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How Do You Keep an up-to-Date Inventory of Your Server Hardware?

Level 12

We know there are many organizations out there who do no asset inventory at all, maybe short of slapping an organizational serial number tag on the notebook and noting where it went.


But think about the next time you have to replace legacy systems. For example, say you need to replace highly inefficient power supplies that are drawing hundreds of megawatts of power. With new systems, you could achieve 10x the capacity but draw only a quarter of the power load. This could potentially be a self-funding project just in the electrical and cooling savings alone! But not so fast, says your budget approver. Without proper inventory of those legacy systems, alongside your hardware warranty data, it’s near impossible to make a tangible case to your budget approver.


OK, so hopefully your systems have energy-efficient power supplies but you get the point: server and IT asset management is a must. It provides you the means to achieve complete visibility into your infrastructure inventory, helping you gain an in-depth understanding of:

  • Where servers and other hardware exist
  • Where components reside
  • How they are used
  • What they cost
  • When they were added to the inventory
  • Is there an expiry date for warranties and upgrades
  • How they impact IT and business services


Having this level of visibility into server performance helps SysAdmins improve infrastructure efficiency and performance, doing year-end budgeting, show how existing server hardware assets yielded in a strong ROI, or planning and forecasting. That conversation about budgeting for that next hardware upgrade just got a lot easier.


But let’s say you’re one of the few organizations that has an extensive Excel worksheet that captures all relevant information as the system is first unboxed. You’re not encountering any pain points so far, but no doubt, they’re surely to be on the way.


In the beginning, it’s a cheap and straightforward answer to having visibility into your inventory. But suddenly, more people are hired, or you’re implementing cloud-based services, or department ‘X’ wants to upgrade/replace their legacy business application; all of this requires additional equipment or the upgrade/replacement of existing equipment. As your IT organization grows, your spreadsheet exponentially grows into a big, hairy mess of manual tracking, taking more and more effort to maintain and falling further and further down your list of priorities.


So we want to know, where you do fall in the spectrum of asset management? At what point is something like a tool for automated asset management warranted? And when does a simple spreadsheet do the trick? And at what point is that spreadsheet doomed to inefficiency?

Level 8

This is great..

We use the Microsoft Sharepoint 2013 (the free one) to keep hardware inventory up-to-date ( try to)

following are the fields we use ::

Server Name
Department Owner: App/Tech/Web/DB/Support/IT Tools
Server Contact
Location : DataCenter Location
Notes  : Description of the server
Status  : In Service/Archive/Request/Draft/
Operation System
External Storage
Host Server (If Virtual)
Service tag
Warranty Info
Environment : Test/Dev/QA/Demo/Prod

Level 13

My group is actively looking for a solution. Besides location, MAC addresses, in-service dates, we also need to be able to add a changelog and free form updates, e.g. maintenance, updates and upgrades performed, "the server had a BSOD today", and be able to quickly look these up. Did the IP addresses change? When, why, by whom, and what does the comment say?

If we move a NIC, a GPU or some other component from one server to another, could the inventory system let us keep track of it without too much hassle?

What do people use for this? Are there any off-the-shelf solutions?