks again for the first time we will need to recreate our Backup configuration. The Spiceworks backup configuration is the only setting of our install that is expected to revert to it’s default state. Other than that – you should now have a fully functional, restored version of Spiceworks!

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Discover & Monitor My Devices


[learn_more caption=”Scanning Your Network”]

1.) Go to: Settings > Network Scan

2.) By default Spiceworks will detect the IP range that your Spiceworks server resides on. You can enter additional IP ranges within your domain now. You should then be prompted to enter any required Admin credentials…

Spiceworks_Scan_Add_Credentials_IPRange

3.) Next  we will want to establish a “Network Scan Schedule”.

Spiceworks_Scan_Schedule

4.) When you are done configuring your network scan settings, go ahead and hit Start Scan. Completion time for the scan will vary depending on how many available devices reside within that IP Range. Now is a good time to grab a beer/coffee and relax, this will take some time.

5.) Have you gotten that well deserved pint yet? No?! What are you still doing reading this, go get one! It’s step 5 for crying out loud, how can you expect to move onto step 6 without doing step 5?! Sheesh…

6.) When the scan is complete you will be presented with a summary screen and be given the chance to troubleshoot any Scan Errors.

Spiceworks_Scan_ResultsOuch… Worst.Scan.Ever? Better get started resolving some of those scan errors.

[/learn_more][learn_more caption=”Troubleshooting Scan Errors”]

If there were any errors during your network scan, Spiceworks will summarize each error encountered by Type & degree of difficulty to resolve. In this case, we are just going to be working with resolving a simple login error. For help tackling specific login error issues, check out the Spiceworks page on Network Scan Errors.

 

1.) Click on Fix Issues

Spiceworks_Scan_Results_TypeofErrors

2.)  Fairly straight forward here, Spiceworks will prompt you for the correct login credentials and give you chance to test them before moving on.

Spiceworks_Scan_Results_Fix_Credentials

3.) Once your credentials have been tested successfully, you should now see any devices with login errors show up under To Be Inventoried.

Spiceworks_Scan_Results_LoginSuccess

4.)  Next, just hit Re-Scan These and wait for the brief scan to finish. When it is done you will be presented with the below Scan Overview screen. From here you can continue to troubleshoot scan errors or scan another IP range.

Spiceworks_ScanOverview

 

[/learn_more][learn_more caption=”Managing Your Inventory”]

1.) Go to: Inventory > Choose  Devices, Software, People or Mobile Devices

2.) You will be greeted by the Devices Summary page. Each individual device that has been scanned will typically be placed into several different groups based on your AD structuring.

Spiceworks_Inventory_DevicesSummary3.) Next, we want to select a group and drill down to a single device to take a look at the different management tools and information available to us regarding each device.

Spiceworks_Inventory_SingleDevice

Alternatively, you can do a search for the device as well…
Spiceworks_Inventory_Search

4.) Once you have selected a device, If you click the wrench icon as shown in the Step 3 screenshot, you will notice there are a number of tools available to you to troubleshoot / interact with the chosen inventory item.

Spiceworks_Inventory_DevicesTools5.) There is a ton of information available to you after an item has been scanned and inventoried. Now is a good time to play with the above tools and poke around the various device information tabs and see what you can discover about the device!

 

***You will find an identical interface when working with Inventory > People.

[/learn_more][learn_more caption=”Server Monitoring & Alerts”]

1.) Go to: Settings > Monitors & Alerts

2.) From here you will be able to browse & edit all of the default Alerts in Spiceworks.

Spiceworks_Alerts_Edit

3.) You can also create custom alert by browsing to the end of the page and clicking:
“Add New Monitor”

4.) After you have configured your Alerts, you will want to take notice of the Notification options towards the bottom of the page. Here you will decide how notifications will be sent out when an alert state is triggered. You have 2 Options:

  • Delivery Through Spiceworks Servers: This is the default notification method, as it is the simplest to deploy. Selecting this Option will tell Spiceworks to send Alert notifications to the E-mail address of each Spiceworks admin in the Users section.
  • Delivery Through Help Desk E-mail: This notification method will leverage your own E-mail servers to transmit notifications. (Exchange /Pop / IMAP / SMTP)

Spiceworks_Alerts_HelpDeskEmail

[/learn_more]

 

Manage Mobile Devices


[learn_more caption=”Mobile Devices”]

1.) Go to: Inventory > Mobile Devices

2.) Scroll to the bottom of the Page and Click: Spiceworks_Mobile_GetStarted

3.) You will be asked to Enter a Company Name as shown…

Spiceworks_Mobile_CompanyName

4.) If successful you should be greated by the following prompt to begin enrolling your first device.
Spiceworks_Mobile_EnrollFirstDevice

5.) The first step to enroll a new mobile device is to select the user that will be associated with the mobile device. The easiest way to accomplish this is to have already setup active directory to sync with Spiceworks.
(This is covered under the User Accounts and ID integration section below)

Spiceworks_Mobile_EnrollFirstDevice_User

6.) Then you will be prompted to select the type of Mobile Device.

Spiceworks_Mobile_EnrollFirstDevice_DeviceType

7.) Next, You will be prompted with one last summary screen that will detail the next steps that the end user must take once they receive their request e-mail from Spiceworks.

Spiceworks_Mobile_EnrollFirstDevice_RequestEmail

8.) After the user has completed the enrollment instructions, you should see the device appear under Inventory > Mobile Devices. You should be greeted by a summary screen of sorts that will breakdown the stats that make up your mobile environment.

Spiceworks_Mobile_Summary

9.) Lastly, You can view all the enrolled mobile devices in your inventory at the bottom of this page. If you select a specific device, You can see detailed stats about the device and perform a number of administrative tasks on the device. However, most of these features are only available in the paid version of the Maas360 software.

Spiceworks_Mobile_Device_Summary

If you have further questions / concerns regarding MDM in Spiceworks – Check out this great FAQ section regarding Mobile Device Management by the Spiceworks Team @ http://community.spiceworks.com/topic/337186-what-s-what-with-mdm

[/learn_more]

 

Get My Help desk Running


[learn_more caption=”Creating The User Portal”]

1.) Go to: Helpdesk > User Portal

2.) Then click: Design My Portal

Spiceworks_UserPortal_Design

From here it is simply a matter of customizing the look and feel of your User Portal. While the design process is fairly intuitive, If you get hung up at all along the way – you can check out the great write up on Spiceworks.com.

[/learn_more][learn_more caption=”Customize New Ticket Form”]

1.) Go To: Helpdesk > Settings > Advanced & International Options

2.) Stop any network scans if any are in progress.

3.) Then under Standard Attributes – You can add custom fields or edit current ones.

Spiceworks_TicketForm_Add

[/learn_more][learn_more caption=”Using The Knowledge Base”]

1.) Go To: Helpdesk > KnowledgeBase

2.) From here you can Search from 3 different KB resources.

Spiceworks_KB_Home

3.) To create your own KB Articles, Simply click New Article then craft and save your KB entry.

Spiceworks_KB_ArticleDone

4.) After you have saved your article you can then decide on if you would like to share your information with your team or the entire Spiceworks community!

Spiceworks_KB_Share

5.) If you would like to have access to articles that others have written, you simply have to click the Bookmark button when you find an article that you would like to access via the ticketing system.

Spiceworks_KB_Bookmark

6.) When crafting a response to a users ticket, you have the option to Append KB. By selecting the relevant KB article, Spiceworks will automatically enter all the info of the chosen KB into the ticket.

Spiceworks_KB_AppendKB

 

[/learn_more]

User Accounts & AD Integration


[learn_more caption=”Enabling Active Directory Sync”]

1.) Go to: Settings > Active Directory Configuration

2.) Enter your AD server information, credentials and set a scanning frequency as shown.

Spiceworks_Active_Directory_Configuration

3.) By default Spiceworks will pull ALL users starting at the root level of AD, If you would like to limit the scope of it’s AD search you can click Additional Settings at the bottom of the AD configuration page and then set the “Base DN for LDAP search“.

Spiceworks_AD_AdditionalSettings

You can verify that AD is syncing properly by browsing to:
Inventory > People

[/learn_more][learn_more caption=”Setting Up Spiceworks Admins”]

1.) Go to: Settings > User Accounts

2.) Click Add, and set the appropriate level of access.

Spiceworks_Add_UserAccounts

[/learn_more]

Pulling It All Together


[learn_more caption=”Reporting”]

1.) Go to: Inventory > Reports

2.) From here you can choose from a number of pre-populated reports, or Create your own.
Spiceworks_Reports_Summary

3.) The reporting feature in Spiceworks is incredibly robust and easy to use. You simply fill in the New Report Form below with the desired criteria, columns and voila’ – you are the King of reporting 🙂

Spiceworks_Reports_NewReport

4.) For bonus points with the boss, You can craft your own SQL report or snag one from the Spiceworks community to enable a graphical display of your reporting data.
(This is only available from reports formatted in SQL & crafted specifically to display reported data in graph format)

Spiceworks_Reports_GraphReport

[/learn_more][learn_more caption=”Customize Your Dashboard!”]

By now you probably realize just how expansive and powerful Spiceworks really is. There are so many features and tools packed into every sqaure inch of  web real-estate it can take some time to navigate to every place you need to check in Spiceworks.  That’s where the Dashboard comes in, You can completely customize your dashboard to be relevant to what you care about!

1.) Click Add Content to add a widget to your dashboard.

Spiceworks_Dashboard_addcontent

2.) There are tons of plugins & widgets available from the Spiceworks Extensions Center to help you create a dashboard that makes your life easier!

[/learn_more]

 

Awesome Plugins

 

Intel Power Manager
Intel Power Manager can automatically shutdown and start any Wake on LAN enabled device at scheduled times throughout the week. It also graphs and tracks these savings via a dashboard widget.

Bandwidth Monitor
This Plugin will again provide a powerful widget to add to your dashboard that will breakdown usage by device. Now you can easily identify the top bandwidth bandits at a glance.

 

I would love to hear from other Spice-heads with your feedback on what I could do to improve this Guide or what some of your favorite widgets/plugins are! Spiceworks is capable of doing so many things, it would be almost impossible to cover everything – but let me know if I missed something important and I’ll make sure to add it 😀

 

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