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Why IT Won't Power Down PCs

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the sheer-cussedness dept.

Power 576

snydeq writes "Internal politics and poor leadership on sustainable IT strategies are among the top reasons preventing organizations from practicing proper PC power management — to the tune of $2.8 billion wasted per year powering unused PCs. According to a recent survey, 42 percent of IT shops do not manage PC energy consumption simply because no one in the organization has been made responsible for doing so — this despite greater awareness of IT power-saving myths, and PC power myths in particular. Worse, 22 percent of IT admins surveyed said that savings from PC power management 'flow to another department's budget.' In other words, resources spent by IT vs. the permanent energy crisis appear to result in little payback for IT."

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IT is a customer service group (5, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 5 years ago | (#27600935)

Doubly so for IT Ops. If the business tells IT it wants PC's powered off when not in use, then it will happen. So far, for the most part, that businesses haven't asked. It's disingenuous to lay this problem at the feet of the IT department.

Re:IT is a customer service group (4, Insightful)

julesh (229690) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601035)

Good point.

Also worth considering is that if IT departments aren't introducing it because they're scared of losing budget flexibility, then this is a failure of the top level budgetting process. If I, as megacorp's IT director, introduce measures that save £2 million per annum off megacorp's energy bill, I should expect a little more flexibility in a couple of months time when I go to the board asking for extra cash for hardware upgrades. It sounds like this isn't happening.

Re:IT is a customer service group (4, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601043)

Additionally, if IT goes around imposing such a policy without the business asking for it, they'll open up a huge hornets' nest. The IT department can suggest it as a way for the business to save money, and maybe some IT departments have been lax in not doing so, but without the business actually telling them to do it IT is not going to. In fact, the business would be pretty pissed off if they did.

Re:IT is a customer service group (5, Interesting)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601713)

I implemented a nightly shut down policy for our users because I got sick and tired of them lying to me about the last time they rebooted their PC.

"Everything is running like crap"

"Have you rebooted?"

"Yeah, like 5 times."

*walk over to PC, bring up command prompt*

-net statistics server

"Statistics since 8:00AM at ."

*facepalm*

I pitched it to management as power savings, but really I could care less. I just wanted to have a way to force those bastards to reboot every night. And yes, it did make a pretty significant difference in the amount of support calls I got. I suppose you can thank Windows XP for saving power, haha.

PS-Is it wrong for a sysadmin to hate his user base? Even if they're really, really stupid, because your company is cheap and only hires incompetent morons (excluding the sysadmin, naturally...)?

Re:IT is a customer service group (4, Insightful)

Maclir (33773) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601111)

So, IT Departments aren't meant to be proactive and show initiative, and make the company more profitable?

Re:IT is a customer service group (3, Insightful)

paazin (719486) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601253)

Psh, that assumes you give a crap about the company you work for ;)

Re:IT is a customer service group (1)

zer0that (1418047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601429)

Or that you work for a small company in which that is possible. I work for a large multinational corporation which has many business units within it. Those business units must all agree, within a single geographic location, to approve any changes before the IT department can enact them. So typically, if you work for a corporation, the IT department is not suppose to be proactive and just go around changing things on its own, you know being proactive. Especially because issues arising from such changes would fall on the IT department, instead of the requesting business. My job, working for a cost center, is to keep things running so the people who make money can do so in peace. It is not that I do not

Re:IT is a customer service group (2, Insightful)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601331)

3AM. The phone rings.

On the other end is one of the few CxOs that actually does work.

"I'm trying to log into my system at work to finish up some vital reports for a meeting tomorrow and it doesn't seem to respond."
"Oh, that's our new power saving policy. All systems are powered off when not in use for 2 hours."
"Then you drive your ass to the building, turn on my PC, and before you leave my office, place your resignation on my desk." *click*

Re:IT is a customer service group (3, Insightful)

Thraxen (455388) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601543)

WOL?

Re:IT is a customer service group (2, Interesting)

Nos. (179609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601117)

The company I work for encourages all employees to shutdown their PCs at the end of the day. Once in a while they'll do a walk through at night and leave little reminders on any PCs they find still turned on.

There are some issues. For example, we use wake on LAN so that SMS can push patches during the night, but we don't have a way to go back and turn them off (some solutions are being looked at). As well, some IT personnel need to remote access to their desktop machines. A way to send a WOL packet to the machine at the initialization of the remote access session is also being looked at.

Generally though, it works well, though I haven't seen any stats on any savings. I think for most businesses, just this simple practice could realize significant savings though.

Re:IT is a customer service group (4, Informative)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601419)

WHOA, Whoa, whoa... You have SMS and wake on lan enabled and working and you can't get a simple batch file to remotely shut down the computers? Something is wrong with that; shutting down the computer is the EASY part.

First google result: http://www.astahost.com/info.php/shut-down-restart-log-off-xp-using-batch-file_t3715.html [astahost.com]

Re:IT is a customer service group (3, Informative)

furby076 (1461805) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601307)

I disagree with your point that it is not IT's fault. It is their fault. As the owners/managers of their department they should think of ways to help save the company money. They would know better then a CEO what the best computer practices are. Will powering down PCs each night hamper computer updates? What about people who want to remote in? These are decisions IT managers should make - and they should take the bull by the horns and make a smart decision before their boss makes a dumb one.

Think proactively not reactively and you will find yourself better situated in life. Go to your boss and say "hey I found out a way to save us 5% on our electricity bill, we can power off peoples desk computers" as opposed to your boss saying "hey how come i read an article about saving money on electricity simply by powering off our computers while you did not? OK now power off EVERYTHING at night"....which as you know is pretty DUMB.

Re:IT is a customer service group (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601459)

If the business tells IT it wants PC's powered off when not in use, then it will happen

Yes, but possibly at the average rate of about 4 minutes per PC, if they're running windows and a few do the usual thing of refusing to shutdown for ages.

Then there'll be the whole thing in the morning, when staff come in and complain they lost all their work (that they never understood how to save, so just left their wordprocessor running the whole time), or that they've forgotten their password and can't log in, and why won't you IT stop being awkward, and just tell me my password...?

I've seen this first hand (5, Interesting)

Critical Facilities (850111) | more than 5 years ago | (#27600981)

I worked as head of Critical Factilities Engineering for a major financial services provider with a 1 MM sq ft campus. There were just over 4000 employees on the campus, each one with at least 1 computer at his/her office/cube. After having a very expensive energy audit performed, a potential savings was (big surprise) shutting down PCs.

Despite calculating that the organization could save $75K annually (this was a conservative estimate), their marketing department put a stop to the idea. Why marketing? Because the company had just gone through a "rebranding" and the marketing department had designed a new screensaver for all workstations with the new logo/slogan. None of these computers were in client facing positions, so effectively, they were insistent on wasting energy to advertise....to themselves!

No, I'm not kidding.

Re:I've seen this first hand (5, Funny)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601151)

Hah, I have a similar story. We have a big fancy website, and the regional CEO, in an effort to drive traffic told IT to set a policy that forced everyone's home page to be our website.

So every time anyone opens a browser window, they go to that site. Hundreds and hundreds of workers, thousands and thousands of times a day, every single connection going out on one single IP address, resulting in exactly one unique page view, per day.

Re:I've seen this first hand (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601477)

We set our site as the home page for users - but we also filter out our subnet ranges for stats.

inflated numbers are useless numbers

the reason we set it as the home page is so everyone knows the site so they can help anyone who calls in

Re:I've seen this first hand (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601581)

Only useless when others know they're inflated.

Re:I've seen this first hand (1)

mtrachtenberg (67780) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601209)

Imagine a CEO that offered marketing the opportunity to "earn" half the savings from nightly shutdown energy savings, and then immediately reduced the marketing budget by, oh, I don't know, how's about maybe half the savings that would come from nightly shutdowns.

Re:I've seen this first hand (2, Insightful)

furby076 (1461805) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601367)

Something has to be missing from your reason. While people are dumb, why would someone have a need to advertise to their own employees at night when there isn't any employees? During the day the PCs would be running and the screen saver could advertise - but at 3 AM when pretty much nobody is around (or maybe a skeleton crew)? This just doesn't jive - and in all honesty as head of a department you should have presented common sense facts to the person in marketing or their boss.

Re:I've seen this first hand (3, Interesting)

contrapunctus (907549) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601417)

I wonder how much energy would be saved if Microsoft puts out a patch that forces monitors to shut down. I apologize for being ignorant on the subject. I always see winxp computers in computer labs with the XP logo screensavers going on indefinitely (I'm assuming the maintainers/admins are to blame). But if they were set by default to suspend the monitors and the admins don't do anything, a lot of energy could be saved.

Re:I've seen this first hand (1)

cve (181337) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601489)

Once the screensavers were deployed there were several complaints from people sensitive to the animations and screen flashing.

Re:I've seen this first hand (1, Interesting)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601539)

Now...

What is the cost of 4000 employees for 5 minutes of lost productivity?

If you are paying your employees only $800 a week, that's $100 a day, or $12 per hour, or a measly dollar lost $1.

So your cost is only $4,000 per day.

For 200 work days per year that would only be $800,000 in lost productivity.

To save $75,000.

Of course, most IT employees make a little bit over $800 a week.

Re:I've seen this first hand (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601597)

Whoops. Dang it. I meant $700 a week.

Well, reduce the time to 4 minutes and the math works out.

Basic point- I leave my PC at home on, because when I sit down, I want it to work immediately.

For my work PC that has a lot more network drive mapping, scripts, etc. to load before I can start working, the payoff is even bigger.

Classic (3, Insightful)

MasseKid (1294554) | more than 5 years ago | (#27600985)

It's nothing more than the classic "Not my problem". It's a real shame that there are so few people in the world today willing to do something about a problem that "isn't thier problem".

Desktop hibernation support sucks terribly. (5, Insightful)

legoboy (39651) | more than 5 years ago | (#27600987)

I'm sure it has nothing to do with bad hardware or bad drivers that randomly refuse to wake up from hibernation and the hassles and expense of supporting related issues.

Re:Desktop hibernation support sucks terribly. (3, Insightful)

qoncept (599709) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601107)

You say that (I assume) sarcastically, but I really think that's just the kind of detail management would ignore when making a decision like this.

Re:Desktop hibernation support sucks terribly. (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601289)

And the boot time of a PC can be considerable eating man-hours of billable time even for a small company.

Re:Desktop hibernation support sucks terribly. (1)

Whalou (721698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601629)

And the boot time of a PC can be considerable eating man-hours of billable time even for a small company.

That's why TFA mention having the power management software power on the computers before the employees show up for work and power them off at the end of the day.

You don't say..? (1)

qoncept (599709) | more than 5 years ago | (#27600995)

22 percent of IT admins surveyed said that savings from PC power management 'flow to another department's budget.'

No shit? What about hardware costs? Employee salaries? Cost of software licenses? Those too??? What are you, some sort of support department that doesn't sell your company's product??

Re:You don't say..? (4, Informative)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601207)

Depends on perspective, I guess. Since we are an IT board, I think it is good to point this out as an IT problem. If this were a management board, then the question would be how do you properly set up your budgets to hold folks accountable for the areas they should be held accountable for. I know in most organizations, an IT department could institute a power savings plan get no credit for the savings but be responsible for any expenses (new software) to help implement it. And if anything went wrong, some poor IT manager would be left hanging. Can you truly blame the manager for not wanting to stick his neck out for no reward?

Re:You don't say..? (3, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601345)

Where are you that savings to facilities means a savings to IT? Individual departments have their own budgets and little managers guard their little fiefdoms as much as they can. A savings of power would show up under what ever department is in control of the power.

In short, in many companies IT would be doing a whole lot of work so the Facilities manager can get a raise. Hell, IT might even get reprimanded for creating busy work for itself instead of focusing on core deliverables or some other bullshit.

Re:You don't say..? (1)

qoncept (599709) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601523)

I'm in an IT department with billable services. Since we bill the other departments, we are supposed to net $zero, and adjust our billing if we are making a profit or loss.

Remote Access ... (5, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601015)

As soon as I can apply a group policy to our Windows PCs to go to sleep yet still be available via RDP for end users without requiring them to jump through hoops or writing some script they have to run to trigger wake on lan, then I'll have our PCs use power saving.

Until then, they run all the time so when a user happens to be out of office and needs to access their desktop they can still VPN in and use RDP to get to their PC.

Feel free to point me at a graceful solution, but the best I've seen so far is a web page to send the wake on lan packet. Thats nice and all, but I'd rather just pay the power bill instead, its far easier than explaining it to everyone who isn't a geek.

Re:Remote Access ... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27601143)

Why not have users RDP into a server? With roaming profiles, the user should get the same desktop & apps available to them from a server-based RDP session as they get on their desktop. And their files are on the network, right?

Re:Remote Access ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27601445)

wrong! users never save to the server. that would make my life to easy.

Re:Remote Access ... (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601547)

I had that problem for some time, until I finally laid down the law and said "Save the damned files to this folder, or they won't get backed up." Of course, I talked to my manager, explained the situation, and got her to agree to this fundamental tenet "We do not back up data sitting on workstations".

After that we had one person who was regularly saving files all over the damned place lose a couple of files they had been working on, in their own teary-eyed words, "for weeks", and after I reiterated the policy once more, no one in the last year has complained. If they have lost files, they at least don't have the balls to blame it on me.

Re:Remote Access ... (1)

Lord_Frederick (642312) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601505)

This may be a shock, but some IT managers don't have a clue. We have around 10k desktops and users store their files locally. Our users connect to a terminal server, then start another RDP session to connect to their desktop.

Re:Remote Access ... (1)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601511)

That's a whole 'nother ball of wax...

now you are support to desktop enviros for every user
software has to be installed to the server (and sometimes it is licensed different for desktop/rdp)
roaming profiles is a real pita especially for occasional remote access
and there are many other issues.

Re:Remote Access ... (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601519)

You put a bunch of graphics artists on a terminal server and see how it goes.

Re:Remote Access ... (1)

zer0that (1418047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601559)

Typically, at least in the business I work for, users remoting into their own desktop are doing so because their specific machine is setup to handle certain functions, elevated rights, a piece of software that the license was only purchased for one machine, etc. We do have terminal servers for people with generic profiles, however the list of people with custom setups is growing quickly. There are also times when the business does approve a change, perhaps to the network, the users then login to their individual PC's from home to test functionality. So its important to have them be able to reach their own PC.

Re:Remote Access ... (5, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601571)

Do you have any idea how many apps can't be used on a terminal server due to licensing restrictions?

Re:Remote Access ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27601609)

Roaming profiles? Do such things exist free-range in the wild? I thought that second radio button was just greyed out permanently, a remnant placeholder from some enterprising UI intern, unable to be toggled even by Bill Gates himself.

Personally, I'm thrilled that my user data is spread across 40 PCs in 5 organizations, on machines that are never formatted, ever.

Re:Remote Access ... (1)

qoncept (599709) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601149)

Not sure if it's an option, but we have laptops.

Re:Remote Access ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27601283)

Typical IT answer. Question from OP:

How do I automatically wake up desktops for RDP sessions?

Answer from parent:

Use a laptop instead of a desktop.

Re:Remote Access ... (2, Interesting)

qoncept (599709) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601385)

Yeah, I gave a possible solution to the problem instead of answering the question. Shame on me.

Q: How do I eat spaghetti with a spoon?
A: Use a fork.

It works on a level for saving electricity, but the major driving factor here was business continuity and disaster recovery. If the building burns down 3000 people can work from home. If your building burns down, everyone is shit out of luck.

Re:Remote Access ... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27601541)

Q: How long would it take to cover the expense of scrapping every desktop machine for a laptop instead?
A: Mascarpone cheese is actually a form of cream.

Re:Remote Access ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27601243)

VMWare VDI

Re:Remote Access ... (1)

JohnnyBGod (1088549) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601375)

Do they need to access their, and only their desktop? Does a file server not work? If not, isn't it possible to have a "desktop server" of sorts?

Re:Remote Access ... (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601681)

You can put a PC to sleep and keep the NIC alive, thus RDP will be able to wake it.

It's what I do.

Two Words: Remote Desktop (4, Interesting)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601031)

99% of the time, if I'm not sitting in front of it reading Slashdot, my work PC is merrily chugging along folding proteins [stanford.edu] and using up company electricity.

But that other 1% of the time, I'm using it from home, because I've gotten called up to fix some urgent client problem.

To save that $75 worth of electricity, my company would have to require that I drive in to the office every time a client has a hiccup that I can diagnose and fix in five minutes. I don't get paid by the hour, but I'm fortunate enough to work someplace that values my time -- including my non-work time. They would consider that $75 to be money well spent to keep me able, and most importantly *willing*, to take time out on a Saturday to fix a simple problem.

Re:Two Words: Remote Desktop (4, Insightful)

qoncept (599709) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601217)

To save that $75 worth of electricity ...

Or, to save half, disallow installing software that sits there and uses 100% of your available CPU time.

Re:Two Words: Remote Desktop (1)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601557)

Or, to save half, disallow installing software that sits there and uses 100% of your available CPU time.

Fair enough... except that they've also decided that micromanaging developers' workstations (beyond the mandatory virus/worm/trojan scanner) doesn't do much to help productivity, either.

Re:Two Words: Remote Desktop (1)

godrik (1287354) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601359)

wake on LAN ?

Re:Two Words: Remote Desktop (2, Insightful)

Joe U (443617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601611)

When WOL works, it's amazing, when it doesn't, it's amazing ly full of suck.

I had my media center set to sleep after an hour, until I found out that the extender won't wake it up. (Way to go linksys). Current system throttles down, goes into away mode, but can't quite make that last step to sleep, at least it's a start.

Re:Two Words: Remote Desktop (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27601703)


wake on LAN ?

Requires a special packet sent from within that LAN. Not something that can be pulled off from home, unless you have a second computer running 24/7 sitting in the same network as the first one with a utility that you can run remotely just to turn your computer on.

Wake on LAN could have been a good idea, but the implementation is so narrow as to be pointless.

Duh. (4, Interesting)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601045)

It's a pain in the ass, no one really cares, and the first time some manager had data loss from a machine shutting itself down, the policy would end.

If we all sat down and set up our networks so that everything correctly booted and shutdown when the network told it to, we could attach power management stuff to the whole network...Assuming that everything correctly saved state when it shut down, so that people didn't lose all their work when their machine automatically shut itself off.

They're treating this like it's just lazy admins, but its a knotty problem, and not a particularly critical one. In datacenters the computers are the primary energy draw, in office buildings it's light and climate control, and, judging by the heating bills in the winter, the computers aren't really heating the building up that much.

Re:Duh. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601297)

I find myself wondering how much of a thermostat adjustment this is equivalent to (then geography gets involved, some buildings get electric winter heat, others get extra AC load).

Re:Duh. (1)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601389)

The amount of money saved in time I (and my coworkers) _DONT_ spend getting my machine back into where I left it the day before, outweighs the power concern. That's without the dangers of coupled systems behaving erratically on startup. Developers depend on a multitude of supporting software, hardware, and networks that are not of the same quality or of the same mindfulness of state.

Useless.... (0, Redundant)

Vrallis (33290) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601053)

Now that really was a useless study. Internal politics and poor leadership in IT are the cause of almost every single problem in IT.

Re:Useless.... (3, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601159)

I think you mean

Internal politics and poor leadership in [almost every business] are the cause of almost every single problem in [almost every business].

From GM to AIG, from the US Senate to the government of Zimbabwa; that statement works for almost everything.

I just don't get it (4, Informative)

York the Mysterious (556824) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601065)

I'm always amazed when large shops have no power savings features enabled. A lot of it has to do with the inability to manage power saving features from within Group Policy. Thankfully Vista added this ability. There is also a tool created for the EPA that adds this functionality to GP. It's a bit of a hack, but it does work. I'm always amazed why companies don't at least turn on the power saving features on their default profiles when they set them up. You set the monitor to turn off after 10 minutes, and you switch from the Always On profile to the Portable / Laptop Profile. Changing the profile enables SpeedStep which saves about 4W at idle and every time the monitor turns off you're saving 30-40 watts depending on the model. It takes about 20 minutes to do this before you deploy and image. It'll pay for itself in a large company in a day and has no impact on automatic updates or virus scans.

Re:I just don't get it (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601635)

And then you get calls from people wondering why their system's "shut down" regularly and you get tired of dealing with it so you just turn off powersavers and hibernation.

Incentives (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601067)

"Worse, 22 percent of IT admins surveyed said that savings from PC power management 'flow to another department's budget.'"

In other words, they aren't incentivized to care.

After-hours Maintenance (2, Insightful)

ShadyG (197269) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601091)

I don't work that side of the IT group (I'm in development), but in a few places I've worked the workstations needed to be kept alive to perform maintenance at times when it would not affect employee work. Things like asset tracking, system/firewall upgrades, application software install and upgrades, disk optimization, etc.

It's like the problem with unplugging TVs when not in use. You can't use a remote control to turn it on if the remote sensor is not getting power first. And help desk really doesn't want to have to walk around the building flipping switches by hand.

Re:After-hours Maintenance (2, Informative)

chaffed (672859) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601621)

The issue with powering on machines is solved with wake on LAN.

However, it seems everyone has implemented this differently. I administer a Dell shop. Not all the workstations seem to respond to the same magic packet. The division is across NIC chipset manufacturers. The Broadcoms work one way and the Intels work another.

In my experience, leaving the machines one is still the best solution.

Oh please... (1)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601157)

Since when is IT given an electric bill. It's not like an individual department a line item electric bill they have to budget for. It all comes out of the same operational overhead, same as water and heating. Besides, the vast majority of computer users aren't in IT anyway, so why would IT be billed for non IT workers.

We actually have signs that have just appeared showing a $600k/year savings if everyone shut off their computers. These numbers are obtained during long weekends when an extra effort is taken to ensure people power down.

Well (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27601163)

You can pry my uptime from my cold, fat, greasy dead hands.

a solution (1)

fl!ptop (902193) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601165)

sign up for a boinc project [berkeley.edu] , then your computer won't be 'unused,' enabling you to run it 24/7 w/o guilt.

Another excuse (3, Interesting)

meerling (1487879) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601169)

There are a number of admins out there that won't power down any server even if it's the only way to fix a problem that's trashing their files and network.
Sometimes it's because they don't 'have the authority' to down the machines.
Other times it's because they get unrealistic bonuses for unbroken uptime, and they are greed cretins who'd rather see their work go down the tubes for money.

I know that it's rarely an issue with downing non-servers, and most admins are responsible as well as being the rarely disputed managers of their boxes, but there are way too many fools and scum.

If you're curious, yes, I've dealt with a large number of those two types I just listed. They have no pride in their work, and give all admins a bad name. But that's all fodder for a different rant.

Make it part of logout (4, Interesting)

Twillerror (536681) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601171)

The OS and hardware should incorporate power saving into machines that are logged out.

Our users are instructed to logout, but to leave their machines on for patches and the like.

If the OS could detect when the user was logged out and no services in the background where doing things we could
really turn down the machine.

A logged off machine's cpu could virtually go to sleep, the harddrives slow to 5200rpm or lower, the monitor go to sleep, and so on.

yes it's not as good as shutting the computer completely off, but maybe with some better types of wake on lan we can get as close as possible. Or scheduled turn on and off. Like tell windows to shut off from 7:00 P.M. till 1:00....turn on to get updates and then shut back down.

Ulitmately this just needs to be the default for future version of OSs like windows and the like. I think we really have to make it a brain dead for IT as possible. I've got enough other crap to worry about...although I do worry about the world engergy problems.

context (1)

bugi (8479) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601211)

Unless one's job is task oriented, then one will necessarily leave apps open to maintain context.

How many editing sessions do you leave open when you quit for the day/fall asleep at your keyboard?

Re:context (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601501)

Use screen or equivalent on Linux/UNIX for session recovery, or ise a decent editor that retains your editing state between sessions, and you won't have to leave any sessions open. :-)

If it had power it was being used (2, Interesting)

mediis (952323) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601219)

... and thus could not be moved. So IT powered everything where they wanted to make a squatters claim to data center floor space. My favorite example was an SGI Challenge, we hadn't used SGI in 3 years, let alone the Challenge. The only thing plugged into this thing was power, no other cables of any type.

Fifty cents a week (1)

Monkey_Genius (669908) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601225)

That's what the cost-savings per computer would be, $0.50 a week, $26.00 per year, per computer.
More opinion here [computerworld.com] .

Just reread the referenced threads.... (1)

javelinco (652113) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601233)

Just reread the referenced threads - and noticed that both articles were roundly rejected as being complete bunk. Nice to see that this article has managed to get itself related to THOSE winners. Whoohoo!

I blame Microsoft (3, Interesting)

snsh (968808) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601239)

Nothing built into XP, Vista, or Group Policy supports time-of-day power management. Many cases the user never wants their PC to sleep/hibernate from 9-5, but after 7 it's fair game. Microsoft doesn't address such a situation. It's either all-or-nothing. The alternative is to spend a lot of time/money acquiring some 3rd party tool like Verdiem, but buying an enterprise tool, versus enabling a feature you already have, means most people won't do it.

Re:I blame Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27601493)

Are there seriously no free and easy tools to do that?

I wrote one ages ago as part of a computer lab package, and it was pretty trivial. Of course, it didn't have to care about powering down a computer where someone left work open.

So true about the zero payback... (2, Insightful)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601241)

Saving money out of our power budget just constricts our budget for the next year. We can't re-allocate those funds to buying more servers, or upgrading our core switches, or even getting more cat6 laid out in our server room.

So I think the article is correct, in that I'll just keep wasting energy and allow my budget not to get constricted.

Re:So true about the zero payback... (1)

CognitiveResonanceSe (1210428) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601473)

What? You say that if you save money on energy, you can't buy new hardware. But if you spend the money on energy, you also can't buy new hardware. So either way, you are farked: you aren't getting new hardware. So why not save the energy?

Re:So true about the zero payback... (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601549)

Because then the other departments see how our budget becomes more 'flexible' and that's a bad place to be in.

If people know you can make cuts, they will force the cuts on your department rather than go after marketing come layoff time (which has been lately). IT is a cost center and business departments bill out to that, so obviously IT is also an area where it's looked to get a cut often.

Re:So true about the zero payback... (1)

CognitiveResonanceSe (1210428) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601643)

I wonder if you even have a job: flexible, adaptable, people are going to get new hardware when they make a reasonable business case for it, and people who just spend money for the sake of being able to spend more money need to be fired. A strange idea these days -- AIG, Goldman Sachs, etc -- but hey, I guess I'm just a simple traditionalist.

power diverting? (1)

furby076 (1461805) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601249)

22 percent of IT admins surveyed said that savings from PC power management 'flow to another department's budget.

I am sure there are some shops like this, but overall a business does not manage the power of PCs for an IT budget. They pay the power bill. Now the server rooms needs to account for power but that is because they need enough juice to run their machines - but that is different then PCs. Servers typically need to be up 24/7

Enforcebility? (1)

S7urm (126547) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601269)

How would you enforce that policy?
A 3 strike policy before RDAs or something?
probably not.

You have to look at the industry to be able to properly view this kind of question because in the end, as all of us know, IT can only do so much to influence the users we support. And lemme tell ya, we tried a Power Down policy here, and in this industry we don't get the most technical people for users, so people were hibernating their PCs, or rebooting, some just turning off their monitors et.al

Not only that, but once it was realized it wasn't working, my first question came about. What do we do to punish users who don't power down? Can you imagine the HR nightmare that would spawn from someone getting disciplined over powering down? (And no I don't think that is "OK", just the reality of the situation".

It's sad that businesses not only don't seem to care about cost saving measures, but also don't prop people up when they FIND those cost savings for them......innovation is dying because no one is nurturing it

Old Attitudes.. (4, Insightful)

coniferous (1058330) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601273)

It's funny, I work at a school where all the pcs shut off at 8:00 every night.

The major push to make it that way was provided for by the students. They were very concerned by the energy use of our computers. Good for them.

No incentive for those who do not pay per kwh... (3, Insightful)

chaffed (672859) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601329)

I work in a high rise office building. Our power is included in our lease for the space. There is no incentive for me to power down workstations at night. That being said, you could argue that I would be helping everyone for the greater good. It still comes down to me expending resources without any direct benefit either way. The lease is not cheaper if I use less power. If my office paid per kwh, then it makes sense. Till then, my workstations stay on at night.

Oh and my workstations do not sit idle. Full anti-virus scans and updates are performed in off hours in order to minimize impact during the work day.

Re:No incentive for those who do not pay per kwh.. (1)

man_ls (248470) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601555)

This is precisely why I stopped bothering with power schemes for the network I manage: we don't pay for our power, and neither I personally nor my department stands to gain anything by the extra effort put forth to put that in place.

What about energy savings in heating? (2, Interesting)

yope (656090) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601347)

Leaving PC's on when they are not used is most probably a terrible waste, but I suspect that numbers about losses due to this are probably not very accurate. At least I have never seen evidence that those calculations take into account the simple fact that energy never dissapears, it only changes nature:

This way unused PC's basically transform electrical energy into heat... with 100% efficiency (!). In many parts of the world however, during important parts of the year, heating is necessary. Heating costs a certain amount of energy, whether it comes from burning gas or oil directly or from electricity is just a matter of a difference in price (heat generated from electricity is probably more expensive). Of course you'd say that leaving the heating on during the night in a building that is only used during the day is also a waste, but take into consideration that (big) buildings do have quite a considerable thermal mass, so if you keep it warmer over night, the next day you still need less energy to heat it up again.

Conclusion: when the heating is actively used, leaving your PC (or light-bulb, stand-by transformer or whatever) on when not used, will still save you money on the gas bill (but cost you more on electricity of course). The overall balance is still for a loss of course, but in some situations, a significantly smaller loss than many people tend to think.

The same idea is true for energy saving light bulbs, btw, but that's for a different discussion.

I was told it wears out the computer (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27601373)

I've been told on many occasions that turning it on and off, and heating & cooling, flexes the motherboard and will lead to premature failure. Also, hard drives spinning up and down all the time moves the magnetic domains "outward" and so your data all accumulates near the outer edge of the disk and the head has a tougher and tougher time reading it all in. Also turning on and off the monitor makes the colors become less bright, so after a few years all you see are "fall" colours like yellows, reds, and oranges... eventually... it only shows white (the screen equivalent of "winter")
If you try to type something on your keyboard when your computer is off, the bits accumulate in the cord (that's why the old keyboard cables were always coiled... the bits were bigger back then so the coiling resulted in more space for the bits to accumulate) and eventually if you keep typing over the years with your computer off (or if your cat walks on the keyboard even) the cord will fail, probably at the back of your PC and all the bits will flow out on the ground and so your password can be read by hackers with laser beams such as those found in your CD or DVD drive.

Only 2.8B for larger opportunities.. (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601425)

I can't count how many people have jobs running at their desks overnight or into the late evening...

you shut those babies off, you'll have 2.3B of easy headcount reduction in IT.

harder than it seemed (5, Interesting)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601439)

I teach physics at a community college, and I recently made a big push to get proper power management set up in the science division's computer labs. It ended up being orders of magnitude more work than I thought it would.

I had seemed like a total no-brainer to me. We had 42 desktop Windows machines in our student computer labs. They were running 24/7. They had CRT monitors, and they were configured so that when they weren't being used, they ran a waving flag animation on the screen, meaning that both the CPU and the monitor were drawing full power. Here we were teaching our students about global warming, but we had this ridiculously wasteful configuration.

The first issue was that, as the slashdot summary suggests is common, nobody really cared, because it was some other part of the organization that was paying the electric bills.

The second issue was that when I approached IT, they wanted to handle it using software called Deep Freeze [faronics.com] , which not only handles power management but also automatically restores the computer's hard disk to a known state every so often. This is in principle a good idea, because it means that students can't screw up the machines, and it's another layer of defense against malware. However, it opened up a whole can of worms, because if they were going to make this new hard disk image, they wanted to make sure it was done right. They wanted to update the OS, and install all the apps from scratch. Well, we had a ton of apps dating back to ca. 1995 that were still being used for instruction, but nobody could find the licenses for them. So that became a huge issue. It was one that we would have had to deal with sooner or later anyway, but it was a clear example where the easiest thing to do is always to leave things the way they are.

So we finally got that done, after much interpersonal conflict and hurt feelings. Now we have the new issue, which seems to be that Deep Freeze doesn't play nicely with Windows updates. In one lab, for example, we have about 60 machines, roughly half belonging to the science division. Their hard disks get reimaged over the weekend by Deep Freeze. But wait, then on Monday morning people walk into the lab and power up all the machines. Now all 60 machines phone home and realize that they need an update from MS; they had the update before, but it got erased by the reimaging. So they all start downloading the same 100 Mb update at once, with predictable effects. A chemistry teacher brings in a whole class to do work on the computers, and the computers are completely unusable. Oops, time to come up with a new lesson plan. Hope he's good at thinking on his feet.

Of course there's no reason in principle that all of these different issues had to be coupled together. E.g., Faronics, which sells Deep Freeze, has another product that only does power management, not reimaging. But the thing is, in real life you're dealing with complex systems and complex human organizations, and lots of well-intentioned changes can have unintended effects.

Re:harder than it seemed (3, Informative)

dcowart (13321) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601685)

We have deep freeze as well here where I work. We have it turn off the pc's at 11pm. It turns them all on at 2:55am unfrozen, windows update runs at 3am (with the auto-install) also symantec anti-virus runs, and at 4am it refreezes the machines and shuts them back down. Wake-on-Lan will need to be setup on the PC's but this system works very well for patching & updating the machines while also keeping them frozen from mal-ware.

Let your IT guys know, it should be that simple... at least as far as freezing & updates.

Re:harder than it seemed (0, Flamebait)

realmolo (574068) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601701)

Your IT people are idiots. That's really all there is to it. All the problems you had are basically a result of them not doing their jobs properly. Pretty typical of IT employees in the "education" sector, unfortunately. If they were any good, they wouldn't be working at a community college.

Wake on lan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27601613)

Machines have had wake on lan for at least a decade to some extent. The problem has been standardization and security.

I once had a mythtv slave server set to wake on schedule and via lan broadcast, but it was fragile as hell (and didn't always work).

Most ethernet drivers in windows have a field buried in their properties page to enable different types of WoL, but it doesn't always work if the computer doesn't shutdown just right.

Granted, most IT departments use one vendor to supply computers (and thus can take advantage of that in deployment) and so should be able to find at least one vendor to provide a solution to get it to work (since microsoft dropped the ball).

Power saving results in more support calls (1)

CmdrPorno (115048) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601615)

I've been through this with the couple of organizations that I do support for. Enabling automatic sleep mode makes the users think that the computer has "locked up" as it resumes from sleep mode (for all I know, it may have, I'm not there to witness it). They then restart the machine.

In most cases, the end users will tolerate having the monitor go to power save, and the couple of seconds it takes to wake up from that, but nothing more. The systems run at full bore 24/7. This also makes remote administration easier.

There are many reasons... (2, Interesting)

ooomphlaa (1097853) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601653)

There are many reasons why an IT Department might not elect, or have the ability, to power down or enable power management capabilities of computers. For example one of my environments is used 70-80% of the day and the only time I have to run updates and daily tasks is at night, which leave me almost an intangible window for powering down my machines. And I completely agree with those of you who said not to lay this on the IT Department b/c you are right. Often times we do not have the authority in our organizations to make that decision or our specific environment does not allow for any down time.

it would help even more... (1)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601663)

...if people at least learned to turn off their monitors and put their screensavers to 'blank screen', unlike several of my coworkers who leave their PCs on all night with the monitors on and the screensaver set to something 'cool' which taxes their CPU/GPU to the max.

Not my Budget? (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#27601667)

Sounds a classic issue of people not doing anything because of "Not my Budget" syndrome. Basically it is either going to cost them in the short term for taking the short term, or cause budgeting to be cut. This is certainly a management issue, but one that needs to be negotiated to the advantage of everyone.

The point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27601707)

Isn't it a common practice in _all_ companies that every employee shuts down their workstation when they go home - unless they have a good reason?

Disclaimer: I have only worked in a small company.

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