Ralph, the open asset management tool


No Automatic Versioning

Ralph did reveal some weaknesses, for which no solution is likely to be available in the foreseeable future. Most administrators will probably be able to live with the requirement to run Ralph on a Ubuntu 14.04 system; you can set one up quickly and simply in a virtual environment.

The developers of Ralph worked intensively on version 3 in the past few months and added some interesting innovations in this version. In terms of its feature set, the asset management environment is on the right track. As you can see from the current roadmap, some interesting features have been announced; their implementation is scheduled for completion by the final release of version 3.

What's missing so far is the ability to evaluate a Ralph system with minimal overhead. The developers are working on a deployment system with DHCP and PXE support. Thus far, the Ralph interface only supports the English language. And, the export feature only generates English summaries. But most admins will be happy with this. The real drawback thus far, however, is that clients capable of detecting and indexing hardware components and MAC addresses are missing. They would save administrators the worry of installing an inventory agent on each system. Such a client is in development, but it is still unclear when it will be available.

Ralph is also incapable of automatically detecting Mac OS X systems. Even if these devices only play a subordinate role in many companies, it is annoying if you need to manually manage some sections. In addition to purely technological limitations, Ralph also loses points because of other criteria. The website does not give you a contact address for the developers. Unfortunately, they also do not offer commercial support that interested companies could rely on. And, there is no active community to turn to for advice. Until these circumstances change, many companies will probably not even consider using Ralph.


Ralph v3, the free asset management system, is a very promising newcomer that does a good job of typical inventory tasks in the enterprise. In terms of support and agents, the developers still need to catch up to make the environment more interesting for corporations.

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