A greater emphasis on social networking and the ability to define by people instead of device are the biggest changes in the newest version of network management software Spiceworks.

Spiceworks 5.0,set for a GA release in early October, will offer a PeopleView function. This will include a Profile page bringing a range of information related to each employee in one convenient place. The administrator will be able to retain the option of viewing in a device-centric fashion as well, the software will allow him to flip between the two.

By integrating the software with Microsoft's Active Directory so that the system administrator can handle queries such as time spent dealing with queries "Network managers think in terms of people rather than devices so this makes sense," said Jay Hallberg, Spiceworks VP of marketing, adding that the feature

The PeopleView feature was unusual for us in that it wasn't a request from our users, said Halberg. "But once people had it, they were really enthusiastic for it"

Hallberg said that there were other new elements in Spiceworks 5.0. "We have a completely redesigned website, a lot of work has gone into simplication, " he said. "And we've improved the social media aspect of Spiceworks. We've also made it MSP-friendly with features to handle multiple clouds," he said.

The software now contains support for Hyper-V, as well as VMware ESX. Hallberg dismissed reports that Spiceworks' target market was not going down the virtualisation route. "We did a survey of our users and found that 52 percent of IT pros were already using virtualisation, with another 16 percent planning to use the technology." As the average Spiceworks user has about five or six servers – although some have as many as 20 – this shows that even among SMEs there's an interest in virtualisation said Hallberg.