How To Help Customers Save Power And Energy Costs

Do you know how much money can be saved by shutting down a single PC overnight and on weekend? Hundred of dollars. That’s quite a benefit an IT solution provider can pass along to their customer, when they take on the role of managed service provider. In this blog, the director of SMB IT Marketing for Intel Corp., gives the lowdown on how MSPs can save their clients money by saving energy. — Jennifer Bosavage, editor.

At the end of a long workday, employees often bolt out the door instead of shutting down their PCs. Some employees opt to keep their PCs on so everything on their desktop is available for the next work day. In addition, many companies regularly leave PCs on overnight to patch and update as needed. However, leaving PCs powered on during non-working hours can lead to unnecessary costs and energy consumption. Managed service providers (MSP) can help their customers save power and implement a standardized infrastructure that reduces costs and delivers energy-efficient IT.

MSPs can use remote management software and PCs with a remote hardware platform for hardware-assisted remote shutdown and wake-up to create a power management program. There are a number of power management software solutions available, which can be easily configured to the ideal settings and then applied to select or all PCs. Those settings determine when to turn off the monitor (e.g. after X minutes), when to turn off the hard disk, as well as when to initiate system standby and system hibernate. To help customers ease their way into a program that can save power this way, , MSPs can first test a small percentage of the employees and then expand the program. After an MSP sets up the program, it takes little additional work to maintain it.

With the ability to turn off groups of PCs using remote hardware technology after regular working hours and then power them back up before the start of the next business day, MSPs can now save their customers money through lower energy usage, making a substantial positive impact on the PC ROI. For example:

• STF Consulting estimated that by actively managing power, they could save customers up to $37 per PC per month.
• Paragon Development System, Inc. shows 20 to 60 percent energy savings for their customers.
• Do IT Smarter estimated that power cost savings per PC over a three-year life span was $846.

As energy usage goes down so do carbon emissions. In fact, one computer, monitor, printer and empty cell phone charger waste a total of about 4.3 kilowatt hours from Friday evening to Monday morning, according to Power IT Down. By reducing energy consumption, companies can lessen their carbon footprint and save thousands of kilowatt hours. Through power management capabilities, MSPs can help their customers support their energy policy.

With remote power capabilities, MSPs can schedule and perform secure remote power up and power cycling for patching/maintenance, backups, and monitoring after regular working hours. Patching during working hours can have a potential negative impact on personnel productivity due to slow system response time during the actual patch and software deployment time. In addition, patching during working hours introduces the risk of wide spread outages due to “zero-day” attacks on un-patched systems. Deployment during working hours also delays the reboot process needed to complete many security patches or software package deployments. Without a scheduled reboot, this prevents successful deployment completion. Performing maintenance tasks outside of working hours can provide an improved customer experience.

For example, in the past, Alpheon tried to establish a weekly maintenance window with their customers for updates and patching. But some customers were resistant to this, so updates were typically exception based rather than planned or systematic. With PCs based on a hardware remote platform, Alpheon does not have to rely on the end user to reboot weekly to pull the necessary updates. They can fix missing updates or patches overnight, without impacting the end user during normal business hours. In short, customers enjoy less downtime and fewer interruptions.

Creating a power management program for the customer can be simple by using the many technology software and hardware tools available. By creating a standardized, energy-efficient platform to meet the developing demands of the customer’s business, MSPs can help their customers reduce total cost of ownership, energy consumption and carbon emissions.