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I'm interested in any software, experience or guidelines listed that help to deal with listing installed services, their primary user (or business person that is responsible for this service), domain names, ip addresses, ports in your servers.

Servers are both Windows and Linux, so licenses are also good to track with all of this information.

Scale of the infrastructure in question - 20-50 servers.

Currently we have no better idea as to use Excel for it.

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I use Google Docs but it is no better than using Excel. Favorited and hope to get a good idea what others are using as well. There is some expensive software out there that does it, but since I am a (relatively) small scale shop it is mostly overkill. –  Dave Drager Jan 26 '10 at 14:23
    
This seems like that Better Mousetrap we're eternally in need of! –  Kara Marfia Jan 26 '10 at 15:02
    
What scale of infrastructure do you have? 20 servers or 2000? You might get more answers with a bit more info. –  iPaulo Jan 31 '10 at 3:24

4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I would recommend looking into Puppet/Facter or OCS Inventory NG.

Puppet

Puppet (which uses Facter), can be used to push out updates and configure nodes. It retrives information (or facts) about your nodes via Facter. Even though Puppet (via Facter) doesn't know who the primary user is, you can add facts (information) to your nodes that Facter will pick up on, and report back to the central server. It also includes a powerful Domain Specific Language written using Ruby, but very easy to learn even if you have no ruby experience. They have a great user group if you have any questions and are currently working on additional external software like Puppet Dashboard to make it easier to manage your infrastructure.

One downside of Puppet is that it only works on Linux machines currently. This can be a non-issue if you are only concerned with Linux machines.

Website: http://docs.reductivelabs.com/

OCS Invetory NG

OCS Invetory NG also does updates and can gather a lot of information off nodes. It is easy to use. The central server interface is accessed via a browser. From this interface you can see view your nodes, and get reports that contain detailed information on the hardware and software installed. This product works for both Linux and Windows environments.

Website: http://www.ocsinventory-ng.org/

Summary

Both products have a client/server architecture in which you have to install client software on each node for information to be polled and updates to be pushed out. Each product is open source, so licensing is not an issue.

Puppet is a very powerful tool. With its own DSL, you can for the most part do anything you need. It is scalable and has been used by many big companies such as Google and Redhat.

OCS Inventory NG is an easy to use tool that works both on Windows and Linux environments. It is accessed through a web interface in which you can have printable reports.

If you have a mixed infrastructure (Windows and Linux) you may want to go with OCS, but if you are using solely Linux machines, Puppet is the best tool out their to manage your infrastructure.

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Puppet would be overkill for inventory purposes which seems to be the main concern here. OCS is excellent though. –  iPaulo Jan 31 '10 at 3:20
    
OCS seems quite ok. Marked as the accepted answer just for the amount of time invested. –  edgars Feb 1 '10 at 12:34
    
FYI, Puppet now also supports Windows, and of course OS X. –  Martijn Heemels Apr 28 '12 at 15:24

Have you looked at www.spiceworks.com software? I'm in a Microsoft environment, so I don't know if it will also perform on Linux clients, but it does a good job of inventorying both hardware and software. It's also free. Microsoft System Center is also very helpful.

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Your likely not looking for split solutions BUT for the Microsoft Licenses I like to stay with the tool that they will use should you get audited and that is a version of MSIA. Microsoft Software Inventory Analyzer, http://www.microsoft.com/sam/en/us/msia.aspx

It however only audits Microsoft apps, but it can be referenced via another Excel spreadsheet.

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JDisc Discovery creates an inventory for Windows and many Unix operating systems (including Linux).

http://www.jdisc.com

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