It makes sense that the folks out there providing services and software for things like patch management and updates would get into the power game.
One such player is BigFix IT, which has already found several serious converts for its new Power Management module. Ben Kus, senior director of technology for BigFix, says the dilemma for IT managers has always been that security patches and important software updates can't be deployed if computers are off. By wedding power management to the other software, administrators can have the best of both worlds, he says. "They can turn the systems off according to their power policy, not ours," Kus says.
The BigFix Power Management model provides the bells and whistles to do just that. PLUS it gives you various charts and reports that help an organization gauge the impact of various policies. It can look at things from a pure cost standpoint or a green viewpoint if desired.
Tom Sims, director of network services for the Miami-Dade County Public School District, says there are plans to adopt the BigFix software throughout his entire school system, which encompasses roughly 110,000 desktops scattered in classrooms, laboratories and administrative offices in about 400 schools. The school district started experimenting with the software about six months ago. It figures it will save about $2 million in annual electricity costs by controlling when the systems are powered up and powered down.
And it hasn't just saved money from the PCs themselves. Another big factor is the air-conditioning needed to keep all the systems cool in the Florida heat and humidity. By knowing when the systems will be off, the school can also adjust the air-conditioning environment accordingly, Sims says.
Another believer is Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., which just hired its very own sustainability director. Stacy Lee, senior systems administrator for the university, says his department has been using the BigFix software since early December. When his team visited the sustainability team to talk about the potential savings, they were granted a brief appointment that extended into an hour-and a-half of discussion.
Lee figures the university can save $15 per computer per year, and it has been slowly spreading the word across the 24,000-computer campuses. Certain systems present exceptions, and Lee's team has been able to develop four different levels of "green" profile that can be applied across campus as situations warrant. For example, a presenter can switch the settings on his or her computer during a class presentation. If the person forgets to switch it back, the system will reset the power setting after a certain lag time. The university has about 1,000 systems in pilot right now and it plans to run some audits at the end of February to determine progress.