back to article Study finds IT heads not interested in power saving

A Forrester Research Survey has shown that, despite green pretensions, the vast majority of PCs have no power management regime because the IT chief says it's not his problem. With most business IT energy costs not the CIO's (chief information officer) responsibility, IT people are not bothered about leaving unused PCs powered …


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  1. N


    Towards power consumption need to change, they wouldnt leave them on if they had to pay the bill

  2. Steven
    IT Angle

    RE: By N

    "Attitudes towards power consumption need to change, they wouldnt leave them on if they had to pay the bill"

    Erm I leave my home PC on 24/7 I pay the bill for that... Infact I have a server/desktop/network storage at home that get left on 24/7.

  3. adam

    power usage

    Who really cares ?

    Do we switch street lights off ? - there must be millions of them.

    how about advertising signs ? how about the millions upon millions of other electricity hogging things out there.

    There is enough to do in IT without worryign about how much power is being used.

  4. rhydian

    In my past life..

    As a school IT monkey I wrote a nifty little script using PS Shutdown to power off two IT suites and then use Wake On Lan to fire them back up in the morning. This worked fine, but the systems HAD to be left on overnight occasionally for WSUS updates.

  5. Lionel Baden

    leave em on

    i had 3 computers on 24 seven at home i pay the bill

    when i got the bill i only leave 1 on LOL

    6 month £700 bill ....

    im thinking there was a cock up in the billing department as well

  6. Julian Lawton

    Boot time

    As per the last similar story, if you do the maths, the lost productivity in booting up / shutting each day (at least 2 minutes a day, even on a well set up network) far outweighs the cost of any potential power saving over a year.

    It may be good for the environment, but the economic argument for shutting down daily is bogus.

    Better power management, on the other hand, may make sense, but it can also mean buying slightly more expensive machines (i.e. laptops that support S3 level sleep).

  7. Marcus

    Um.. seriously?

    Your looking at making a $37,000 saving on 1,500 pc's each at lets say $400/unit with everything that cost $600,000 to buy? I dont think your worried about $37,000/year somehow.

    And why do profitable companies want more cash in the bank? So it can be taxed? Great..

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Nothing new here

    I had that in a previous company. I had all the developer workstations built with Debian with power-management cranked to the max. They were eating sub-50W each in idle which is fairly commendable for a Pentium. No fan/thermal faults as a side effect as well.

    So newly fledged IT and development management came along at their first move was to wipe it out and make it all RedHat to tickle their corporate compliance. No power management as a result (this was in the days before RHEL learned about cpu freq scaling). Total bill - several thousands per annum for a developer's floor.

    Similar story with infrastructure: moving from power efficient "good enough" systems to running virtual partitions on a VMWare host with the PM turned off. Replacing chroot containers on build systems with working power management with VMs (and the PM turned off again) and so on. Few more K right there.

    Did anybody care? Of course not. It comes out of the facilities budget you silly, not the IT budget.

  9. Anonymous Coward


    > Do we switch street lights off ? - there must be millions of them.

    Has been introduced/triallesd in at least one area ...

    >There is enough to do in IT without worryign about how much power is being used.

    They're talking about when you go home, bright boy. But then efficency is seldom a concern for IT types, is it?

    @ Steven : So what? If you're happy with what you're paying fine. For a company looking to cut costs - well, when the axe falls the power bill won't be the first thing they think is putting them over the limit, will it? It's the IT people - and rightly so, if adam's attitude is typical. (Which it is, from what I've seen.)

  10. Anonymous Coward

    But if your PC's are off overnight then when...

    ... do you run your full AV scans, update, inventory and defrag cycles? I (and many I know) prefer to set the estate to sleep as much as possible (power down monitor, HDD, CPU to idle etc) and instruct the users to NOT power down their PC's so that daily maintenance can run without impacting user productivity.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Fer chrissakes...

    ...stop this idiocy please.

    "The city of Boston in the USA is saving $37,500 a year on its 1,500 PC estate"

    Yes, and lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in wasted work time while the users waited for the boxen to boot and update themselves.

    Icon: Death of journalism, because it is.

  12. Eddie Edwards

    @ Marcus

    "And why do profitable companies want more cash in the bank? So it can be taxed? Great.."

    Spurious argument until taxation hits 100%.

    But let your boss know this is how you feel and he'll be sure to avoid giving you a pay rise ever again.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Waste is not OK

    First off, good article with highlighting a very unfortunate fact when it comes to energy and IT.

    Reading some of the comments here and I am a little pissed off.

    Is it OK to be wasteful because you are lazy?

    Is it OK to be wasteful because it is someone elses problem?

    Is it OK to be wasteful because you will be taxed otherwise?

    The answer to all three is NO, fuckheads.

    And you wonder why we have global warming, water and food shortages, pollution and waste management problems, etc...

    Also I am sick of hearing the argument that a small change will not make a difference. Like saving $37000 per year isn't enough to justify taking action? Go fuck yourselves. You might as well not vote then, since 1 vote doesnt make a difference?

  14. Steve

    Go away, I'm sleeping.

    We currently have a policy that equipment should be turned off when you're away from your desk for a period which appears to work well enough for a small institution - certainly staff machines/monitors aren't left on overnight and many are turned off over lunchtimes. Our 24 hour student lab have settings that mean they should go to sleep when machines are idle and not logged in.

    However, I still have doubts as to how reliably computers go to sleep and resume properly if they are in use. Network connections will be broken so our accounts staff will all lose their ssh connections to the server. It may also be due to Netware, but we've found that if the network link to the server breaks, the drive mappings don't always get re-established and documents left open can't easily be saved since we deny users write permission to the local hard disk. This may work better in an Active Directory environment. Time will tell.

    Even at home on a modern Vista machine, if I hibernate about 1 time in 10 it hangs on going into sleep and everything is lost on restart. And it never actually turns off either so you're still left using power. That problem is probably down to something I'm running, or a driver that is interfering with the shutdown (although can't see what since the display is the first thing to get deactivated). But these potential issues just make me wary of pushing that sort of unreliability out onto our staff without sufficient testing that I don't currently have time to do.

    Finally, I've just measured the power consumption of a Dell Optiplex, the same as we have in our student computer lab. When sitting idle, it draws 68-75W. When I put it into standby, it is still using 58W. Therefore putting idle computers to sleep doesn't appear to save as much power as might be expected - certainly that's no reason not to do so since every little does help.

    But perhaps another answer is having a policy of turning off rather than passing the buck and making it an IT problem. It uses even less power (around 2W) and there's no worry about returning to the desk to find missing work since you will have saved it before turning off the machine. Sure there's the time it then takes to boot back up, virus check etc - and the added power consumption of the boot process but managers need to weigh up the implications in cost, time and greenness and not just rely, as usual, on IT staff producing a magic bullet that achieves everything.


  15. Simon Painter
    IT Angle

    Lost productivity maths?

    I keep hearing the OCD brigade claiming that they are losing productivity while they wait two minutes for their machine to boot up. I would love to see the maths behind this because it smells like bull and is probably along the lines of the other power saving myths out there (like the one where it uses as much electricity to switch it on as to leave it running over night - total crap).

    C'mon boys, let's see some hard numbers or we assume you are idiot sheep reciting a fallacy.

  16. Steven

    @ AC

    "@ Steven : So what? If you're happy with what you're paying fine. For a company looking to cut costs - well, when the axe falls the power bill won't be the first thing they think is putting them over the limit, will it? It's the IT people - and rightly so, if adam's attitude is typical. (Which it is, from what I've seen.)"

    The axe has already fallen, funnilly enough IT were the only department not affected... strange that. Oh yeah that's right they need IT to set up all that important stuff that runs during the night...

  17. Anonymous Coward

    To all the Lost productivity types

    To stop this 'lost' productivity of having to switch machines on in the morning there are remedies

    1)Auto power on PC's via bios or wake on lan

    2)Put machines into standby - using an energy meter i found a lot of our types of desktop use the same in standby as they do while off / hibernate so just do that

    a 5 second bootup from standby will not waste anyones time at all.

    3) you can always schedule times for it to stay on for updates etc or schedule wakeup from standby in the task scheduler

  18. Simon Neill

    @running defrags etc

    we run defrags/full scan from the end of the day at 1700 til about 22-2300 one day a week. PCs shut down at 2330 those nights and 1730 remaining nights. User files are on the server, so the defrag is quick. They aren't booted back up til sometime the next day, saving at least 8 hours/ppc/pn. Still a significant saving. As for WSUS updates, we schedule those for the lunch break when everyone is off the computer anyway.

    Computers are kept tidy without the need to run all night. Also, a good defrag app (like diskeeper) can be scheduled to run all day during idle moments and surely leaving realtime protection on negates any real need to perform full scans daily.

    As for $37,000/yr on $600,000 of kit....does it matter what the kit cost in the first place? a $37,000 saving is enough to pay a wage or two. Might be the difference between a pay slip and a pink slip for someone at the end of the month in these uncertain times.

  19. Michael J Welker Jr

    It's remarkably easy..

    to tell the difference between those who actually support end user systems, and those who just use them.

    As stated, AV scans, software updates, security patching, backups...ALL of these activities happen after hours. Multiply that by 5000 workstations, and wake on lan really isn't an option (not to mention it wouldn't work with randomized backup windows).

    They took away our green screens, and now complain we're not green enough...At least my jacket is!


  20. Cullen Newsom


    >Do we switch street lights off ? - there must be millions of them.

    Yeah, we do turn them off in the daytime when they're not being used. Can we have a 'face palm' icon?

  21. Cullen Newsom

    @grumpy and all of those other luddites...

    @grumpy and all of those other Luddites who haven't heard of "Wake On Lan", cron, "Scheduled Tasks" and "Power Options", etc.

    This website is for IT folk, and other folks who make their living by working with computers.

    Corporate IT folk ought to do a better job managing the power consumption of idle machines. And it is pretty obvious that they would if electricity came out of their IT operating budget. To those who think that "productivity" is lost by a user having to switch his machine on while he goes and gets more coffee:

    *Show the twit how to have it switch itself on before he arrives.

    *Configure the machine for him.

    And if you can't do either of those. What the hell are you doing in IT?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hard Numbers

    @Simon Painter

    How little do you make?

    2 minutes a day means 400 minutes a year. That's 16 days of lost productivity. I'm only IT so that's only $800/year wasted productivity time. Someone who bills clients at $400/hour, now you're talking $6400/year wasted productivity. Unless you make less than minimum wage, more money is lost in productivity than saved through turning the machine off.

    Of course, that assumes that you are continuously working every minute after logging in, that you can't "make up" the lost productivity, which is probably untrue for most people. I just turn on my machine and go get a cup of coffee while it's booting.

    Sleep would be nice if the network connections didn't drop. Losing a file can mean much more wasted time for the user and support staff who are trying to retrieve the lost work and aggravation all around.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Carbon dioxide my arse

    My PC's, plus several other juice sapping devices are left on 24hours a day.

    My PC is powered by baby foxes and young trees, has no off button and has one speed of operation; Max, all the time

    But hey, i do pay for this and im on a token leccy meter so when i say i pay, i DO really pay.

    As for global warming, wanna know why the planets getting hotter?

    See the huge nuclear inferno in the sky....Duuurrhhhh....

    Paris, i'd like her to sap my juice.

  24. EnigmaForce
    Thumb Up

    Or, if you were actually halfway serious about it...

    You would run Sun Ray or a similar thin client solution.

  25. Tezfair

    Pcs are not the only item

    More likely monitors are not turned off either, and do they unplug their telephones, fax, printers, mobile charges, battery charges, water cooler, docking stations, external speakers and local network swtiches? Nope, so in reality threre's little savings.

  26. David


    I turn my computer off when I leave work, surely a computer that runs for only 8 hours a day compared to 24 hours will last longer?

    And if power saving isnt your job then why care about 3 minutes lost productivity time? First thing most people do is make a cuppa etc anyway.

  27. Lord of Dogtown
    Gates Halo

    has anyone told India?

    Our servers are in India, and its Indian Electricity, its cheaper than UK electricity. We also use phillipine electricity which is cheaper that Indian.

    Cant see this going anywhere, you simply outsource the problem and it goes away, simples :)

  28. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    a greener way

    give the users dumber terminal screens that are just remote desktops to some real servers with horsepower. eg citrix system. those dumb terminals use very little power, boot very quickly etc..and the only machines that need to be patched and virus scanned etc are the main boxes that peoples sessions are on. welcome back to 1980's architecture..welcome back to greener computing.

  29. kain preacher


    Do we switch street lights off ? - there must be millions of them.

    Yes they do. In my city they use motion sensors.

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