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Matt McSpirit on Virtualisation, Management and Core Infrastructure

System Center, Energy Star and Going Green…

System Center, Energy Star and Going Green…

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Sometimes, I’m a bit pants with email – I’ll hold my hand up about that.  I’m good with the majority of email, but there’s the odd one that you think, ‘that needs actioning, and I’ll get onto it tomorrow’.  The problem is, you think it every day, so, to quote Ronan Keating, ‘tomorrow’ never comes.  (Just to quash that rumour before it starts, I’m not a Ronan Keating fan, and I know the song is called ‘If tomorrow never comes’, but I was on a roll :-))

Anyway, as you can see:

System Center Configuration Manager

This little beauty came through from Michael Walsh, way back in August (it’s my oldest Inbox email) and I’ve been meaning to blog about it since then, but, I just haven’t found the right time.  That time is now.

Michael is one of the chaps involved in the fantastic Software Enabled Earth blog, which focuses on Green IT, and the Environment.  If you haven’t seen it before, I’d strongly suggest you have a look.


The post I’m particularly interested in, relates to Microsoft’s System Center Management platform, and in particular, System Center Configuration Manager 2007.  If you’re not familiar with SCCM, it’s what was SMS 2003, but with a big number of improvements.  The best way that I personally can describe SCCM, in a nutshell, is your centralised server to deploy stuff.  By stuff, I mean, Operating Systems, applications to be installed, virtualised applications to be streamed, hotfixes, patches, updates, etc.  It will also provide you with asset inventory capabilities.  You really have to see it in action to see the full benefit of this technology.  I’m not aiming to provide that level of detail in this post, but I will provide some useful links below:

  • Asset Intelligence - Configuration Manager 2007 gives organizations better control over their IT infrastructure and assets through asset intelligence technologies that provide IT administrators continuous visibility into what hardware and software assets they have, who is using them, and where they are.
  • Desired Configuration Management - With Configuration Manager 2007 Desired Configuration Management, organizations can ensure that IT systems comply with desired configuration states to improve systems availability, security, and performance network-wide.
  • Software Update Management - Configuration Manager 2007 Software Update Management simplifies the complex task of delivering and managing updates to IT systems across the enterprise. IT administrators can deliver updates of Microsoft products, third-party applications, custom in-house line-of-business applications, hardware drivers, and system BIOS to a variety of devices—including to desktops, laptops, servers, and mobile devices.
  • Software Distribution - Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 Software Distribution simplifies the complex task of distributing applications and updates to desktops, servers, laptops, and mobile devices across enterprise networks.
  • Operating System Deployment - Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 Operating System Deployment is a highly flexible, automated solution that allows IT administrators to fully deploy and configure servers and desktops from any previous state, including bare-metal deployments.

There are also a number of great hands-on-virtual labs for SCCM:

Anyway, enough rambling – what’s the link between SCCM, the Green IT stuff, and Energy Star?

SCCM Config Pack

Well, with System Center Configuration Manager 2007, you can easily monitor and capture the configuration information of servers, desktops, and laptops across your network. In doing so, Configuration Manager utilises Desired Configuration Management (DCM) to evaluate systems and determine whether they are configured in accordance with corporate requirements.

DCM supports imported configuration packs, which are best practices created by Microsoft and other software vendors to identify common configuration errors for applications and operating systems.  We’ve recently launched a new DCM pack that fully complies with ENERGY STAR configuration guidelines.  The new pack, which is endorsed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), enables customers to assess their client settings against the following ENERGY STAR defined efficiency levels and recommendations:

  • Ensure computers enter system standby or hibernate after 30 to 60 minutes of inactivity.
  • Ensure monitors enter sleep mode after 5 to 20 minutes of inactivity.
  • Create a warning notification report if screen savers are not disabled. If one is enabled, the wait timeout period should be less than the monitor sleep setting.

This SCCM 2007 based solution makes it easier for IT Pro’s to ensure that PCs are configured with the appropriate energy savings - driving improved power management implementations that can lower operational costs. The solution also provides a basis for compliance reporting against various pledge programs, such as Climate Savers Computing Initiative and ENERGY STAR Low Carbon IT Campaign.  Sounds like a win-win to me.

You can read more about this, and more, here:

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