Product Reviews

Faronics Power Save: Simply Saving Power

With a low price and a high level of functionality, Faronics Power Save can help any business go green.

In one of my previous jobs, the people I looked after were very conscious of the benefits of saving electricity. I was asked to configure their machines to automatically turn on at a set time and be ready for the users to come into the office, and in turn the users were supposed to remember to turn them off at night.

But what if turning machines off isn't an option? What do you do with machines that are unused but switched on for long periods of time?

Faronics to the Rescue
Fortunately, Faronics Power Save offers an enterprise-level power-management system designed to address all of these issues.

Installation is straightforward. The console that offers the administration and reporting functions runs on top of a SQL back-end (SQL Express in this instance), and looks like a Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in.

Once the agent has been installed (manually, via a script, with network discovery or through LDAP lookup), an impressive list of actions is at your disposal. Right-clicking on a managed workstation allows you, as an administrator, to shut down, restart and wake up a computer. You can also override Windows power options and configure your own power plans, which again is straightforward.

Power plans are set by the time and date when the plan should take effect, with multiple plans set for different days or times. You can then set critical and non-critical application monitoring, which allows you to specify that if application A is running, then power management can be bypassed.

Good, Not Perfect
Application monitoring is a nice feature, but it's somewhat flawed. The GUI lets you browse for an application to monitor from the machine that the console is running on. Let's use an example where I'm managing the power control for a SQL server running batch jobs overnight. I'd like to select the associated applications by clicking on Browse and looking for them. However, if the server running the Faronics Core Console doesn't have SQL Server installed, then I have to go into network places and drill down to the corresponding server. If the folder containing the program isn't shared, I have to edit the address bar to show the UNC path and add an administrative share at the end of the path name to get to the correct app. It's a good feature, but not quite as straightforward as the rest of the console.

Other Power Save options allow you to set user notifications (the default is an alert 30 seconds in advance of shutdown). And the energy-consumption profile shows you how much energy in kW-h your system uses.

Finally, there are the Administrator options, which allow you to set the mode (full operation or audit); password control for command-line management; power options; password on resume from standby; and log off before power down. This mode also lets you save any open documents before power events occur and provides a few more options, such as hiding the taskbar icon, disabling the Eco-Facts message and allowing users to keep their computers awake for longer if they need to do so.

Installation: 20%
Features: 20%
Ease of Use: 20%
Administration: 20%
Documentation: 20%
Overall Rating:

Key: 1: Virtually inoperable or nonexistent  5: Average, performs adequately   10: Exceptional

Powerful Software
Faronics boasts "an average savings of $50 per computer per year for every computer deployed." On its own, this isn't a huge amount, but Faronics has priced its product well, with a 10-pack license costing just $144.

The core agent will run on any Windows machine from 2000 SP4 up -- including 64-bit versions -- so it will cover the vast majority of businesses. The documentation is concise. With the Core Console manual weighing in at 99 pages and the Power Save manual at 80 pages, you could easily read the manuals in a few hours. However, the product is so easy to use that you'll hardly need the documentation at all.

Overall, this is product can save you money, is priced exceedingly well and is a snap to use.

Faronics Power Save 4.1

$144 for 10 users
Faronics Corp.

About the Author

Stuart Fordham has worked in IT infrastructure for finance and medical health companies for five years.


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