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In this post, we are highlighting Panu Saukko, a Microsoft MVP based in Finland.
Panu has been a technical trainer and consultant for the last two decades and has been a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) since 1995. Since 2005, he has been a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional focused on SMS/ConfigMgr. Panu lives in Espoo, Finland and is a regular in both our Technical Community forums, and of course at our events – such as TechEd and MMS . Panu’s main areas of expertise are Microsoft System Center products (ConfigMgr, OpsMgr, Service Manager and Data Protection Manager), workstation deployment and Active Directory. In his spare time he enjoys time spent with his family and hobbies, which include basketball, cross-country skiing and reading.
If this article was an email, most junk mail filters would probably drop this email, because similar titles are used to sell a wide variety of suspicious products. Luckily this article is different, because ConfigMgr 2007 R3 can actually easily save hundreds of thousand dollars/euros per year with its power management features. Saving energy also decrease CO2 emissions, so you can feel good about it doing it.
I’m an MVP for Configuration Manager and have been working with an R3 TAP customer who has about 20 000 workstation. Most of them are desktops and running Windows XP SP3. A Windows 7 deployment project is under way and currently about 10 % of the workstations have Windows 7.
Power management is not the only new feature that R3 introduces, but in this article we forget about the other features.
One basic principle of any management strategy is that you cannot manage something, if you cannot measure it. When you have some reliable data available, you can start improving your processes. So the first part of power management is to know how much power in KWhs your workstations currently consume. When you know the current power consumption, you can easily calculate how much money is spent for that electricity. In fact, ConfigMgr 2007 R3’s reports give you that information, so you don’t need to use a calculator.
Before the ConfigMgr 2007 R3 client starts report power consumption, you need to deploy a ConfigMgr client update. This update requires a restart, so you need to plan the right time to deploy the update. We have installed the ConfigMgr 2007 R3 RC client update to all workstations and we haven’t received a single problem during the update process! Personally I think it is an amazing result, because normally even the slightest update causes some problems if you have a large environment.
When the power management update has been installed, you need to wait at least a full day and the next hardware inventory, before you can see any information in your R3 Power Management reports. In our TAP project the hardware inventory cycle was changed from default 7 days to 12 hours to decrease the time needed to see the relevant information.
You need to remember that all power management reports require SQL Server Reporting Services to work. If you have deployed the Reporting Services Point, you are ready. Otherwise you have to install SQL Server Reporting Services 2005 or 2008 and add the Reporting Services Point role to that server. (You can find more information about different site roles here and how to deploy the Reporting Services Point role here)
ConfigMgr R3 can report when the computer/monitor is on/off and when a computer has user activity. Each computer individually reports that information as part of hardware inventory. R3’s ‘Activity’ report shows that information collectively from a specific time range and a collection.
The first report was run when only 1500 computers had their power management settings enforced.
The next report shows how the situation has changed, when about 6500 computers’ power settings are managed with Configuration Manager 2007 R3. There are still about 9000 computers that shouldn’t go to sleep at all.
As you can see from the report, users work mostly from 8 am to 4 pm. At 5 am there is a little bump, because power managed computers are woken up at that time.
There are also about 450 computers not capable of sleep. Most of those computers don’t have correct display drivers installed. It was a little bit surprising to notice that with generic display drivers the computer doesn’t go to sleep. Those computers don’t go to sleep even from the normal operating system, so this is not a ConfigMgr specific problem.
The following report shows computer a activity report from a subset of Power Managed computers on the weekend:
At 5 a.m., all computers should wake up. Some monitors will be on for a small period of time at 7 am and 6 pm. Monitors on some computer models will be on momentarily when computers’ power plan is changed. This is a hardware specific behavior.
R3’s ’Power Cost by Day’ report show may be the most interesting thing: how much money do you spend for electricity and how much you have saved with power management.
The customer was spending about $2500/weekday for electricity without power management. Early September we enforced power management to about 5000 more computers. The result: the average power bill decreased about $300 per day! It makes about $60/1000 computers/day. Yearly savings could be for 20 000 computers about 20 x $60 x 365 = $438,000.
This is a conservative estimation, because our current power settings are selected to disturb users as little as possible. During the work hours computers go to sleep after 3 hours of idle time. During a normal work day, the computer should stay on for the whole day. We will shorten the idle times when users are familiar with new power settings. Sleep on Windows 7 workstations works much better and is more reliable than on Windows XP. When more computers have Windows 7, the power settings can be modified to save more energy.
Power Management settings are one of the possible settings you can define for a collection like e.g. Maintenance Windows. You can define what are the peak hours to each collection and if you want to wakeup computers or not. ConfigMgr R3 wakes up ONLY desktop. Laptops are excluded, because a possible danger that a laptop is started while it is in the bag.
Some resources for you:
Jeff Wettlaufer Sr Technical Product Manager System Center, Management and Security Division