In my last post, I explained how ClearApps Network Inventory Advisor 3.5 performs scans. Today, I will show you what you can do with the scan results.
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I already mentioned in my first article that Network Inventory Advisor has two tabs, the Inventory and the Reporting tab. The Inventory tab has four sub tabs: Summary, Software, Hardware, and Alerts. The contents of these sub tabs depend on the selected objects in the assets tree on the left hand side.
If you select the root node, the tabs will contain general information about the complete network. The Summary tab will then give you an overview of all of your assets. It displays the number of machines with their operating systems, the latest alerts, your different networks, and recently added assets. The Software tab lists all of the applications that Network Inventory Advisor has found in your network. You can assign the number of available licenses for each product. If the number of installed instances exceeds the available licenses, you will be informed about it in the Shortage column. The Hardware tab focuses on the most important hardware components, i.e. the CPU types, motherboards, the hard drives, the video adapters, and the peripherals. And finally, the Alerts tab has information about problematic machines in your network; for instance, about computers where Windows Update is disabled or in which no antivirus software is installed.
If you need information about a particular computer, you only have to select its icon in the assets pane on the left hand side. The inventory tabs will display all relevant information about this computer in a clearly arranged manner. What I like is that Network Inventory Advisor organizes the information in collapsible sections (see screenshot), which correspond to the inventory categories. For example, the Software sub tab has six sections: OS information, Hot fixes, Software, Program Files contents (directories and files), Autorun applications, and Security & Protection. The arrangement in sections will prevent you from being overwhelmed by all of the data and it lets you quickly find the information you are seeking. For instance, if you want to find out the last time a computer has been updated, you only have to expand the Security & Protection category.
Network Inventory Advisor creates a snapshot of the inventory database every time you scan your network for new assets. This allows you to access former inventories, which can be useful if you want to figure out what things have been changed in your network. For example, if you deployed an application, you can find out in this way how many machines have had the software successfully installed. You can also use this feature to determine how many computers have been added to your network during the last year.
The Inventory tab is mostly for looking for specific information; for example, whether you have sufficient licenses for the applications in your network, or what peripherals are installed on a particular machine. On the other hand, the reports tab will give you an overview of all of the assets in your network. Network Inventory Advisor comes with six pre-defined reports that allow you to extract the most common information from your inventory database. For example, you can create a inventory by brand or a list of computers with low disk space.
It is also possible to generate custom reports. Network Inventory Advisor supports two different custom report types: Detailed and Tabulator reports. The Detailed reports list one asset after the other and include all of the parameters you specify. The Tabulator reports allow you to generate a table where the rows represent the assets and the columns the configurable parameters. For both report types, you can define what asset groups or individual machines will be included. Reports can be exported in the following formats: HTML, CSV, MS Excel, TSV (tab separated values), MySQL, MS Access, MS SQL, and XML.
Network Inventory Advisor's strength is certainly its modern user interface. It not only looks good, it is also quite effective. Each feature and its information can be accessed with a minimum of clicks this way.
If you would like to have the chance to win a license for 100 nodes, worth $289, please send an email to
with the subject line ClearApps. The contest closes August 7, 2009.