Configuration-management vendor Ecora has launched a scaled-down version of its enterprise Auditor Professional software, called Auditor Lite, available at no cost from its website. The company is also to extend the availability of the free version until the end of the year.

Auditor Lite, the brainchild of new Ecora CEO Joe Fiorentino, "carves off" some of the company's enterprise-level technology and makes it available as a downloadable software application.

"It provides a snapshot, inventory or baselines of server information, which can be used in many cases for disaster recovery," Fiorentino explains.

The software can sit on multiple server platforms and collects configuration, operating system, application, patch and more data residing on servers it has been directed to audit. Unlike products from competitors BindView and Configuresoft, Ecora's technology doesn't rely on agent software for data collection, Fiorentino says, and it doesn't require extensive configuration to get it up and running.

One user, David James, the network administrator for Piedmont Plastics, said he didn't know where to start. when he was asked to document the patches, updates and applications running on more than 200 Windows servers.

"You walk into an environment you have been running for years and think, 'I have to document this!'" James says. With tight staff and tighter budgets, he says he knew he'd have to "come across a miracle" to avoid investing a lot of cash and labour to get the server documentation project under way. "It was something I knew would take forever and a day." He discovered Auditor Lite and downloaded it.

"I ran the install, and two clicks later I could see what was running on the server," says James, who wanted to be able to get a "bird's-eye view" of systems at any given time and has no plans to upgrade at this point.

Auditor Lite can collect data from a variety of systems, but can only report on one system at a time, Fiorentino explains. Customers looking to correlate data collected from multiple machines could consider upgrading to the professional version. "If they want more sophisticated reporting, they may want to consider an upgrade," he says.

Because of customer demand, Ecora is extending the free download of Auditor Lite to 31 Decemeber, and potentially longer, Fiorentino says. The company offers a video tutorial on how to set up and use Auditor Lite on its website and is working on offering a self-service web page to offload some simpler support calls from the customer support staff.