Not only data centres stand to benefit from green IT

Although organisational green IT initiatives have been historically focused on the data centre, there is much more that can be done to reduce the rising energy costs of an infrastructure, explains , sales engineer at Kaseya.

Recently, reported that energy costs typically form less than 10% of an overall IT budget but could rise to more than 50% in the next few years. “This is particularly pertinent in the South African context where the cost of energy continues to rise at an alarming rate,” he says.

Using green IT for the desktop has been generally overlooked and as a result, the benefi ts have been greatly underrated. However, employing simple green IT rules and policies can ensure massive energy and cost savings.

“Many end-users within an organisation leave their desktop computers powered on when they leave for the day either out of their own initiative or because they have been instructed to do so by their IT department who need perform maintenance activities overnight,” explains Smith. “This results in wasted energy and resulting costs.”

Even when power-saving settings are enabled on desktops, Smith says, reports show that as many as 80% of end-users disable them, and this leads to companies’ green IT initiatives not being properly adhered to.

“It is therefore pertinent that organisations continuously enforce PC power settings from a centralised location. The power management policy of an organisation should include specific details relating to the period of end-user inactivity that needs to elapse before certain hardware components are powered off, when the system goes into standby, and when it shifts to hibernation mode or is powered down,” explains Smith. “These settings need to be checked regularly for compliance and remediated automatically if they are reconfigured.”

Kaseya surveys have shown that by enforcing more stringent desktop power settings, organisations can potentially save energy costs of between R100 and R250 per computer per month. “In an organisation of 500 desktops, this equates to substantial savings,” says Smith.

Replacing older PCs with newer, more energy-efficient systems is another way to reduce energy consumption, he continues. A recent Intel study shows that today’s newer PCs consume approximately half as much energy as a PC that is three or four years old. “For example, an unmanaged PC using an Intel Pentium D processor, an Intel 945G chipset, and a CRT display consumes approximately 1 000 KWh of electricity in a year. By comparison, a current model PC using an Intel Core2Duo processor, an Intel Q45 Express chipset, and an LCD can consume less than 500 KWh of electricity per year,” Smith says.


But what about when organisations need to have powered-up desktop to perform maintenance activities?

According to Smith, companies should considere leveraging new hardware-enabled management capabilities, such as those available with Intel vPro technology, to enable remote PCs that are asleep or powered off to be securely and reliably woken up for out-of-hours maintenance. “Although companies tend to be reluctant to invest in new hardware, the cost and energy-savings from implementing such a system will quickly offset the initial capital outlay.”

Kaseya offers a Desktop Policy Management (KDPM) add-on module that’s capabilities can achieve all the objectives outlined above. Organisations are able to easily centrally manage and deploy PC power settings and continuously check that these settings fall within the defi ned Power Management Policy and PCs that are out of compliance will be automatically remediated. The module can also fully leverage all the capabilities of Intel vPro Active Management Technology including securely and reliably powering a PC on from a remote location.

“Think of the effect this could have if all organisations in South Africa enforced more stringent power management policies. How much energy and money would the collaborative effort save? Would Eskom still need to consider load shedding? It’s definitely worth thinking about,” Smith concludes.