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Green Planet Extensions for Companion – Product Review

 


What is Green Planet?


Adaptiva recently announced the public release of the Green PlanetTM extension for Adaptiva Companion. Companion is provides both PC power management and wake-on-LAN capabilities tightly integrated with SMS 2003 and ConfigMgr 2007. Green Planet builds upon Companion's capabilities to facilitate a collaborative approach to real world PC power management challenges.

 

Organizations struggle to identify where and when to conserve energy. They have difficulty in optimizing power policies based on actual PC usage. Green Planet addresses these challenges and helps to:

 

·         Identify PC energy conservation opportunities and harvest energy

 

·         Collaborate with end-users to establish optimal power policies as per actual PC usage

 

·         Adopt: Heighten end-user awareness, Increase visibility on end-user behavior

 

·         Save $25 – $75 per PC annually

 

·         Report on actual savings and positive environmental impact by unit and in aggregate

 

Integration and Deployment

 

Adaptiva Companion is a pre-requisite for Green Planet. Companion has 3 components:

 

·         Server

 

·         Client

 

·         User Interface integrated with the MMC

 

The installation process takes less than 3 minutes. There is no external dependency. To install Green Planet all you have to do is select a checkbox while installing Companion.

 

Product Features

 

Green Planet has

 

·         An administrative UI which is integrated with the MMC. Administrators can

 

o   Set and apply power policies.

 

o   Chose the level of control they want to give end-users

 

·         A client side UI in which an end-user can

 

o   Modify power policies within established bounds

 

o   See power usage details of his or her PC.

 

Administrative UI

 

Administrators can establish power policy and assign policies to different collections. If a PC is in 2 collections the policy with the higher priority will apply. Following are the available features:

 

Power Options

 

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Figure 1 Power options editor

 

·         Option to opt-in and out of power savings during or after work hours

 

·         A slider that adjusts the values of the power profile. Values can be manually edited as well. These settings directly reflect in Windows power options

 

·         Different profiles for AC and Battery power

 

·         The ‘Annual Savings’ tab shows estimated savings based on configurable inputs

 

Work Schedule

 

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Figure 2 Work and vacation schedule editor

·         Custom work schedule for each day can be set and applied to collections

·         National and corporate holidays can be entered

Advanced Settings

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Figure 3 Advanced settings editor

·         Wake computer ‘X’ minutes prior to start of work schedule

·         Configure computer to turn off after ‘X’ minutes of work schedule ending

·         Keep computer on irrespective of schedule if required

·         The action to be taken on the pressing of the power button can be set. E.g. Put a PC into hibernate when the power button is pressed

·         An application exception list can be specified. The PC’s power state is not changed if a critical application is running. One can specify:

o   Minimum application CPU consumption

o   Minimum application memory consumption

for the application to be considered active.

 

 

 

Establishing policy control options

Green Planet has the unique ability to allow an administrator to not only set a power policy but also delegate granular control to the end-user so that end-user can customize power policies to his or her needs, within corporate norms established by the administrator.

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Shown above are the various control delegation options.

·         Administrators can chose to have a blanket shutdown and no end-user experience or they can let end-users edit certain policy metrics.

·         E.g.

o   End-users can be allowed to edit work schedules only for Friday

o   End-users could allowed to change power option values within ranges

o   End-users could be allowed to add their own personal holidays

o   End-user could be allowed to have their machines woken up minutes before arrival

Policy changes made by the administrator instantly update on the targeted machine or collection.

End-user Interface

The end-user interface is launched by clicking the Green Planet Icon in the system tray.

End-users can modify their profiles as per the boundaries established by the administrator.

The power options, work schedule and advanced option consoles on the end-users end are similar to those on the administrative end (shown above). The client interface has useful reporting metrics that make end-users aware of their PC’s power usage performance.

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Figure 4 Client end power usage visibility

One can view daily power usage and wastage statistics along with savings potential.

Power wasted is the ‘idle’ time, which is defined as a computer being left on without any keyboard and mouse activity, RDP and terminal sessions, file share access, ConfigMgr activity and critical applications executing.

Reporting

 

 

 

The Green Planet client records daily and hourly system uptime and power state changes in WMI. The  SMS_DEF.MOF file is automatically extended to inventory these new WMI classes. The power usage and power event reports are shown in ConfigMgr reporting.

Key reporting features:

·         Extendable, schema published

 

·         Power saving opportunities across groups and locations, usage baseline

 

·         Actual energy usage, CO2 and kWh reduction and cost savings per machine, group or location

 

·         Comparison across machines, groups and locations

 

·         Applications causing insomnia

 

Conclusion

 

Green Planet will help drive PC power adoption by addressing some of the key challenges that exist in power management implementation today. The most impressive features for me were:

·         The level of integration with ConfigMgr and SMS.

·         Ease of installation and manageability

·         Extent of the power management features available to the administrator

·         Collaboration through the granular control that the administrator can cede to the end-user

The above points coupled with the economical price make Green Planet a good choice for PC power management in ConfigMgr or SMS environments.

Try the 30-day Green Planet Evaluation