It's astonishing how quickly the little things can turn into something big. A small leak in the basement, left unfixed, can result in some serious damage to your foundation. A couple of flies buzzing around the kitchen can quickly multiply into a plague of Biblical proportions. Making those "fun size" candy bars a part of your regular hourly snacking routine can swiftly increase the waist size of your Levi's.
The same goes for leaving a PC running 24/7. At the back of your mind, you might note that it's wasting electricity -- but surely it won't amount to much. If you were handed a bill at the end of the year tabulating the cost of the burned watts, however, you might think differently. Depending on machine model, energy costs, and other factors, you could be looking at a couple of hundred dollars down the tubes. That's a lot of fun-size candy bars. Now multiply that figure by the number of machines at your organization, and suddenly, you're talking about king-size candy bars.
[ Check out the InfoWorld Test Center's hands-on test of enterprise-geared PC power management products. | Keep abreast of green IT news and tips by subscribing to InfoWorld's free weekly Green Tech newsletter. ]
The question, then, is how do you go about verifying that end-users at your organization are powering down machines on a regular basis -- preferably while making sure they aren't wasting time each day waiting for machines to power off and on and that computers are being properly patched and backed up at night? The InfoWorld Test Center this week took a look at higher-end PC management suites that include power-management features. Organizations with tighter budgets or that have PC management suites in place might be interested in examining the alternatives, ranging from free utilities to tools groomed specifically for PC power management.
Free for all
Among the free tools is Energy Star's free EZ GPO software, a utility for network administrators who run Windows Active Directory and manage client workstations using Group Policy Objects (GPOs). EZ GPO provides GPOs for centrally configuring power management settings in Windows XP and 2000, if your organization is still clinging to the latter. It uses an automated installer, and it contains two binary applications: one that runs as a service and one that runs on login under each user's account. EZ GPO reads the power-management settings configured by GPOs, and it intelligently selects only capable computers when activating system standby (generally, systems with Pentium 4 chip sets capable of S3 standby mode).