Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Companies Waste $2.8 Billion Per Year Powering Unused PCs

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the just-let-it-run dept.

Power 348

snydeq writes "Unused PCs — computers that are powered on but not in use — are expected to emit approximately 20 million tons of CO2 this year, roughly equivalent to the impact of 4 million cars, according to report by 1E and the Alliance to Save Energy. All told, US organizations will waste $2.8 billion to power 108 million unused machines this year. The notion that power used turning on PCs negates any benefits of turning them off has been discussed recently as one of five PC power myths. By turning off unused machines and practicing proper PC power management, companies stand to save more than $36 per desktop PC per year."

cancel ×

348 comments

Same here (1)

Fotograf (1515543) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339381)

before realizing it and moving most stuff except HTPC to VM

Re:Same here (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27339471)

I'd really like to put the pc to sleep after 5 mins and to hibernation after 15.

But give me a pc that won't die on this, and I'll do it.

Re:Same here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27339941)

This is what i always done, and suggested my college do this as well to cut running costs.
But getting around sessions ending because of that turn off pretty much killed the idea.

I think it was more of a security measure to be honest, person goes to toilet and they never logged out?
Well now they have been forced to.
Still, 5 minutes is a long time, enough time for us to put those prank programs on to reverse the mouse, or move the start menu, ah, fun times, i miss college.

Re:Same here (1)

Fotograf (1515543) | more than 5 years ago | (#27340081)

you can lock screen you know... with disabled autoplay it is pretty safe. I replaced several servers with one It was very geeky from every pentium around build some single purpose device, just for sake of it, but it only increases noise and complicates backup. Now i have two pcs, one huge server with many VMs in basement, and one HTPC besides workstations. I dont mind switch off/hybernate workstation because notebook harddrives dont care as much for spin up/down as big ones and there are no data on workstations, all is on server.

Magic smoke (4, Funny)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339397)

Unused PCs computers that are powered on but not in use are expected to emit approximately 20 million tons of CO2 this year

How exactly does that happen? What about the computers that are powered by a nuclear reactor?

I thought when CPUs emit smoke you have to buy a new one.

Re:Magic smoke (2, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339413)

You're forgetting that the method of environmentalists is to always assume the worst, then multiply that until it's newsworthy. Then claim it's 'scientific evidence' just because somebody made a computer model with values that don't actually exist.

Re:Magic smoke (5, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339947)

Umm you forgot that along with "scientific evidence", they also claim the consensus is in and the science is settled so if you question it, you either hate people or work for an oil company.

Re:Magic smoke (5, Insightful)

philipgar (595691) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339469)

Actually, even the ones powered by coal are likely not wasting much CO2. Considering a machine is most likely to be sitting idle at night, and that the coal plants have to operate 24/7 (they can't dynamically lower their power output, that's provided by secondary sources during the afternoon). Power usage generally peaks in the afternoon, and so other power generation stations (those like natural gas that can be brought online quickly) handle the peak load, but, as coal power is cheaper, they try to get as much as possible from the coal. If the base load provided by the coal is greater than the power being consumed, than any additional power demanded isn't really "wasting" electricity. It's just using electricity that has already been generated. Of course, if this amount is great enough to change the power plants operating conditions, it does matter, and as far as the businesses are concerned, this power does cost money, and quite a bit of it.

However, saying the plant is releasing more CO2 for these computers is generally not true.

Phil

Re:Magic smoke (1, Troll)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339583)

Power usage generally peaks in the afternoon

What did you expect? Everyone is forced to live according to the same schedule, i.e. work 9-5 on weekdays, sleep at night, etc.

as coal power is cheaper, they try to get as much as possible from the coal.

Until the planet runs out of coal, that is. Which will happen, whatever you do, sooner or later. In the long term, being "carbon neutral" is either meaningless, or means you're replanting the forests you (the western culture) cut down.

Re:Magic smoke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27339565)

Ehhh... with the risk of getting wooshed.

PCs (or any other things) aren't connected to a specific power source. They're connected to a power grid.

Re:Magic smoke (2, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339621)

PCs (or any other things) aren't connected to a specific power source. They're connected to a power grid.

(No whoosh for you.) So how is being connected to a CO2-emitting power source the computers' fault then?

Re:Magic smoke (1)

pipatron (966506) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339969)

wooosh!

Re:Magic smoke (5, Funny)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339799)

What about the computers that are powered by a nuclear reactor?

Is THAT what they're pushing as minimum spec for Windows now?

Re:Magic smoke (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 5 years ago | (#27340157)

The CO2 emissions are entirely useless to the purpose of the story and are just put in for emotional appeal.

Carbon emissions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27339399)

Is it just me, or have carbon emissions, that were all the rage in early 2007, are getting much less media attention now. (Unless combined with an economic aspect such as this article.)

Popular environmentalism is people buying solar panels or wind turbines to ease their conscience, but only when they can afford it.

obvious reaction (5, Funny)

rarel (697734) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339401)

I'm at work, enviro-conscious, and I love my company. So I'll turn my workstation off right n

Re:obvious reaction (4, Insightful)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339783)

It has nothing to do with loving your company. What people don't realize often is that wasting company resources affects those who work in it.

If the employees are wasting too much power, the money to pay for them won't be taken from shareholder dividends or executive incentives. It will come from salaries.

So, it's not about loving the company. Don't waste company resources because, in the end, it's YOU who pays the bill.

Besides, also think about the impact of waste on the environment.

Re:obvious reaction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27339983)

woosh

Re:obvious reaction (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27339999)

Don't be so naive. You save the company money, you won't see a dime. Shareholder dividends and executive incentives expand to fill the available budget.

Re:obvious reaction (4, Interesting)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#27340019)

The story says $36 per desktop computer per year could be saved. Now that sound like a lot of money at a company with 500 desktops ($18,000). But that company will have at least 500 employees and probably more. At 10% more or 550 employees to work those 500 desktop computers, that brings the potential salary increases to about $32 a year. If the average person works 38 hours a week and 48 weeks a year (1842 hours), that's about a penny or less per hour raise.

But it gets even worse. The heat cycles of computers heating up when in use and cooling down when powered off will take a small toll on the life of the computer. So I guess the real question might be is if the computer lasts 2 years instead of 3 or 4 or even 5 years, how many of those would need to be replaced because the Co2 emitted from making the things from scratch outweighed the entire carbon savings from the $36 worth of electricity not in use assuming that the power for those computers don't already come from a Co2-less generating facility. My guess is that an early replacement on any of them will offset any environmental savings which sort of makes this idea more hand waving then anything.

Re:obvious reaction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27340147)

Obligatory Candlejack refere

Familiarity Breeds Contempt (4, Insightful)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339403)

I think the fundamental problem is that in the West, energy (specifically watts-hours of electricity in this case) have been so cheap in the last few decades as to be effectively free. This is changing now through worldwide recession and the depletion of the easy-to-get fossil fuel. Once electricity prices start seriously ramping up (which they inevitably will), companies will be giving their utility bills a lot more scrutiny.

Re:Familiarity Breeds Contempt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27340001)

It's already happening. There's a reason a lot of companies are switching to 4-day workweeks. Being able to trim ~10% in electricity/facilities/maintenance/etc costs (note that it's not a full 20%) makes a big difference.

Half an hour a year? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27339405)

So, they can save the cost of a half hour of my salary, by having me spend 10 minutes each day starting up and shutting down my computer?

Re:Half an hour a year? (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339437)

Shutting down should not be something that you need to wait for. Closing the programs can be done in about a minute and then you do 'shutdown' and leave. Wether that takes 10 minutes or an hour should be irrelevant.

Starting up is another story. It takes me about 15-20 minutes before I am completely started. First it takes ten to just start up my PC including the autostart of some programs including Citrix. Citrix itself takes at least another 10 minutes and there I have to manually start the programs I need for the day, as I am unable to launch the automagically.

Yet they want me to turn of my PC each day. if starting up would take a standard 5 minutes, I have no problem in coming in earlier. If it takes 20 minutes THEY will be paying for it.

So I just turn off my monitor and let my PC running. Well my main PC. My secondary PC that I often need directly when business starts takes 30-45 minutes to start. That means if they turn it off and I need to change a setting, a complete department will be without work for 45 minutes.

Yes, I do understand that this is a technical issue and it could easily be solved. I am not the person to do that.

Re:Half an hour a year? (1)

Elrond, Duke of URL (2657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339515)

Starting up is another story. It takes me about 15-20 minutes before I am completely started. First it takes ten to just start up my PC including the autostart of some programs including Citrix. Citrix itself takes at least another 10 minutes and there I have to manually start the programs I need for the day, as I am unable to launch the automagically.

I'm constantly surprised by these frequent accounts of computers which take forever and a day to start up. It's not that I disbelieve them, but what exactly are these programs doing which takes such an incredible amount of time before they become useful?

I haven't personally experienced this since the early-ish Pentium days when OEM PCs came loaded with huge amounts of junk. Just unbearable. They still have all that junk, but PCs have become so much faster it's less of a problem and more of an annoyance now. At least, it is until you wipe the thing and set it up properly.

And these machines are almost invariably Windows PCs. I've got non-bleeding edge Linux PCs acting as servers running all manner of daemons doing all manner of tasks and they all go from cold to useful in less than two minutes. My Linux desktop machine boots even faster, but the time to usability (TTU?) is slightly longer as I open/reposition various user apps, open documents, etc. But it's still just a few minutes before I can doing something useful.

Yes, I do understand that this is a technical issue and it could easily be solved. I am not the person to do that.

Indeed. One day sleep/hibernate will work on enough machines to be the solution that most people are looking for. It already works just fine on my Laptop running Ubuntu. And my desktop can suspend fine in Vista, but has problems with the annoying ATI fglrx driver in Debian. Someday, though... someday...

Re:Half an hour a year? (5, Funny)

telchine (719345) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339597)

what exactly are these programs doing which takes such an incredible amount of time before they become useful?

Initializing DRM layers, generating transparent overlay effects, decreasing the spin speed of the hard drive and generating a nice Vista logo on the desktop.

Re:Half an hour a year? (3, Funny)

Elrond, Duke of URL (2657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339701)

Reticulating splines?

:)

Re:Half an hour a year? (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339713)

I'm constantly surprised by these frequent accounts of computers which take forever and a day to start up. It's not that I disbelieve them, but what exactly are these programs doing which takes such an incredible amount of time before they become useful?

My desktop needs to be downloaded as it is not on my machine, but kept remotely IN ANOTHER COUNTRY. OK, that is Europe so for Americans that would mean distance wise in another state. And we DO have a small server room which could do the task easily.

There are some other basic errors in the configuration as well. To get 100% logged in, I need to log in several times in several systems. LDAP? Whats that?

There are many other things that could be done to streamline the log in process. They are now working on a process of turning the PC off automagically and on again, so that PCs don't run at night. The fact that PCs will be turned on even if the employer is on a 3 week holiday is irrelevant.

The majority of the machines only does web, telnet to an AS400 and printing. Yet still they insist on running Windows. If they REALLY wanted to save money, they would install Linux on them. That is several thousand machines right there.

Re:Half an hour a year? (2)

Elrond, Duke of URL (2657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339753)

Yikes... so I guess the issue here is an IT department gone crazy? Or, at the very least, a system implemented by IT staff who are either completely lacking the proper knowledge or lacking an idea of what it is like to use this system in the "real world". Either way, it doesn't sound like much fun to use...

And LDAP: it's a light directory system, useful for storing information about users. Passwords, names, contact info... stuff like that. Can't say what in particular your system is using it for, but it's clear that your IT people haven't set it up for single sign-on since you have to log into several different programs.

Re:Half an hour a year? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27340043)

And LDAP: it's a light directory system, useful for storing information about users. Passwords, names, contact info... stuff like that. Can't say what in particular your system is using it for, but it's clear that your IT people haven't set it up for single sign-on since you have to log into several different programs.

No, LDAP is a protocol used by systems which do these things; LDAP is not the directory system itself. It is entirely possible to have a slow, idiotic system that uses LDAP as my workplace demonstrates so ably.

Re:Half an hour a year? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27339767)

Unfortunately every-man-and-his-dog producer of software and hardware simply must have some bullshit background service running at all times just in case you want to use their stuff and save that extra 7 seconds used to boot up the application.

Re:Half an hour a year? (1)

gmack (197796) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339849)

I'm constantly surprised by these frequent accounts of computers which take forever and a day to start up. It's not that I disbelieve them, but what exactly are these programs doing which takes such an incredible amount of time before they become useful?

I haven't personally experienced this since the early-ish Pentium days when OEM PCs came loaded with huge amounts of junk. Just unbearable. They still have all that junk, but PCs have become so much faster it's less of a problem and more of an annoyance now. At least, it is until you wipe the thing and set it up properly.

And these machines are almost invariably Windows PCs. I've got non-bleeding edge Linux PCs acting as servers running all manner of daemons doing all manner of tasks and they all go from cold to useful in less than two minutes. My Linux desktop machine boots even faster, but the time to usability (TTU?) is slightly longer as I open/reposition various user apps, open documents, etc. But it's still just a few minutes before I can doing something useful.

Start a Symantec AV scanner (the corporate standard at least in Canada). Then add 20 stupid hardware specific widgets each company thinks they are clever for writing. All in one Printer/scanner/fax manager, Touchpad widget etc. Now that you have it loading in 5 - 8 minutes Throw in some badly written industry specific software that needs another 30 seconds to 5 minutes (depending on the software) to start.

If you really want to have some fun you can install this on some of the more interesting corporate edition PCs that take forever just to get though the BIOS.

Re:Half an hour a year? (2, Interesting)

Elrond, Duke of URL (2657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27340085)

As annoying as all these useless background and systray apps are, isn't this as much the fault of lazy IT departments as it is the companies which produce these programs? And from all these comments, it would seem this is a problem with *many* IT departments.

Why do the IT people leave all of this stuff on? I have to assume if people complain about it so much that they can't take it off themselves otherwise they would have long ago. So why can't IT be bothered to properly configure the machines they maintain?

Surely most IT depts. configure one machine and ghost/clone it to others for backup and replication purposes and to prevent duplication of work. It's even less forgivable to not get rid of these apps if you only have to do it once.

Re:Half an hour a year? (1)

gmack (197796) | more than 5 years ago | (#27340193)

Because the users/managers think they need it and in some cases the hardware won't work without it.

You seem to come from the perspective where Management checks with IT before buying things. I wish things actually worked like that for even some of the places I have worked at.

Re:Half an hour a year? (4, Informative)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339817)

That's why I use hibernation. It takes one minute to shutdown and another to startup.

s2disk hibernate + WoL or scheduled wake-up w/BIOS (3, Interesting)

olden (772043) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339891)

Ouch. Dude, if you need to lose 15 to 20 minutes (let alone 45) to restart your PC, something is terminally wrong with your setup. Vista on a 486?
Even in such pathological case, wouldn't suspend or hibernate be an option?

I always power down my (work or home) PC when I expect to not need it for a while. Initiating hibernation takes me 2 seconds, resuming 30 to 40s in the rare instances when the machine is not already up again by the time I get back to it, or if I need to VPN into it.

I'm using Linux (Ubuntu 8.10, doesn't matter much), shutting down via 's2disk'. Basically, it's hibernate, ie all applications etc are saved to disk in whatever state they happen to be, no need to exit any etc...
s2disk uses compression by default, so while it may take a bit longer for the machine to actually finish writing everything to disk and power down (who cares), resumes are /fast/.

Powering back up is usually triggered via the BIOS' RTC alarm, scheduled every weekday shortly before I'm expected to arrive at work. Worst case (say I'm there early), my PC is ready with all my apps running in less than 40s, time I may need anyway to check my voicemail etc.

Remote access via my company SonicWALL SSL-VPN is also a breeze, since this gateway can issue Wake-on-LAN to whatever one wants to get to.

Reducing waste in general is IMHO just being responsible.
"We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children."

Re:s2disk hibernate + WoL or scheduled wake-up w/B (3, Interesting)

mokus000 (1491841) | more than 5 years ago | (#27340101)

I can tell you from experience in a large security-conscious organization that such pathological setups are not nearly as uncommon as you seem to think. The combination of antivirus and extremely aggressive login scripts bring fairly modern hardware with XP Pro to its knees on startup.

When I or any of my coworkers have to cold boot, or often even just whenever we dock an already booted laptop, it means a minimum of 5-10 minutes enforced coffee break. If you're actually in a hurry to get something for someone standing in your office, it can sure seem like 30 min.

The worst is when it boots up and tells you 10 minutes later that it's done installing some software update the login scripts had for it, so now you need to reboot. Or rather, that it's going to reboot in 30 seconds, and there's nothing you can do.

Re:s2disk hibernate + WoL or scheduled wake-up w/B (2, Interesting)

mokus000 (1491841) | more than 5 years ago | (#27340139)

Sorry for the followup, just wanted to clarify:

That's 5 to 10 minutes before Explorer or the start menu will respond to mouse events, not 5 to 10 minutes before the apps I need to use are open and ready to use.

After a torturously long OS boot, I get to wait for visual studio to start up, which takes nearly as long. Add on outlook, Groove, etc, and I'd say the original poster isn't too far off on 15-20 minutes before the computer is ready to do any real work.

Re:Half an hour a year? (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339887)

So, they can save the cost of a half hour of my salary, by having me spend 10 minutes each day starting up and shutting down my computer?

Everyone in the organisation I work for turns their PC off when they leave. That takes a few seconds: a quick check that I have nothing unsaved, then I click "Shutdown" and walk out.

In the morning, I walk to my desk, press the power button, and put my bag down. I cycle to work, so then I take off my helmet and jacket. By now the log in screen is ready. I authenticate, go and get a glass of water from the kitchen, and the PC is ready. I reckon I "waste" about 30 seconds a day by turning the computer off. I've just wasted far more than that by writing this.

Productivity (5, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339409)

I could lose $36 worth of productivity in a few days. My desktop and servers stay ON.

Re:Productivity (1)

struppi (576767) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339675)

What, because you have to wait 30 seconds until your computer boots up? Go get a coffee while you wait!

Re:Productivity (2, Insightful)

worip (1463581) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339715)

No, because logging on, firing up applications and development environments, opening any projects/files that you are working on takes time. Say conservatively 10 mins per day. That is 50 mins per work week. That is almost an hour of my time a week - already exceeding the cost of the energy (depending on your hourly rate of course).

Re:Productivity (1)

mrphoton (1349555) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339735)

Have you ever noticed that a light bulb only blows as it is turning on and not when it is running. It is the same with a computer, the thermal-cycling causes damage to the components and reduces its life time. My work stations all stay ON.

Re:Productivity (5, Insightful)

FridgeFreezer (1352537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339801)

Yes and no, true thermal cycling does cause marginal components to fail but by leaving the thing on all the time rather than the half of the day you're actually using it you're halving the "useful" life of the thing anyway.

There is a balance between leaving it on 100% of the time and switching everything on and off every time you walk from your desk to the coffee machine and back.

Re:Productivity (1)

Zebedeu (739988) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339843)

Have you ever noticed that the lightbulbs which last the least are the ones in your living room instead of the ones in your bathroom?

Living room: turn on/off once per day but stays on for a long time, each time.
Bathroom: turn on/off many times per day, but stays on for short periods of time.

My point is that being on is what deteriorates the lightbulb in the long term, not the action of turning it on. The momentary stress of turning it on will kill an already deteriorated lightbulb, but it's leaving it on all the time that deteriorates it to reach that point.

Re:Productivity (1)

Swizec (978239) | more than 5 years ago | (#27340035)

In the ten years I've lived at my current apartment I've changed lightbulbs once or twice in the living room. Exactly twice in my room and about five times in the bathroom.

Go figure.

Re:Productivity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27340093)

You must pee a lot... :)

Re:Productivity (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339901)

Have you ever noticed that a light bulb only blows as it is turning on and not when it is running. It is the same with a computer, the thermal-cycling causes damage to the components and reduces its life time. My work stations all stay ON.

You need to take steps to ensure your computer is still working in 15 years?

The "damage" I cause to mine by switching it off is irrelevant: it'll be replaced within 5 years.

Re:Productivity (1)

bami (1376931) | more than 5 years ago | (#27340167)

Actually, that's due to the conductive properties of the tungsten wire that runs inside the bulb. When cold, it's resistance is less then when it's warm, so when you turn on a cold bulb, for a moment it rushes a higher current through the wire, and that is the moment when worn-out wires break. Some switches have a sort of delay that they will limit the current flowing through for the first few seconds so that the bulb can warm up.

Re:Productivity (4, Interesting)

Zebedeu (739988) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339825)

Never heard of suspend? Hybernate?

Re:Productivity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27340023)

I use hibernate at home all the time. At work they have disabled hybernate because they consider it a potential security risk!

Re:Productivity (1)

jabithew (1340853) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339847)

Is ten minutes a day really that conservative? I know booting machines feel like they're taking an age, but normally it's only a minute or so. How many times do you turn your computer on/off a day? What is making you watch it doing so instead of doing something else?

Re:Productivity (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 5 years ago | (#27340177)

That's not an argument for keeping your PC on all the time, because it's not a choice of that or powering up manually and then waiting 10 minutes.

Re:Productivity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27340181)

Exactly, even if it only takes a few minutes to boot the computer, you're losing money! You're paying people to sit there every single workday and watch their computers boot. After a year that ads up to way more than $36! Plus we're not even counting any lost productivity, only the time they sit there watching it boot.

Sure it's better for the environment, but it's not saving a business any money.

Turning PCs into a grid (4, Interesting)

jw3 (99683) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339419)

Of course, this solution is not for everyone, but it works quite nice at the university where I'm working. Three departments (chemistry, biology and physics) got together to form a computer administrative unit. Essentially, any workstation at one of these three dpts has the same version of OS (mostly Windows) with the same software installed. And each of these installations includes condor [wisc.edu] for distributed computing. Effectively, you get something comparable to a 1000+ nodes cluster -- and some of the machines are quite strong!
Scientists and students alike are allowed to use it freely for their computations. There is a batch submission system, and a whole lot of numerical calculations run on these computers during night. There are a few caveats, though:
  • many biological applications need a large amount of data -- and the moment that you need to transfer gigabytes to each of the nodes (as they do not share storage) the whole thing is no longer reasonable.
  • you always have to take into account a 1-5% job loss, so if you want e.g. 1000 simulation runs, you should dispatch 1200 runs to be on the safe side. The job loss comes from a) machine being switched off b) machine having all sorts of random troubles (disk full, some weird software interaction) c) some jobs take awfully long to execute, so when 99% of your other jobs are done, you just need to kill the others.
  • Sometimes you rather launch the job locally and wait two days rather then spend half a day on preparing and testing the batch submission and get the results next morning (my time is more valuable than the CPU time...)

All in all, you get lots of CPU, but low reliability. Which is fine for many applications. Additionally, not only you prevent energy wastage, but you also use the hardware more efficiently (so that the brand new quad core of the dpts secretary actually gets used in a reasonable way).
By the way -- our admins hate it, when Windows computers are being switched off. They run the updates at night, as during the day the users are likely to stop an update that takes to long. I was being bashed for switching off computers during night :-)
j.

Re:Turning PCs into a grid (2, Informative)

terraformer (617565) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339763)

You are absolutely wrong. A system like that is the exact opposite of efficient if you are leaving the PCs on *solely for the purposes of the cluster*. Grid computing is only efficient when you take what is under utilized and put it to work. The energy in any PC (server or desktop) can be split into two parts. Overhead and active. All of the overhead is what the PC consumes when it is idle (~0% utilization). All of the active is the power between idle and max consumption. On your typical desktop PC, more than 60-70% of the energy is wasted overhead (conversion losses and platform power). By amortizing that overhead between TWO tasks, and putting the CPU/GPU to work when sitting there idle, you are far more efficient than when simply at idle. ie; You are still benefitting from the idle by having a ready PC to compute your next command AND the work performed for the cluster. But you are not more efficient per work unit than a super computer with it's low relative overhead when only running ONE task, the cluster computing. This is because super computers have more overhead but they can amortize that overhead over a large number of CPUs with a high compute capacity.

Re:Turning PCs into a grid (4, Informative)

jw3 (99683) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339991)

The computers are not being left *solely* for the purposes of the cluster. The policy of the university admins is to leave them overnight for updates, and anyway the users don't like to turn them off (so they don't have to wait for the computer to boot up in the morning). Therefore we are utilising what sits there idle anyway. Furthermore, anyway you don't take into account the overhead of buying a supercomputer / cluster with 1000+ nodes in the first place -- and we are utilising what has already been payed for (both in terms of money from the university and in terms of energy used / CO2 emission that took to produce the units). Finally, buying a supercomputer / cluster is, due to the necessary bureaucracy involved in expensive investments, a major pain in the ass and also a system-administrative effort.

Of course, this solution cannot replace a proper cluster -- I have already outlined why, and also I agree with you in puncto efficiency. But if you have a bunch of PCs sitting around idle at night, and need calculations -- this may be a cheap and quick solution.

j.

Re:Turning PCs into a grid (3, Informative)

walshy007 (906710) | more than 5 years ago | (#27340025)

1. paragraph tags make posts as long as yours easier to read, for future note

2.Your essential point is it's more efficient to use one presumably NUMA supercomputer to complete a task, which may or may not be the case depending on the supercomputer and the task given, but the point is.. they don't have a supercomputer, and likely don't have the funding for one.

Using their spare pc's at night in a clustered environment would be one of the most cost-efficient things they could do in so far as hardware purchasing, considering they already need and have the pc's setup in the right configuration

we don't all have a 128-cpu onyx 3800 gargantuan tower sitting in our closets for this kind of computing, we do tend to have at least a few relatively fast desktops available which would otherwise be off or idling.

Not where I live!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27339441)

If I shut down my PC , and save say 500w/h, then my electrical heater uses 500w/h extra to keep the temprature in the room at the same level.

Also, most electrisity here in Norway comes from Hydro-plants.

overnight updates (1)

DrPatrickBarry (1136905) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339463)

I was on a contract at a company in Chester who actually disabled the shut down functionality in hundreds of XP machines. The reason overnight updates. crazy the cost of electricity

BUY software to shut down a PC?? (2, Interesting)

LoadWB (592248) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339473)

The ROI article mentions a product which you BUY to shut down your PCs.

I have a free solution:

shutdown -s -t 0 -f -m

You can schedule that at your server to force all computers to shut down at a specified time.

Something along the lines of

for /f "skip=3 tokens=1 delims=\" %m in ('net view') do shutdown -s -t 0 -f -m %m

Now, you could be nice and change -t 0 to something like -t 45 and give any poor sucker at a terminal a chance to shutdown -a, or at least close programs. (There will be one error at the end for the success notice.)

I do not recommend using that on a network without some tweaking: it will also shut down servers which show up in net view. Just a basic idea, and I do use a modified version of it at a couple of sites.

Even a scheduled wol.exe could run to make sure computers are able to run updates overnight.

Or you could push out a group policy that forces suspend after an hour of inactivity, and sets Windows Update to wake the computer to run. No fuss, no muss.

Now, what did all that cost us?

Re:BUY software to shut down a PC?? (3, Informative)

totally bogus dude (1040246) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339775)

Not so good with Vista though, as the warning dialog appears in another desktop. Part of that secure desktop thingy for UAC prompts and the like. You get a program appear in the taskbar but unless you actually notice it and click on it you'll never know your PC is about to shut down.

Your basic point is correct though, but I think a lot of organisations prefer to buy stuff than have in-house staff capable of writing even simple scripts like this. Presumably it's for the same reason they'd rather pay some consulting company loads of money to build an SOE we could've done ourselves: if it's outsourced to a high-priced company, it must be better!

I didn't RTFA, but does the product they're suggesting produce pie charts? That's probably the answer.

PC power management sucks... (1)

hamster_nz (656572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339475)

I still can't understand why when my PC is shutdown it draws more than a (compact fluorescent) light bulb... it metered at 19W. 74W on (and idle), 19W off, pathetic!

BTW my cell phone charger didn't register at all....

Oh, that is right, you have to draw less than 20W to put an energy star sticker on it.

Re:PC power management sucks... (2, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339507)

Something is wrong with your PC or its setup. There is no reason it should draw more than a small trickle when shut down. Mine measures 0 watts when shut down. Now it isn't actually zero, the PC does draw a tiny bit unless I throw the hard switch on the powersupply, but that means it is less than a watt. That's how it should work when actually shut down. There is only a tiny bit of power drawn for things like charging the battery and the ability to do wake-on-LAN and such. 19 watts sounds like you have it suspended or something. Where it has shut down a large part of its components, but is still running in a low power state (RAM is being refreshed and such).

So this isn't a PC power management problem, this is a problem with your particular PC.

Re:PC power management sucks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27339615)

How are you measuring the consumption?
Are you aware of the power factor?
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/electric/powfac.html

If your meter reads 19W but with your supply has a power factor of 0.05 when idle that still means little consumption but bad measurement from the meter.

A trick: For a computer, that produces no usable mechanical work, the produced heat is equal to de power consumption.

If the computer and power source are cold, means little consumption.

getting to work with public transportation... (1)

pmarini (989354) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339485)

will save even more...

if By turning off unused machines and practicing proper PC power management, companies stand to save more than $36 per desktop PC per year., then I guess that by simply going to work with public transportation and leaving the car at home (or simply not having one) will allow you to leave the computer on (and that of your colleague too)...
I find TFA rather silly given that most modern computers (especially laptops, which are becoming de-facto desktop replacements) consume very little power when left idle...
this is just another excuse by company management or IT admins to force policies on the users...

Dumb Terminals (4, Interesting)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339487)

Use dumb terminals, something like sunrays...

Configure them to shut off when idle instead of run a screensaver, when you power it back on it boots pretty much instantly and the user can re-enter their password (or reinsert their smartcard) and be back where they were, all the session state is stored on the server.

No need to keep machines on overnight for updates, because the terminals are dumb enough not to need updates...

Dumb terminals boot instantly, so no need to keep machines pre loaded to save booting time.

Put a power breaker by the door, last one out can turn the breaker off, first one in can turn it on (they used to do this in our computer labs at college)... There shouldn't need to be anything turned on in an office when there's no people there.

Re:Dumb Terminals (4, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 5 years ago | (#27340077)

It's sad that it's so easy to come up with ways to save power, but so few places and people actually implement them. I even have a colleague who refuses to turn off his computer, because "a 100 W more or less doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things". He's right about that, of course, but what he and many others don't realize is that doing the little things can actually affect the grand scheme of things. I, for example, use less than half as much electricity as the average household around me, simply because I use energy-efficient products and turn off most things when I'm not using them. It's not a lot of trouble, but if everybody did it, we could easily halve the power consumed by households!

Good idea, but pretty hard in practice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27339497)

You pay for peaks not valleys. Peak can happen at any time.

Obama's giving a speech, usage goes up 100% VS the same time last week. Knowing 'when' to turn things off is at best a guess.

Powered down PCs don't get regular maintenance, data gathering metrics, and updates (which could be anything from package upgrades to SSH'ing into 1000 machines and running some shell command) that happen to groups of machines. Configuring these machines to catch up when they power back on is not trivial.

Anecdotal evidence has shown that server hardware doesn't like being constantly turned on then off.

The world is getting flatter every day. Predicting low usage is not as easy as what time of day it is anymore. Did you know France was having an election that night?

Your software may cache content while it's running, allowing it to serve content faster. This cache has to either persist after turning the computer off, or you just wait for it to get to a steady state.

We've experimented w/ CPU power saving states, but the time it takes to power back up to full is a noticeable hit, and not all hardware/CPU combination allow this.

------
Hardware is getting better at letting people tune power usage, and power usage is a HUGE $$$ sink, so *trust me* corporations are looking into it. It's just not as easy as "duh, just turn it off". Doable and useful, just not trivial at a large scale.

BTW, we calculate approx 3 years on = buying the computer, counting the AC+power.

Screensavers & ET (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27339539)

Can everyone please turn off their fucking screensavers and just configure your screen to blank out, your monitor to shut off, and suspend the computer if you can too?

Hey geniuses-- there's no point to having your CPU heat up the planet when you create CO2 to run the AC to cool down a room heated by a CPU which is burning fossil fuels to show some stunning complex 3d imagery to absolutely no one in an empty fucking room.

Thanks.

(Oh, and by the way-- SETI@Home is a bullshit waste of time too. It's not like the rest of us are burning vats of gasoline in our backyards to summon unicorns, so please don't fuck up my planet with your random wild-stab-in-the-dark geektard fantasies either. Let's do the math. Odds of SETI@Home finding ET: Who the fuck knows? Odds of SETI@HOME helping to fuck up planet: 100%. Stop it.)

Re:Screensavers & ET (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27339593)

I bet you're the same fucker that didn't buy asteroid insurance when Optimus showed up in town, right?

Vast underestimation (5, Insightful)

tygerstripes (832644) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339613)

This doesn't take into account the vast, vast amount of time, energy and resources wasted by people who don't know how to use the fucking things properly in the first place. Let's start there before we get to titivating with power-management.

I've lost count of the number of times I've had to show people how to do the simplest things, to save them hours of wasted effort each week. This usually leads to me writing explicit instructions and disseminating to those concerned but, ultimately, people just don't care (and I have trained people for a living with notable success, so it's not a "techie-personality pissing people off" thing).

Power-management? How about education. If every office-worker were to spend one day a year going through their daily grind with someone sat beside them who knows how to use their PC's potential (and how to explain it), productivity would double. I'm not just slagging off my luddite colleagues here; I know there are things I could do better, and would genuinely welcome the attention of someone who could show me how.

Sorry to vent my frustrations here, but it's that or do it at work. To put it bluntly: nice study, but frankly you're just pissing in the ocean.

Re:Vast underestimation (1)

bertok (226922) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339931)

At least 50% of office workers, even in IT, don't use cut-and-paste to move bits of text from one place to another. The number of times I've seen someone oh-so-slowly type in a piece of data they have in an email right in front of their face just stuns me. And they make typos. Lots of them. Sometimes they correct the typos (slowly), sometimes they don't.

Even if you're too lazy to remember the keyboard shortcuts, there's at least two different ways to copy with just the mouse in most Windows applications: select & drag OR select, right-click->copy, right-click->paste.

In the vast majority of business office settings, every employee has been sitting in front of a computer for about a decade now and yet many have failed to grasp even that most basic skill.

To say that one could "double" productivity is a massive understatement.

This stuff should have been on equal footing with "Mathematics" and "English" in school curricula for two decades now. On par with learning to read & write. How can one claim to even have an education without serious computer literacy?

A problem (1)

Tailsfan (1200615) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339631)

You see our computer has a power supply that makes it an incredible bitch to turn on after you turn it off. We have to open it up to fix it usually.

cost efficiency? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27339643)

If the computers take a minute or more to boot up, it's simply not cost effective to turn them off at night.
Overnight, a computer with reasonable powersaving features - monitor off, cpu scaled down, harddrives turned off - will use a few kilowatt hours of power, with power locally available for around 14c per kw/h. Our workers are being paid around 30 cents per minute, just to be there.

Some of the older computers we have in use (3ghz P4s, so not too underpowered) take three or four minutes to boot up, which makes it much cheaper just to leave them on overnight.

The other option is having an automated shutdown after closing and Wake On Lan before anybody arrives in the morning...but as we only have 40 or so work stations, it isn't a huge problem yet.

Re:cost efficiency? (1)

Evtim (1022085) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339955)

So, you want to tell me that every minute of your workers time is spend on....work? Only with such premise you have the right to do your math the way you did. Are you from this planet? I find the comparison between wages per minute and cost of electricity per minute absolutely ridiculous. So, the employees never ever WASTE even a single minute during the working day? They never chat a bit with a colleague, never have coffee, never have a smoking pause, never go to the toilet, never climb staircase..... Gosh, when I come to work i directly go to the PC and turn it on. Then I have to remove my coat, hang it, make coffee and visit the privy - it takes minimum 5-6 minutes to do all this. By the time I am back the PC is ready for work. Why do westerners (especially Americans)love to give (more like hammer) the (false) impression that they do useful work every second of their working day? I don't buy it folks, I have plenty of work experience in the west already. You only fool yourselves...

I didn't really get this at first. (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339657)

So I went to the linked article. Still didn't make sense. Especially the phrase "computers that are powered on but not in use." Then I went into the report the story is based on and it finally made sense. According to the report, 50% of people do not turn their computers when they leave work. So the computer stays on all night, or all weekend. Well those people are just fuckin' retarded.

Re:I didn't really get this at first. (2, Informative)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 5 years ago | (#27340133)

I disagree with that last statement. I'm doing some embedded development right now, and I leave my machines on overnight intentionally. Powering up the entire system to the point where I can continue from CoB yesterday would take 30 minutes or so. I'd chew through that $36-per-year savings in a few days, possibly one day if I'm working at a customer's site running at my external-billing rate rather than my internal rate.

And no, I can't just go get coffee while the machine boots itself. The applications interact with the target, and get completely hosed if the host or target machines go into power-save modes.

Re:I didn't really get this at first. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27340195)

So you're the exception. Hooray! Seriously, what's wrong with a receptionist turning off their computer that's used for email & a spreadsheet or two at night?

It does not save money, it's a lie. (1)

Tyrannicalposter (1347903) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339663)

It takes about ten minutes for my PC to boot and for me to start all my programs.
10 minutes * 240 work days = 40 hours a year.

At 5 minutes, that's 20 hours a year. That a lot of wasted productivity to save $30.

On the reg yesterday... (2, Interesting)

fprintf (82740) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339671)

So this was on the Reg yesterday, and the comments were all virtually the same, on two variations:

1. The company has to pay people to sit around while PCs power up and down, eliminating any benefit from powering down the PCs since people are so much more expensive.
2. The company pushes updates and such automatically at night when computer/network usage is low, making it less expensive (again, saving money over power saved) than pushing the updates when people turn on their computers in the morning.

I turn most of my computers off at home and work because I hate wasting the power, and I have a problem with my home PC keeping the fan on in sleep mode. On my laptop I put it in sleep mode, plugged into the wall. I have no idea how much power this uses, but I do it so that I get a quick restart in the morning for checking slashdot @ breakfast. It bothers me that I might be wasting a few dollars per month keeping it in sleep rather than hibernate (which doesn't work on my machine - Ubuntu on a IBM T30) or full shutdown.

More co-operation from BIOS manufactures (3, Interesting)

Air-conditioned cowh (552882) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339719)

As a Linux user I am used to laptops and desktops never quite working because the BIOS power management only works with Windows.

There are two possible reasons for that. One is that the open source software hasn't been written yet to take advantage of published APIs or, another possibility is that the manufacture is hiding it's APIs to make it really difficult to use anything except Windows to manage the system power.

If it is the latter then in it seems to me highly irresponsible on the part of the hardware manufactures. How to save energy when their hardware is not being used is really not something to be hiding for any reason these days.

I realise I don't exactly represent a significant number of users here. I'm just thinking in terms of what I can do to save energy at my own desktop (apart from the obvious switching stuff off when not in use!) and what's in the way. And Windows-centric BIOS's seem to be the main culprit.

I wonder how many of these computers... (4, Interesting)

billius (1188143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339737)

are malware-laden Windows boxes at small businesses with little or no regular IT Staff. I did contract IT work for small business a while back and some of the computers I had to deal with were borderline unusable. In some cases, a full reboot meant a full 15 minutes before the computer was in some semblance of working order again. That's definitely enough time to make a less savvy user want to just leave the thing on overnight and only shutdown/reboot when you really had to. And of course many of these folks didn't want to hear about how their super-awesome toolbars were the root of the problem.

Re:I wonder how many of these computers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27339871)

As IT staff I can guarantee you my computer is not malware laden. However, it does take 10 minutes to boot cold turkey (BIOS > Windows > Login > Desktop). Something holds up the log in on my account, even though I've removed Nero (a perpetual source of problems while shutting down [WMS Idle]), killed all the preloading software (Adobe, OpenOffice, etc). We don't use roaming profiles on the desktops.

As far as costs saved, when my computer was shockable (it'd reboot when shocked, due to the fact that Apevia didn't properly ground the case), I lost way more productivity. 10 minutes to reboot; would normally happen at that worst time of the day, sometimes multiple times. To be fully up and running it was a total of like 20 minutes per restart.

What about servers? (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339747)

Surely they account for a larger amount than desktops. I can point out racks where there is so little access at night I am surprised the drives don't sleep.

I am very sure if you looked at every nook and cranny you can find waste. In business areas this occurs for two reasons, the first "I'm not paying for it" and the second being "too afraid to ask if its ok". You could toss in "too stupid to know" and "no one high up will make a decisions" but it really doesn't matter. Waste is built into the system.

Newer desktops sleep. I don't know of a single desktop where I work that doesn't sleep, let alone the LCD panel goes to sleep as well. So were they playing with old style computers that cannot sleep? I guess there may be a lot of them out there or worse, new ones configured completely wrong.

Obvious Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27339749)

Yes, I have paid handsomely for software which will automatically shut down and restart my computer at appropriate times. There is a bug however, the computer never starts at the time I designate...

Climate Change Happens in Cycles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27339771)

Why do people make such a big deal about it. We're all gonna snuff it at some stage anyway. Might as well make the most of things while we still can.

Boinc (1)

janwedekind (778872) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339865)

Apart from using CPU frequency scaling, shutting down unused PCs, and using thin clients, you can setup Boinc [bakerlab.org] on your computer.

grid computing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27339877)

just think of what all that wasted computer power could do for the grid computing network.

Whoa. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339909)

Let this be a lesson. Don't stay in a sealed room with a PC. You will suffocate.

In the immortal words of Golden Boy... (1)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339933)

Save Energy! Conversation is Cool! *Powers down server without telling anyone 12 hours before big final project is due.*

Not convinced - but what about Sleep Mode? (2, Interesting)

LordHaart (1364019) | more than 5 years ago | (#27339989)

I don't think that this is in the company's best interest. $36 a year is 10c a day, and even if the machine boots in 1 minute, that's ~$20/60 = 33c of wasted employee time. So there's not that much incentive (carbon trading may change this). I'd be interested to see the effect of Sleep mode, however, as that boots much faster.

Wake on Lan - boot before you get to work (1)

frith01 (1118539) | more than 5 years ago | (#27340095)

I dont know why someone hasnt designed an easier to setup method to have pc's wake on lan signal boot the hard drive, so that systems can be powered on at 5am or such, prior to folks getting to work.

That would eliminate most folks problems of waiting for their computer to boot up when they get to work.

User training, indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27340097)

I once got a call to setup an unused PC for a new user. I asked the caller to turn it on and give me the IP address.

The pc was already on. The previous user had left the company two months before and just logged out and turned the *monitor* off.

Nobody in that office noticed it'd been running all this time.

Displayed at home regularly here (2, Insightful)

smchris (464899) | more than 5 years ago | (#27340099)

When my wife bangs her mouse around at home complaining it takes so long for the "screensaver" to give back her desktop. Clearly, the place she works hasn't set any power saving on their machines or she would know what is going on. I believe with about 500 employees at their peak last year, maybe they could have fired a couple fewer on their recent rounds of layoffs if they had actually used power saving.

Power (4, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | more than 5 years ago | (#27340145)

And any company THAT bothered by this would be using more power-efficient PC's anyway. Face it, 99% of staff using a computer as part of their daily work don't need a full desktop PC and certainly don't need dual-core systems with Gbs of RAM. So instead of faffing about trying to recoup some of the loss from buying that terrible hardware in the first place (monetary costs, environmental costs, maintenance costs, etc.) they would be much better off buying some low-power desktops (like the Atom's, Via's etc.) and thus not pumping most of their electricity into heat wastage, fans, office cooling, etc. when they could just have a small 60W or so (maximum) PC that does the same jobs.

Those who are committed to their existing hardware - well, they should have been specifying and testing WOL, ACPI sleep, etc. in the first place if they wanted to make sure it worked in their particular environment. Chances are those stuck on old machines will have more problems trying to get the PC to sleep and to wake on cue than they would have just to buy a new cheap desktop. My pet hate is machines that won't WOL without having first been turned on manually - a power cut overnight (when the machines aren't on) means that the PC's just sit there and ignore WOL packets. And that is on fairly recent hardware (2 years old?). I know it's "wake" on LAN, but a full boot and complete shutdown (not sleep mode) will let it respond to WOL packets forever until the power disappears again.

I would hazard a guess that the following ALL save more power than would be saved by shutting off PC's overnight for a lot less hassle and inconvenience:

- Cutting off background services in Windows.
- Replacing hardware with more modern equipment.
- Disabling, centralising and/or just changing vendor of the antivirus programs to use less CPU, disk-access, etc.
- Replacing 10% of computers with a low-power alternative (even a laptop!)
- Turning off WAP's and other unnecessary networking hardware overnight.
- Turning the room temperature up/down by half a degree permanently (depending on the outside environment)
- Installing doors that shut themselves to keep hot/cold air in.
- Opening a couple of blinds/curtains to let sunlight into some of the less-used but still heated areas (cold-countries only) or fitting blinds/curtains to reduce the heat taken in from outside (hot-countries only).
- Training users to use shortcut keys instead of clicking the mouse for everything.
- Or removing that poxy plasma TV in the company reception which is on permanent loop playing to nobody.

The thing is, we take power so much for granted that when we get told to "save" it, we worry over the little bits (energy-saving bulbs) and completely forget about the larger draws (heating / cooling). $36 / year / PC is nothing, no matter the scale of the company. Even a 100 PC office (which could theoretically save $3600 / year) will probably spend multiples of that on heating/cooling, bringing someone in to do the work, or make multiples of that amount by selling off some of their old IT kit, fitting those light fittings that only switch on if someone is actually in an office, etc.

Getting businesses to understand means providing a valid, comparable reason. That normally means *money*. But even the green-friendly companies will save much, much, much, much more money by just replacing el-cheapo PC World computer with a decent low-power one and then selling off the old kit. If you do it right, you would even MAKE money by doing this (I know it's about £200/unit for a decent mini-ITX machine, and you could easily get that for a recent second-hand machine of good spec).

It's a *waste* of time. The proportion of power you save does not justify the effort to do it, especially not when a tiny, unnoticeable adjustment to a thermostat saves ten times the amount of power, and the hassle associated with implementing power-friendly PC's does not justify the end. Put a sign up and send a memo round to staff to turn off their PC's. Maybe even do a name-and-shame and print a list of everyone who's computer was still responding to ping at 10pm and pin it on the office noticeboard - the reaction you get and the power you save is the same, the effort put into it is absolutely minimal.

What a stupid story (1)

nightsweat (604367) | more than 5 years ago | (#27340161)

OK, so you turn off your PC's at night. And when do you run updates? Try running updates and patches during the day in most environments and you'll get lynched by the users.

Yes, there is Wake-on-LAN, but the technology is still spotty. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, and Im sure you're using some juice keeping the card alive to respond to the WoL request.

IT departments are the first cause... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27340175)

It dosn't matter. You can have a 15000 person panel of 'experts' on saving money and energy prove to a single company that they are wasting money, and could save 30% of their operating costs by powering down said unused computer.

but your typical large company IT group wont hear it. They want all the PCs turned on when their not in use.

I know, i work at one such company, that could save ~35% of their building operating costs if they turn off the machines not in use OVER NIGHT, and turn off the lights in the callcenters OVER NIGHT. but nope, they wont hear it.

The Math... (2, Interesting)

kenh (9056) | more than 5 years ago | (#27340183)

The article said:

All told, U.S. organizations will waste $2.8 billion to power 108 million unused machines this year.

and

By turning off unused machines and practicing proper PC power management, companies stand to save more than $36 per desktop PC per year.

When I multiply $36 in savings per PC times the 108 Million PCs being described, I get a possible savings of $3.88B, or about $1B more than the original article reported. We "waste" $2.8B, but we can "save" $3.88B by turning off unused PCs and practicing power management? Are the savings or the waste over-estimated? One has to be wrong...

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...