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Powering off underutilised equipment is rapidly gaining momentum in today’s datacenter environments and is advocated by many as the biggest contribution that IT departments can make to companies embarking on green initiatives.

Whilst initiatives such as server virtualisation, data centre optimisation and eliminating hotspots in the datacenter are lauded by local company sustainableIT, director Tim James is adamant that not enough is being done in other areas of the IT infrastructure to reduce energy.
"The desktop is largely being ignored as a means of saving energy and ultimately costs," says James. "Most vendors concentrate on the datacenter and those that do target the desktop typically advocate a rip and replace policy with more efficient chip sets.
"This flies in the face of the fundamental concept of reduce, re-use, recycle. On top of this, it stands to reason that PC’s in total consume far more energy in the estate than servers, vastly in the minority. This is backed up by Gartner research which states that 39% of the energy consumed by IT equipment is in the PC and monitor environment."
James adds that there is a conundrum in business with four different stakeholder sets, often pulling in different directions.
"On the one hand you have the IT department demanding  that machines be powered on at all times to ensure patching success and software distribution, as well as end users who don’t want any changes and want to be left alone. On the other hand you have the facilities people looking to save energy in the face of the Eskom crisis and the CSR officer wanting to report on a socially aware business.
"The way to overcome this conundrum is though technology. By implementing intelligent power management solutions such as NightWatchman, IT can fulfill all of the requirements of the stakeholders and still provide management and control of the PC estate, in fact they can do this more effectively by knowing the power state of all devices on the network at all times," says James.
NightWatchman, a software solution deployed on each desktop intelligently powers off devices when not required and though a sister product 1EWakeUP, powers them up for patching purposes, thus the best of both worlds.
"Business is demanding more and more from IT in the face of rising energy and carbon costs and it is clearly no longer a requirement to have devices powered on 24 hours a day. Solutions do exist to today to overcome this and it is incumbent upon IT to be more innovative in delivering services to end users," James concludes.