Thursday, 19 April 2012

PC power management – releases from Granola and IA-Kar and wins for 1E and Verdiem

There’s been a lot of news from various PC power management vendors in the last week or two, here’s a roundup:

MiserWare, makers of Granola power management software have released version 5.0 of  Granola Enterprise, which can now establish a baseline power consumption for a company’s entire IT infrastructure.

The Virginia-based company also says that the new version has industry-leading options for energy savings. It’s not just about turning systems off - Granola Enterprise saves up to 35% more by reducing energy waste while systems are in use.

According to CEO Kirk Cameron, a professor at Virginia Tech, Granola Enterprise was redesigned in response to enterprise and data centre clients. “Our clients are often mandated to report IT power use. A free account now gives organisations access to their IT energy footprint, making it easy to identify energy waste and evaluate power management options.”

There’s more on the company, products and pricing here. MiserWare also has what it claims is the world’s most popular free energy management software: Granola Personal.

Another new power management company to me, is IA-KAR, out of France, makers of KAR Energy Software. On their (not very well translated) website the company points out that it can reduce PC, laptop or server power consumption by almost 50% in four different ways:

  • By reducing the power consumption of RAM. The software automatically adjusts the memory used according to actual need, to make computers up to five times faster.

  • KAR Energy Software cools the processor electronically by putting to sleep unneeded electronic components. If the processor is cooled by 10°C, it can double its life.

  • By reducing the frequency of the processor. Since a computer doesn’t need to operate at the same speed all the time, the software will automatically adjust the clock speed as necessary.

  • By putting the computer into standby, including forcing standby when it’s otherwise being prevented by a programme. Sleep time (and wake-up) is also user configurable.

IA-Kar has other interesting products, including a solution for mouse control for disabled people, which seems to be based on using the built-in webcam. There’s also a product called Kar Senior coming soon, but no details yet.

A couple of better known power management software suppliers have also announced significant wins his week. NightWatchman Enterprise, from UK-based 1E, has won a contract with airline catering company LSG Sky Chefs, headquartered in Germany. The company operates some 200 customer service centres in 52 countries and in 2011 produced about 492 million airline meals for more than 300 airlines worldwide.

Dirk Kröning, Vice President, Global IT Infrastructure, LSG Sky Chefs said that “Based on our pilot project, powering down our corporate PCs during non–work hours is expected to save LSG Sky Chefs approximately €70,000 per year. In other words, we’re saving almost 400,000 kWh of electricity, which is the same amount used by 35 homes in one year”. (That must be US homes, it would be twice the number in the UK – ed)

Verdiem, meanwhile, has successfully deployed its Surveyor energy management solution at Staffordshire University in the UK to help reduce power wastage across its estate of over 4,000 PCs for staff and students deployed across multiple sites.

Jay Burke, Senior IT Officer (Client Tech & App) Information Services, at the University said “Using Surveyor, we saw an immediate saving of 60% on student PC power usage and 25% on staff PCs. We’re now on course to achieve a full return on our Verdiem investment within a single year.”


The last point is the telling one. The payback on PC power management is short (many companies claim less than a year), so the products pay for themselves quickly as well as helping to minimise climate change.

What surprises me is that the market is still growing sufficiently for new companies to keep appearing - I’m coming across new names all the time. At one time it seemed that this was a market that would explode and then burn out fairly quickly, leaving all but a few major players. As yet, though, the market seems to be continuing along a steadier growth curve with competition still emerging. In the longer term they will all be fighting to make money as the competition hits prices and more and more functionality is built into operating systems and other software. Suppliers will need to diversify and for some power management is just one of a range of computer management solutions.

© The Green IT Review

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