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Survey: PC Power Management Brings Big Savings

The next front in the struggle to make IT greener will unfold at your fingertips, on the ubiquitous end user desktop.

So says a new survey from market watcher Gartner Inc., which found that the use of PC power-management technology can save large organizations tens of thousands of dollars every year. In a shop of 2,500 unmanaged PCs, for example, the firm projected annual savings of $43,300, and an additional $6,500 if machines are turned off and unplugged. However, the latter measure can backfire on organizations, Gartner said, because updates and maintenance have to be carried out during the day, which could impact employee productivity.

"Undoubtedly with proper policies in place, substantial power and cost savings can be achieved without an impact on user productivity," said Federica Troni, principal analyst at Gartner, in a statement. "Unplugging machines brings further reductions in power and additional cost savings...however, we believe that implementing such policies is impractical, and is likely to obstruct productivity because updates can't easily be performed after hours."

Gartner's model makes a few assumptions -- for instance, that there's a 1-to-1 ratio of PCs to employees, and that employees log eight-hour days (230 days a year) during which they're interacting with their PCs 70 percent of the time. Gartner also put the cost of energy at 10 cents per kilowatt hour. That said, Gartner claimed, the model can be adapted to suit virtually any size shop.

"Although we concentrated on three specific scenarios, the model can be used to assess the PC-related power consumption in any organization," said Charles Smulders, managing vice president at Gartner, in a statement.

Smulders added that Gartner's $43,300 figure assumes that the cost of all power is paid for by an organization. When the power consumption of off-premises notebooks or mobile PCs is factored in, annual cost-savings dips to $27,500.

"Much attention on power consumption has focused on the datacenter, but PC power consumption in an organization can also be significant, especially given steadily rising electricity prices," Troni said. "IT organizations should recognize that the greatest savings come from employing power-management features. They should investigate the power-management capabilities of their PC lifecycle management tools and PC power-management point solutions to implement these policies and to better support management activities."

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.

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