Inventory software on Linux

Costs

I-doit is available in a number variants; a 30-day trial period is available on registration [3]. The trial version can be hosted on-premise or online as a web service. A demo system with prefabricated datasets also is up for grabs. The commercial Pro version is based on a subscription model, wherein the yearly charge is calculated on the basis of the number of objects.

All systems on the intranet (i.e., both server and client machines, but also temporarily connected laptops, smartphones, printers, and IT infrastructure components) count as objects. Licenses or software packages also count as objects [4].

Modules that supplement the selected basic package's feature scope can be purchased; again, the number of objects on the intranet defines the price. Synetics bills you separately in the scope of support agreements, and the company offers training, for which they charge somewhere between EUR2,200 (~$2,300) and EUR4,600 (~$4,900) for one, two, or three days, respectively.

Documentation

Detailed software documentation is important, particularly for newcomers without previous CMDB systems experience because of the many tasks and, in part, strict legal requirements that need to be considered. The vendor takes various approaches to handling this in i-doit: In addition to a software installation and configuration manual [5], which is implemented as a wiki, they also provide information on special functions and modules on the company's website in the form of the doIT Better series.

User groups, which offer conferences and meetings, provide users the opportunity to network. For licensing questions, a dedicated FAQ page [6] is available; its technical counterpart is implemented as a wiki [7]. The content is available in English and German.

Installation

Installing i-doit is not easy because of the many requirements. Thus, the developers provide detailed documentation that lists the numerous services and applications required before the installation. However, a few stumbling blocks remain. The current version of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) is not supported, and the latest PHP version 7.0 thus remains sidelined. You might also need to install the recommended database back end, MariaDB, from third-party sources, depending on your choice of distribution. Older web browsers on the clients can also cause serious problems, and you might need to update.

Because i-doit runs on a LAMP system with Apache, MariaDB, and PHP, these servers need to be installed before installing the i-doit server. You then copy the i-doit ZIP archive to a directory that can be accessed by the Apache web server. After adjusting the permissions that grant the web server read and write access to the directory, you can call the graphical setup menu in the web browser; it then guides you through the configuration in a few steps.

If you decide to deploy i-doit as a virtual appliance, make sure the system resources are sufficiently dimensioned. As the minimum hardware requirements, the vendor cites 2GB of RAM and 10GB of mass storage, but the recommendations for smaller organizations are 8GB of RAM and 50GB of disk space. Also, a dual-core processor is imperative. If you are running i-doit as a virtual application, of course you need to add to the resources required for the host system.

A bug in the virtual test appliance was reproducible on all test systems using several versions of VirtualBox: The virtual machine is configured with the wrong operating system ID and with an insufficient graphics memory allocation of just 4MB, thus making it impossible to launch.

To remedy this, access the General section of the VirtualBox configuration settings and, in the Type and Version selection fields, replace the existing values with Linux and Debian (64-bit). Additionally, you need to increase the value for graphics memory to at least 8MB in the Display section. I-doit only launched after we did this, taking us to the initial configuration in a simple ncurses screen immediately after logging in with the authentication data idoitadmin as the username and idoit as the password.

After adjusting all the options, you can then access the i-doit dashboard using any web interface. Note that after entering the CMDB server's IP address in the browser, the default authentication credentials are admin (username) with a password of admin. Once you see the dashboard, access Manage | Manage License to load the license key. The software is then ready for use.

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