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What is NIS - Network Computer Hardware Inventory Software

NIS - Network Computer Hardware Inventory software is a LAN & server based software solution for small and large businesses wanting to automate the OS less computer hardware inventory. This software is best suited to all type of businesses such as Computer Recycling companies, enterprise and corporate organization, computer warehouses, computer import and export businesses, manufacturers and etc,.

Any business or individual interested in automating computer inventory and reporting should try this software.

Automated PC Computer Hardware Inventory Software PXE

The NIS solution consists of a server machine, network switch(s) in isolation and "PXE boot enabled workstations" the inventory items, PXE boot enabled workstations can be desktops, servers and laptops. NIS Release 2.0 is fully automated zero touch and zero configruation system and is out of the box ready to use solution. No configuration is required. Simply plug the system together via network and its ready to be used.

Why NIS - Network Computer Hardware Inventory Software was created.

Global software market currently lacks the availability of such software, that can automate the inventory for OS less and hard disk drive less computer / laptop remotely via network. Automated inventory and printing of self adhesive label was a distant dream. We have seen companies either performing inventory tasks manually by accessing system BIOS and taking notes and then manually designing and printing barcode labels, creating inventory either using very complicated manual software or using Microsoft Excel.

The manual process of creating inventory is prone to mistakes and errors, time consuming and not affective at all. Therefore we decided to build such a software that can address these issues. We have spent approximately 365 days of hardwork to create this software and are happy to announce its availability.

Key Features

Automation - user should not touch the keyboard or a mouse to use this solution, other than boot workstations via network.
Friendly GUI - A web based Graphical User Interface, can be accessed via any browser, IOS and Android devices.

Database - NIS solution is database driven, all data collected from each inventory item is automatically stored in a central database server, that can be further integrated with third party ERP or your existing inventory management software via API calls.

Data Reporting - Creates several reports, such as comprehensive reports, summary reports, audit reports, batch reports for inventories.

Audit Report - Automatically creates an audit report for each computer / laptop that contains detailed hardware component details.

Inventory Barcode Labels - 6 types of different sizes self-adhesive thermal stickers / barcode labels are automatically generated and printed upon successful inventory of an item, that can be attached to the inventory item (desktop / laptop). The sticker / label contains 2D barcode, serial number, HDD, Processor, mainboard, RAM and very useful other information.

Post-Inventory On-Demand Barcode Labels Printing - A feature to allow you to reprint already inventorized item's barcode label from GUI without attaching the system to network and without performing PXE re-inventory. This feature lets you reprint pre-selected size and design of barcode label that can be reattached to the inventory item.

ZPL / EPL Printing Support - All ZPL compatible printers such as Zebra, UPS, Citizen and others are supported for barcode label printing. You don't have to install any drivers, ZPL printers are supported as plug and play, and your printer will work out of the box as long as it has usb port. Printers with serial ports are no longer support with NIS. Make sure your ZPL printer is reset to factory defaults.

Pre-Grading of Inventory Items - NIS allows you to pre-select the grading of inventory items. Some companies may prefer to grade slightly scratched systems as "Grade B", before you begin inventorizing you can select this option to mark some items are Grade, A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H from GUI.

NIS Capacity - NIS solution is capable of inventorizing upto 50,000 systems (desktops / laptops / server) concurrently. However, the real capacity is much more than quoted figure. We have estimated that the solution should be able to handle upto 50,000 easily depending on system resources and network speed. Inventory items in the database are supported upto 1,00,000,000.

API and Third Party Integration - API - API and Integration with third party is possible and it is only availble on demand, if you wish to explore the option to integrate NIS with your existing software solution please contact the author for more information.

Application Customization - If you want to introduce more features or wanting the application to do more and the way you want, this is absolutely possible and can be achieved by customizing the application according to your needs. Please contact us and we will look into your needs.

Free version vs Paid version - Free version is limited to 50 inventory items (50 laptops / desktops / servers), after this limited is reached software will cease to function and you will no longer be able to use the software or access the GUI. However, paid version allows you to have unlimited number of inventory items. Paid version will work life time regardless number of inventory items.

Hardware Component Reporting - NIS automatically collects large amount of data from each inventory item (workstation / desktop / laptop / server). Following component data is collected and stored in the database.

  • Item manufacturer (Example Dell, HP, Lenovo)
  • Category (Example Desktop / Laptop / Server)
  • Model
  • Item Serial Number
  • Motherboard Serial Number
  • Processor Manufacturer
  • Processor Type
  • Processor Family
  • Processor Cores
  • Processor Cores Enabled
  • Processor Threads
  • Processor External Clock
  • Processor Maximum over-clocked speed
  • Processor Optimum speed
  • Processor Socket Type
  • Processor Characteristics (such as 32bit / 64bit compatible and etc)
  • Processor Cache
  • Processor ID
  • Processor Voltages
  • Processor Serial Number
  • Processor Tag
  • Processor Replacement Part Number
  • BIOS Manufacturer
  • BIOS Version
  • Bios Release Date
  • Ram Maximum supported
  • Ram Slots availability
  • Ram Installed
  • Ram Type (DDR/DDR2/DDR3)
  • On-board integrated device 1 (for example VGA display card)
  • On-board integrated device 2 (for example Audio AC97 controller)
  • On-board integrated device 3 (for example Wireless Network card)
  • On-board integrated device 4 (for example Ethernet network controller)
  • On-board integrated device 5 (for example 4G/3G GSM UMTS HSPA data card)
  • Port connector 1 (for example audio port)
  • Port connector 2 (for example Network port)
  • Port connector 3 (for example Parallel Port)
  • Port connector 4 (for example USB port)
  • Port connector 5 (for example Serial Port)
  • Port connector 6 (for example Network RJ45 Port)
  • Port connector 7 (for example Video VGA port)
  • Port connector 8 (for example HDMI port)
  • Storage Controller 1 (for example Intel Corporation 82Q35 Express PT IDER Controller rev 02)
  • Storage Controller 2 (for example Intel Corporation 82801IRIOIH ICH9RDODH 4 port SATA Controller rev 02)
  • Hard Disk Drive 1
  • Hard Disk Drive 2
  • Hard Disk Drive 3
  • Hard Disk Drive 4
  • CD / DVD Drive
  • Display Adapter
  • Network Adapter
  • Wireless Network Adapter (For example Centrino Advanced-N 6205 [Taylor Peak)
  • Multimedia Adapter (for example 82801I ICH9 Family HD Audio Controller)
  • Webcam
  • Grade of Item (For example A Grade, B Grade, C grade, D, E, F, G, H)
  • System UUID
  • Asset Tag
  • Power on BIOS Password status
  • Keyboard BIOS Password status
  • Admin BIOS Password status
  • Front Panel Reset button
  • and so much more

Limitation

A mandatory requirement for the automated inventory to work correctly is to "must have a PXE boot enabled network adapter in inventory machine (server / laptop / desktop).

Since last 16 years almost all laptops / desktops and servers are shipped with ethernet network adapter that has PXE / network boot option. However, you may have to enable this option in the BIOS of the laptop / desktop / server inventory item.

For some reasons, if your computer / inventory item does not have PXE boot option, you may contact the author to obtain a USB stick that will give you flexibility of PXE boot via your non pxe supported network cards. With PXE usb stick you boot from USB flash drive which then sends signal via your network card and boots via network.

How NIS - Network Computer Inventory Hardware solution works.

NIS - Network Computer Hardware Inventory software can be downloaded from sourceforge download section and can be burnt on a blank DVD disc. Which then should be installed on a computer "that computer may be called NIS server".
Once NIS server is installed it is then connected to a network switch and a ZPL compatible USB printer such as Citizen CL-S521.

You can attach as many inventory items (desktops / laptops / servers) to the network, boot each inventory item from network via PXE, please refer to system's manufacturer guide to boot from network. Once each system is booted via the network, you will see on the workstation screen all the component details and a serial number of the computer, at the bottom a count down of 300 seconds has began after which the computer will automatically shutdown. At this point a self adhesive thermal lable should automatically be printed. That can be attached to the inventory item.

See below network diagram of NIS solution.

Network Inventory Software network diagram

See below the inventory item (server / desktop / laptop) screen showing successful inventory components and information.

Inventory Item (Server / Desktop / Laptop) screen at the time of auto inventory

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Also see below Citizen CL-S521 ZPL printer has automatically printed the thermal label.

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

ZPL Printer thermal label for Network Inventory Software

 

As you can see above, we have just booted the inventory item via PXE - Network boot. We have not touched anything else other than pxe network boot and NIS software has automatically captured all hardware component information, printed labels and stored all collected information in a central database.

NIS -Server- Installation

NIS server should have following components and pre-requisites for installation.

Minimum System Requiredments for NIS Server / Pre-requisites

  • Core 2 Duo Processor
  • 2.0 Ghz Processor Speed
  • DVD Rom Drive
  • 2GB RAM
  • 40GB HDD
  • Integrated or PCI Network Card
  • Keyboard
  • Monitor Display Screen

Minimum system requirements for Inventory Items (Workstations / Desktops / Servers / Laptops)

  • Ethernet Network Card with PXE boot option
  • 128MB RAM

Minimum Network Equipment

  • Unmanaged and Isolated Network Gigabit switch.
  • Atleast spare 2 Gigabit ports to connect server and a inventory item workstation
  • 2 x RJ45 UTP Cat 5 or 6 Ethernet cables

Management Console / Workstation

Management console is a machine that could be a laptop or a desktop with Microsoft windows installed. You will be using this machine to access the GUI "User Interface" of NIS Server - Network Computer Hardware Inventory Software, reports and to view the progress, status, print reports and barcode labels.

• Pentium 4, 1.0 Ghz Processor
• 1GB RAM
• Ethernet Network 10/100/1000 Mbps Port
• Static IP: 192.168.1.252 subnet: 255.255.0.0

Server Installation

Prior to installation make sure you have a server pc ready for installation, please check the pre-requisite for the server in previous section.

In order to begin installation, download the latest copy of software in ISO format from following location.

https://sourceforge.net/projects/nis-network-inventory-software/files/latest/download?source=files

Step 1.
Burn the downloaded ISO to a blank DVD disk.

Step 2.
On the installation server PC, change the boot order to first boot from DVD/CD Drive.

Step 3.
Boot the installation server PC from the DVD Drive.

You will come to see following screen.

Network PXE PC Computer Laptop Server Hardware Inventory Software 

Important Note: type “nuke” and press Enter key on the keyboard

 

Follow the on screen instructions and continue to install the software, once completed reboot your server or Power Off the server and reboot again.

 

Once the server has been successfully installed, type Exit and hit return / enter key.

Reboot your system by resetting the power, or hard reset the system. Once system reboots your will see following message on the screen.

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Once you see above screen and login prompt, that means you have successfully installed the NIS software. You do not need to know the NIS server login credentials. You can manage everything from web GUI interface.

 

You should be able to access the server’s web GUI interface.

 

Note: Please make sure your management console laptop / desktop where you are going to access the server’s GUI is configured with IP address: 192.168.1.252 subnet: 255.255.0.0, also please ensure your management desktop / notebook network PXE boot option is disabled; otherwise NIS may record your management console as a inventory item and automatically prints the barcode lable. To avoid this please disable the PXE / network boot of your management console system.

 

Graphical User Interface (GUI) NIS - Network Computer Hardware Inventory

 

Access the GUI at following URL http://192.168.1.253

 

Below you can see the main menu of the automated NIS - Network Computer Hardware Inventory software.

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

 

As you can see above there are number of options available in the main menu.

 

You can now start the inventory by clicking - START INVENTORY button. The next screen would look like below image.

PXE Boot Hardware Inventory Start

Kindly fill all the information in the section shown above and click save button to proceed.
Next window will show you a success message, close the dialog box and now you can begin physical part of the automated computer hardware inventory.

 

Start Automated Inventory

 

In order to begin automated computer / laptop / server hardware inventory, please ensure your inventory item has network cards and pxe boot option is enabled. Also ensure the NIS server has already booted up and is connected to the network switch. ZPL printer is also connected to the NIS server using USB cable and a correct self adhesive thermal labels roll is installed in the printer.

 

Note: Some workstations / inventory items needs a key pressed to show the boot option (for example Dell Desktops when powered on pressing F12 key presents the boot option, this is where you can select to boot from network). Please refer to manufacturer's instructions to access the network boot option.

 

Now boot the workstations inventory items one by one into PXE.

 

You may see following screen during the boot process.

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

After the above screen display you will see following message. A countdown of 300 seconds will begin after this the inventory item will be automatically shutdown to save energy. During the message a serial number will be shown on the screen which you can match with the printed label serial number to quickly identify the inventory item.

 

Note: If you are booting several hundred workstations via NIS solution, expect same number of labels to be printed at the same time, unless you have disabled the label printing in GUI main menu. It may become difficult to identify the right label for the right inventory item. See this example below " the serial number on the screen helps you identify the correct label for this inventory item"

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

 

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

At the same time  a self adhesive label will automatically print, see below an illustration.

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

 

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Once you see the labels have been printed and the success message appears on the inventory item's screen stating that the information has been stored in the database. You can safely shutdown the inventory item system and remove it from network and process the next inventory item.

 

Each inventory item takes approximately less than 1 minute to complete. You may connect upto 20,000 inventory items concurrently to the NIS network and the system will process all concurrently and automatically.

 

NIS Hardware Inventory Data Reporting

 

You can access the hardware inventory reports from the GUI portal. http://192.168.1.253

 

Click the "detailed reports" button, see below.

PXE Hardware Inventory Reports

In the next section, please select all the required parameters, such as start date, end date, the customer and batch number. Click the submit button.

 

The next page will show you comprehensive and detailed report. See below example.

 

Due to huge information availability in the report, It is impossible to show all the fields here in one screenshot, but just to give you an overview this is how the report looks like. Below report screen shot is broken down into 7 screen shots. Screen shot taken from left to right, and top to bottom.

Detailed Report Screen Shot 1

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Detailed Report Screen Shot 2

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Detailed Report Screen Shot 3

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Detailed Report Screen Shot 4

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Detailed Report Screen Shot 5

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

 

Detailed Report Screen Shot 6

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

 

Export Data to other formats

You can see in the first screen shot there are several options to export the data into your desired format. See below the screen shot.

Settings
JSON
JSON (with Escape)
XML
SQL
CSV
TXT
XLS
Word
PowerPoint
PNG
PDF

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

he first option Settings button allows you to disable and enable columns from the reports, giving you the power to choose what should be displayed on the screen.

Rest of the butons such as Json, xml, sql, csv, txt, xls, word, powerpoint, png and pdf allows you to export data into selected formats. Which you can then import into your own application or use it as you desire. Clicking one of these buton will download the file with associated extension. For example, if you click XML button it will download filename.xml which contains all the report's detailed information in XML format. Other button will produce downloadable report in their associated format and extensions.

Summary & Brief Reports

As you have already seen above, detailed report has too much information. Some times it can be difficult to handle too much information. Therefore we have created a summary & brief reports section. In order to access this section click "BRIEF REPORTS" button in the main menu.

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

The next screen prompts for the start date, end date, customer ID and batch number. Please select desired report criteria and click the submit button.

See below, this report contains less information and is shown in a single screen shot.

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

As previously with detailed report, you can export this brief report to your desired format, or enable and disable column to show only desired information.

Audit Report

Network Computer Hardware Inventory Software has an audit functionality. Audit menu can be accessed using GUI http://192.168.1.253

computer hardware inventory audit report

Clicking the "AUDIT REPORT" button will produce the following page.

In the next page, please write barcode of the inventory item manually, or use a 2d barcode scanner to scan the barcode of the inventory item.

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

If 2d barcode scanner is used to scan the barcode from inventory item, next page will produce an audit report.

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

As you can see above, the audit report contains comprehensive information for just single inventory item. This information can also be exported to other formats.

DATA CHARTS & GRAPHS

NIS - Network Computer Hardware Inventory Software also has functionality to visualize KPI (Key Performance Indicator) Data, that you can use to quickly identify main areas of concern regarding your business.

In order to access the DATA CHARTS, go to the main menu http://192.168.1.253 and click DATA CHARTS button.

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

 

 

In the next section, fill all the required information such as start date, end date, customer ID and batch number and click submit. The next page will produce professionally designed data charts and graphs.

See below.

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

 

 

As you can see above, there are approximately 16 data charts available, however, we are currently busy adding more. If you would like us to create custom data charts or reports please get in touch with the author for more information.

 

Barcode Labels Reporting

 

You can quickly create a inventory report by scanning the barcode from each inventory item into the NIS portal, doing so will produce report that we can export into many formats.

 

For example, you have 500 inventory items, out of 500 items you just want to sell or move 25 inventory items and want to create a report. In this case, simply scanning the barcode label with 2d barcode scanner will produce report just for the scanned inventory items.

Barcode Label Printing for PXE Hardware Inventory Software

In order to access the Barcode Labels section, go to the main menu http://192.168.1.253 and click "BARCODE LABELS" button.

Print Barcode Labels

he next page allows you to scan the barcodes with 2nd handheld barcode scanner. Make sure a 2d barcode scanner is attached to the console management machine and start scanning the barcodes for each inventory item. Once you have scanned all the inventory items please click the submit button.

Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

As you scan the barcode, scanner will make a beep sound and the scanned barcode will appear underneath the submit button. See below the screenshot. Once submitted the next page will produce the required report.

 

In this case we have scanned 128 inventory items. The next screen shots shows inventory items for the scanned barcodes.

Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

As with any other report, you can also export this report into many formats. Please click the desired button to export the report into required file format.

 

On-Demand Barcode Label Printing

 

On-demand barcode label printing is a barcode label printing functionality that enables you to print the required barcode label from GUI of NIS - Network Computer Hardware Inventory Software.

 

In order to print the label, go to the main menu http://192.168.1.253 and click BARCODE LABEL button.

PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

 

In the next section either scan the serial number of the inventory item or manually type the serial number and click enter key.

 

Note: If you do not have a barcode scanner or for some reasons unable to scan the barcodes and have opted to type the serial number manually. Please ensure you press the enter / return key after every serial number.

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

As you scan the barcode, scanner will make a beep sound and the scanned barcode will appear underneath the submit button. See below the screenshot. Once submitted the next page will produce the required report.

 

In the next screen there will be a report, extreme right hand side column has button "Print Barcode Label" for every inventory item.

inventory hardware pc labels

Clicking the "Print Barcode Label" will generate a new page, see the next screenshot.

 

Please select your desired barcode label size and style.

Barcode Labels for Computer PC Hardware Inventory items

Before clicking submit button, please make sure ZPL compatible printer has correct self adhesive thermal label roll installed and is powered up and connected to the NIS server via USB cable. Click submit will generate another page.

 

See below the screen shot.

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

t this point barcode label should successfully be printed. see below ZPL printing labels on-demand.

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

You can attach these labels to your inventory items. see below.

Label size 50x25mm attached to the workstation

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Label size 76x25mm attached to the workstation

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Label size 76x50mm attached to the workstation

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Label size 76x50mm attached to the workstation

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Label size 102x50mm attached to the workstation

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Label size 102x50mm attached to the workstation

Label size 102x76mm attached to the workstation

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Label size 102x152mm attached to the workstation

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Label size 102x152mm attached to the workstation

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Label size 102x152mm attached to the workstation

Automated PC Computer Server Laptop Notebook Hardware Network Inventory Software PXE

Conclusion

As you can see above, this solution more or less does all the computer hardware inventory tasks automatically without touching the keyboard or mouse, also without installing any software in the inventory items.

If you like this software, please leave a comment or review.

If you think there are mistakes in this software or bugs, please report the bugs to the author so they can be quickly fixed.

If you are looking for customization and want to add more features please get in touch with the author.

 

Tags: PXE, Network, Inventory, PC Computer, Hardware, Server, Software, Automated, Laptop, Components, Label, Free, Boot, Barcode, Labels, Scanning, Printing, Computer Wholesale Software, IT Recycling Software, IT Inventory Software