What will power management save you? Faronics does the math

Power management software developer Faronics updates its product, and publishes an extensive case study with Forrester Consulting outlining the savings potential.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

One ongoing criticism of power management software has been the specter of the idea that some automated schedule intended for energy efficiency might mess with work that someone is doing after hours. Or that your system may mistake your daydreaming session for your decision to leave the office, and that someone's system might shut down when it really shouldn't shut down.

Faronics has taken steps to address some of these criticisms (real or imagined) in the latest version of its software, Power Save 4.0. The utility includes a feature that lets an administrator create multiple Power Plans and Power Policies for a set of desktops, which should let enterprises further customize any policies or processes that they might already have in place. In addition, the software now includes a specific feature that saves Microsoft Office documents before a shutdown occur. Power Save looks at all aspects of a PC's usage, including CPU activity, whether or not data is being requested from the disk, application and network activity, and mouse use, before it takes action.

Faronics also has updated it core network management console, Faronics Core, to version 3.0. The software can now support multiple consoles or servers within a given network architecture.

Faronics claims about 1,000 customers for Power Save and it estimates the potential energy savings related to using its software at about $75,000 annually for every 1,000 computers.

The company actually commissioned a white paper from Forrester Research estimating the total economic impact associated with installing Power Save. The report you'll find at that link actually is a pretty detailed analysis of the impact on one of the company's marquis customers, BC Hydro Power Authority, a utility that uses Power Save on more than 8,000 desktop and notebook computers. A couple of interesting highlights:

  1. Of the more than 7,400 initial deployments within BC Hydro, there were just 10 users who had complaints of the sort that I mentioned earlier -- a PC shutting down when it really shouldn't. I don't know about you, but that ratio is not to shabby.
  2. The cost of the initial deployment was about $114,000, including $15,000 in professional services that the utility contracted for the rollout. (Ongoing maintenance costs are about $16,000 per year for an account of this size.)
  3. BC Hydro is saving about $80,680 per year in utility costs, or roughly 125 kilowatt hours per user. Adjusted for risks (upside costs for maintenance, as an example), the savings is $79,000.
  4. There WERE risks associated with the project. For example, some of BC Hydro's existing applications posed technical conflicts with Power Save. As a result, approximately 15 percent of the workstations originally included in the deployment had to be removed from the project.

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