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Mid-State Technical College Turns Off Computers with Faronics Software

Mid-State Technical College with four locations in central Wisconsin has acquired Power Save from Faronics to perform PC power management. The college system purchased the product in May 2009 after a month of testing and completed its deployment in September.

The college has about 1,500 computers, which run Windows XP with service pack 3. "Without a third-party tool, it is not very easy to invoke Microsoft's Power Save features across many desktops," said Brad Russell, network administrator. "The [Windows] built-in power save features do not take into account any programs running at the time power save actions take effect. In addition, the built-in power save feature offers no reporting tool to assess the amount of money being saved by invoking the power save features on the desktops."

Russell said the Power Save software, which has been implemented on a large percentage of the desktop machines, turns off the monitor after several minutes of inactivity and places the desktop in a standby state after an even longer time of inactivity.

The college chose Faronics' application, which works on both Windows and Mac OS X machines, because it was already using other products from the company, including Deep Freeze, which prevents users from making changes to a computer's image. Both Power Save and Deep Freeze can be monitored through Faronics' Core Console, which provides a single console for management of workstations on the network. The product also is on a list of recommended software from the state's Focus On Energy. This program provides cash incentives for implementing energy-efficient projects.

Prior to deployment, the college ran the Faronics program in an auditing mode, which generated reports showing the potential cost savings from energy usage if the desktops had gone into some form of a power saving mode. Once the deployment was completed, the reporting continued, to show the estimated cost savings realized. "The amount of money the college has saved in two months of full deployment, in addition to the Focus On Energy incentive program, has more than recovered the amount of money spent on licensing the software," Russell said. "Our ROI was realized within two months of full deployment of the Faronics Power Save software."

To prepare the campus community for the changes to the computers, the IT department sent out several "informational" e-mails to all students and staff explaining the new product, including what power save actions would be taken on the desktop, and how to wake up the desktop. "To date, the response from end users has been positive and well received," Russell said.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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