Cisco puts more energy behind EnergyWise management architecture

You might have heard there's a big Cisco Borderless Networks shindig today, where the company is touting the idea that communications should be seamlessly between wired and wireless network. Don't overlook the updates that Cisco is making to EnergyWise, which is the network giant's vision for managing energy consumption.

You might have heard there's a big Cisco Borderless Networks shindig today, where the company is touting the idea that communications should be seamlessly between wired and wireless network. Don't overlook the updates that Cisco is making to EnergyWise, which is the network giant's vision for managing energy consumption.

The rather basic changes include the simple fact that EnergyWise now applies to the company's routing line (it was originally released just for switches) and it now includes something called EnergyWise Orchestrator, which now include an API (StackPower) which lets you manage PCs and laptops with EnergyWise (not just power over Ethernet devices, which were already supported). It was able to introduce this feature as a result of its partnership with Verdiem, which is one of the better-known power management software companies. Generally speaking, though, EnergyWise can be set up to power down anything from the lights in your office to an IP phone. You just define the policy.

Another big deal, in my opinion, is the release of the EnergyWise software developer kit (SDK), which the company will distribute via the Cisco Developer Network. (When I visited the network this morning to find a more precise URL, though, I was unable to find one.) If you buy a switch or router that supports EnergyWise OR you have a switch that is a couple of years old that's under software maintenance, Cisco folks tell me you can also get the SDK. The reason the SDK is interesting is that it will let third parties hook their own devices into the EnergyWise platform.

By the way, I am told that the current generation of switches (the Catalyst 2960-S series) that Cisco is selling are a heck of a lot more energy efficient than the previous generation: Using up to 50 percent less power if you manage them with EnergyWise. (Those figures come from Zurich Airport, which is one of Cisco's early customers for the whole energy management concept.)

If you don't think you can figure this stuff out on your own, CIsco has announced a new professional service to help its customers squeeze as much energy out of their networking platforms as possible. That service is called Cisco Services for Energy Management.

When I spoke to the Cisco team as part of a prebriefing for this introduction, we chatted about a live example in which an organization with more than 10,000 PCs is using EnergyWise Orchestrator to set power management policies cross its offices. This organization, which pays about $770,000 annually for electricity, believes it can cut this bill by $280,000 just by turning on nightly shutdown policies just for its PCs. By embracing other energy management policies, it can shave off another $150,000, according to the Cisco EnergyWise product manager.

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