Having spent a few days using the new 'device' now it is becoming clearer that my initial plan might not be practical. No great surprise there as I am sure anybody who has ever had a plan will agree but thankfully all is not lost.
The root of the problem is the lack of RAM on the computer, as puppy Linux requires 50-60Mb of RAM to sit in and the device only has 128 available which is very constricting. The only applications I wanted to install were Nagios and Apache but in order to compile these programs I would also need devx which filled up the available resources even before it could fully install never mind the other apps. This required a rethink and at Robs suggestion we tried compiling these programs on a virtual machine, the idea being to copy the finished items back afterwards. On digging a little deeper it seems that this approach may also be flawed because when looking into the rather nifty Nagios live CD which is a precompiled fully operational ISO of Apache and Nagios with no other rubbish thrown in it seems that the minimum required RAM is 256 MB.
Enter Cheops to save the day!
On browsing the available dotpups, which are prepackaged installs for puppy much like RPM's for red hat, I found a program called Cheops which appears to be an anorexic version of Nagios. It may not be quite as polished but essentially looks as though it will do what I need which is tell me or the other IT guys if a server or one of the more essential switches falls over during the festive season. Installation is a breeze and so far it is quite happily mapping the network without me having to even tell it where to look which is nice :o)
Watch this space.