In my last two posts, I introduced Softinventive Lab‘s Total Network Inventory (TNI), an easy-to-use inventory solution. Today, I will discuss TNI's reporting capabilities. The reporting functionality is probably the most important part of an inventory tool. Reports are not just for printing or exporting data, they allow you get an overview of your whole infrastructure.

Note: You can win a TNI license for an unlimited number of computers. More information is at the end of the article.

total-network-inventory-reportsTNI's inventory user interface is mostly for getting information about a specific computer. Thus, you have to switch to the reporting interface if you want to know more about all the assets in your network. TNI has two types of reports: printable reports and tabular reports.

Printable Reports ^

Printable reports generate lists that itemize one computer after the other with its properties. TNI supports full and brief printable reports. These two types don't differ with respect to the properties listed. Full reports just offer more details. For example, a full report would include the manufacturer of a CD drive, whereas the brief report only tells you the number of CD drives the computer has.

total-network-inventory-printable-reportsIt is possible to configure which inventory categories are to be included in the list. You just have to choose the categories in the category selection bar and then rebuild the report. For instance, if you want to generate a list of your computers with their system memory properties, it will only cost you two mouse clicks or so. This demonstrates that the reports are an integral part of TNI that helps you get a quick overview of your infrastructure.

Tabular Reports ^

Printable reports allow you to quickly retrieve specific properties of certain machines in your network. By contrast, tabular reports allow you to compare the properties of multiple machines. The columns are for the inventory properties and the rows for the computers.

TNI supports three tabular report types: Software reports, detailed reports, and custom reports. I already mentioned the software reports in my article about TNI's inventory features. Once you've entered the purchased licenses for each product with TNI's Software Accounting tool, you can use the software reports to get an overview of the used licenses.

total-network-inventory-tabular-detailed-report-partions

The detailed reports give you an overview of important inventory properties: Installed software, hard disk drives, removable drives, partitions and logical drives, network adapters, and printers. The installed software report is not for licensing but gives you a summary of application properties, such as version numbers, publishers, and install dates. Just to give you another example, the partition and logical drives report lists all computers with the capacities of their disks and their free space.

total-network-inventory-tabular-software-report

The detailed reports just cover inventory properties that are of interest for most scenarios. If you need more specific information, you can use TNI's custom reports. They allow you to create your own tabular reports that can contain all of the inventory properties that interest you.

Tabular reports can be exported to CSV files, so you can process them with any spreadsheet program. There are more export options for printable reports. All in all, TNI supports 14 different exports formats; among them are PDF, XML, HTML, and XLS.

The easy-to-use inventory and reporting system is TNI's strength. You don't have to consult its manual to use the tool. You only have to know how to operate a mouse. Furthermore, TNI collects all important software, hardware, and configuration properties of the Windows machines in your network. This makes it a complete inventory solution.

If you want the chance to win a Total Network Inventory license for an unlimited number of computers, worth $1695, please send an email with the subject line "TNI" to:

contests-at-4sysops-com

This contest closes August 27, 2009.

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