Good morning everyone, starting with yesterday’s introduction to what is it and why is Power Management important, we thought we would continue our series on Power Management and talk about what are the typical issues, challenges or blockers IT face when trying to implement Power Management policy.  In this post, we will cover some common areas that can prevent an organization from implementing and benefitting from centralized power policy management.

The Risk of Data Corruption – Organizations tell us that several factors have traditionally effected efforts to implement client power management. One of the most common factors has been a fear that power management could cause data corruption of open files or processes on client PCs. Some of these fears were developed from real scenarios of aggressive tools which forced specific applications or services to shut down to conserve power.

Power management with System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R3 takes a conservative approach to enabling power savings. The intent in R3 is to drive systems to hibernation (sleep) not power off.  Power policies can be created that do not completely shut systems off, but instead, lower power consumption on components during idle periods and put systems into sleep mode instead of turning them completely off. Sleep mode saves as much power as shutting systems fully down, but does not carry the same risk of data corruption that can be associated with forced shutdowns. Configuration Manager 2007 R3 provides the necessary engine to set and configure Windows power policies centrally on clients rather than taking stricter measures to enforce power policies. If employees use a device during off-hours, they are still able to work without worrying about their systems shutting down unexpectedly.

Off-hours Maintenance Needs - Another common barrier to the enactment of power consumption policies is the need to perform system maintenance, patch software, or run nightly scheduled routines on systems during idle periods. These needs have previously led to policies that kept systems on 24 hours a day, to ensure that enough time is available for necessary maintenance windows.

Configuration Manager 2007 R3 does not turn systems off—it puts them to sleep, allowing them to be patched and maintained on demand. Through the use of wake timers, a native function of Windows, the machines can be set to wake themselves up at various points in the evening and check for updates or software. When the ‘wake up‘ is complete, the machine will go back to sleep. This eliminates the need for leaving a machine fully powered during idle periods.   This also removes the requirement for Wake on LAN or similar technology to be running in the infrastructure, by utilizing base Windows features in local policy to wake up the system.

Exceptions and Critical Systems  - Most organizations have at least some systems which fall into the exception category. In certain cases, there are systems that are required to be turned on and fully available at all hours. Other systems may not have necessary compliant hardware for power management. Adoption of comprehensive power management policies in the past has not always taken into account these types of exceptions, which has slowed adoption of the concept.

Creating exception power policies with Configuration Manager 2007 R3 is inherent in the product, and relatively straightforward to implement. Systems can be ‘opted-out’ of power management as necessary, and various departments or business units can have different policies depending on their needs. In addition, out-of–the-box System Center allows for two sets of power management policies for all client behavior: one for peak periods and one for non-peak periods.  This is in addition to also when on AC or battery power.  This allows for more aggressive power management policies to be enacted at night during non-peak periods, with more relaxed settings to be in place during the day.

Providing Power Management in Mixed Client Environments  - Configuration Manager 2007 R3 is specifically designed to work with the power management capabilities built into the Windows 7 operating system. Windows 7 provides the best platform for power management, with considerable emphasis placed on optimization of power settings and providing granular control over individual power-consuming devices on the system. While Configuration Manager 2007 R3 provides the most comprehensive control over Windows 7 clients, it is also designed to work well in mixed environments with older versions of Windows such as Windows XP or Windows Vista®, taking full advantage of the power management capabilities in each version and allowing for the creation of power policies that can be applied across multiple versions.

We have plenty more to come on this topic, stay tuned……

Some resources for you:

  • Configuration Manager 2007 R3 RC Update now available here
  • Power Management, what do you get with Configuration Manager 2007 and R3? Read more here
  • Windows 7 Power Management Overview.  Read more here
  • System Center Configuration Manager evaluation and beta programs are here
  • What version of Configuration Manager do I need, and in what order? Find out more here
  • Update to ConfigMgr 2007 R3 Power Management Reports – demo here

me15Jeff Wettlaufer
Sr Technical Product Manager
System Center, Management and Security Division
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