'

Why stop at power management?

Around this time last year, a whole slew of companies with utility software for managing the power consumption of desktops, notebooks and other client devices busied themselves making the case for their technology and getting their brands established with IT administrators.This year, with all we know about these products, the case for investing in power management is pretty self-evident.

Around this time last year, a whole slew of companies with utility software for managing the power consumption of desktops, notebooks and other client devices busied themselves making the case for their technology and getting their brands established with IT administrators.

This year, with all we know about these products, the case for investing in power management is pretty self-evident. But now there's a new imperative: Cost-justification of these efforst. For those with whom this is the primary concern, I suggest reading a new Forrester report entitled "How Much Money are Your Idle PCs Wasting?"

Some of the financial results that the Forrester team cites in their report that can be used to help make the case at your own company : - Washington Mutual has deployed Verdiem Surveyor across 44,000 PCs; the software is used to shut down systems at night, as well as to power down computers that are idle. The company has reported savings of $68 per PC per year, which works out to be around $3 million. - Dell, which uses 1E NightWatchman and SMSWakeUp, on 50,000 desktops and laptops. It estimates savings of $36 per PC per year, or about $1.8 million per year. - General Electric, which uses the built-in power management in Windows to shut down monitors after 15 minutes, turn off hard drives after 30 minutes and put systems into standby mode after 2 hours. These practice are used across 75,000 PCs and translate into savings of $33 per PC per year, or $2.5 million annually.

Here are five myths for which Forrester provides good counter-arguments and statistics: 1. "The power used turning my PC on negates any benefits of turning it off." 2. "My screen saver is saving me energy." 3. "Turning my PC on and off will reduce its performance and useful life." 4. "I can't run updates and patches for PCs in lower power states. 5. "My PC users will not tolerate any downtime for power management."

This particular Forrester report goes on to suggest that companies use the power management argument to help justify larger installations of systems management suites that can automate operating system updates, distribution and simple upkeep of a company's client technology fleet. In other words, why stop at power management, even though that could help your door get in the door?

That's one reason that the push to use power management to set the stage for more disciplined client systems management could meant that the developers with applications focused ONLY on power management could be left out in the cold. Then again, it suggests we'll see all manner of integrations and probably even mergers and acquisitions in this product category. I ponder, for example, what Symantec's ultimate motives might be on this front. The fact that Verdiem is closely aligned with Hewlett-Packard, a key OEM that also happens to have a broad systems management offering, is also intriguing for the long term.

For now, according to Forrester, here are the players that seem to have the broadest reach across both systems and power management: 1E, BigFix (which has the advantage of supporting Macintosh clients), LANDesk and ScriptLogic.