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Green IT

Power management software is a little to no cost way to go green and save green


EMQ column discusses green solutions


Kandy Williams

Highlights

  • One easy way to green your IT Department is to implement PC power management software.
  • Power management software simplifies the process of implementing power management policies across a large network of PCs.
  • Power management software will decrease your energy costs while also decreasing the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere.

One of the most fundamental steps to take when trying to green your IT Department is to perform an energy consumption analysis.  You will first have to create a baseline in order to estimate your annual energy use.  This is easy to do by taking an inventory of the energy consumption of your current IT hardware such as desktop PCs, monitors, laptops, servers and equipment, and networked peripherals such as printers and scanners.  These calculations are made easier using the energy calculator which can be found at http://www.csgnetwork.com/energycostcalc.html.

According to a study conducted in 2001 for the US Department of Energy, IT equipment accounts for 3% of total US electricity consumption.  One easy way to green your IT Department is to implement PC power management software.  According to a report conducted by the Alliance To Save Energy and 1E entitled The PC Energy Report 2007, power management software can reduce a PC’s power consumption by as much as 80 percent, saving companies from $25-$75 per desktop PC.  A mid-sized company will waste more than $165,000 a year in electricity costs for computers that are left on overnight.  By simply turning these computers off, companies can keep more than 1300 tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere.

Power management software simplifies the process of implementing power management policies across a large network of PCs.  It enables the company to take control over the entire network, monitoring how long PCs are allowed to stay on while inactive, at what time PCs will be shut down at the end of a shift, and at what time PCs need to power up in order to install updates.  This enables companies to implement power-saving strategies for little cost and with little effort and maintenance from the IT Department.

There are many network based power management software solutions available:  Surveyor, Edison, EZ GPO, Night Watchman, BigFix, Faronics Power Save and Apple Remote Desktop.  None of these software packages costs more than $20 per license with the exception of Apple Remote Desktop (which is $499 for unlimited licenses), and two are even free (Edison and EZ GPO).  According to MG&E, there are four criteria for choosing the power management software that fits the needs of your organization best:  the software should show your energy savings, it should be flexible enough to allow different settings for different users, it should be capable of identifying the hardware and operating system used at each workstation, and it should be able to shut computers down to ensure that PCs are not left on overnight or over the weekend.

Power management software provides a simple and effective network-level of control over PC power management settings, decreasing your energy costs while also decreasing the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere.  According to an article on businessweek.com, energy costs comprise nearly 10 percent of a corporate technology budget but could rise to as much as 50 percent in the next few years.  In a time where technical efficiency is critical to the bottom line, reducing energy consumption is a practice that is no longer optional. Power management can only enhance inventory management in helping to determine the efficiencies of equipment and resources.



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