Energy Management with IBM Tivoli:
Get Power over Power

Green means go-and green energy management helps your organization move forward

Tivoli Beat - A weekly IBM service management perspective. Organizations looking for a smart way to manage the complete range of infrastructural endpoints recently got exactly that with IBM Tivoli Endpoint Manager (TEM). Thanks to an unusually intelligent agent-one that leverages endpoint resources such as processing power and memory to perform most tasks-this solution can support a truly broad range of management functions with little to no impact on user productivity or business services.

Multiplying its value proposition even more is the fact that TEM is actually a family of solutions all in one product. Each member of the family targets one of these prominent issues facing organizations today: lifecycle management, security, patch management, and power management.

And in this cost-conscious economy, that last issuepower management-is emerging as particularly important.

Today's IT infrastructures must fulfill business goals while also generating maximum ROI; this means keeping energy costs as low as possible without threatening target service levels or interrupting management tasks (much easier said than done). And every dollar spent on electrical overhead is a dollar that can't be spent on high-priority strategies, such as the development of new services to fulfill emerging customer demand.

Track and manage energy consumption across all network endpoints with IBM Tivoli

“Today's IT infrastructures must fulfill business goals while also generating maximum ROI; this means keeping energy costs as low as possible without threatening target service levels or interrupting management tasks (much easier said than done).”Fortunately, TEM for Power Management can play a key role in helping organizations address these and many other related issues. It supports energy management strategies not just in a holistic sense, but also at a granular level-right down to specific desktops, laptops, and servers. This gives IT administrators centralized insight into, and control over, endpoint energy consumption in as much or as little detail as their organizations require.

Making that possible: TEM's intelligent agent, which supports practically any endpoint or operating system the organization is likely to have, and supports a wide variety of energy management functions. Once deployed on endpoints, the agent can collect data, and report it back to the server; the server can, in turn, analyze the data and delegate tasks to the agent. In this way, TEM for Power Management can collect energy data, activate or deactivate systems, create or manage energy policies, and execute many other related tasks-all from a single point of command.

This remains true even in the case of the largest infrastructures with the largest number of endpoints. Because the TEM agent leverages endpoint resources to perform tasks, not server resources, one TEM server can support an incredible number of endpoints-up to 200,000 in some cases. Yet the impact on that endpoint is a negligible 2% on average-unnoticeable to the average desktop or laptop user, and not high enough to significantly affect most business services, in the case of core systems. As a truly centralized solution for endpoint energy management, TEM thus offers tremendous value unmatched by any current alternative.

A broad array of energy management functions

Equally remarkable is the diversity of energy management tasks it can perform—and problems it can solve. One such problem, for instance, is the difficulty of enlisting the help of everyday users to minimize endpoint power consumption when possible. Even though their desktops or laptops may support low-power standby or suspension modes, users often aren't aware of such modes and will typically not activate them frequently (if at all). TEM for Power Management can help by giving users a straightforward menu of power configuration options—substantially increasing the odds these modes will be applied, yet without requiring any direct action on the part of the IT team.

TEM for Power Management can also automatically evaluate the infrastructure looking for opportunities to reduce power consumption. Specifically, it can poll all endpoints on a one-time or scheduled regular basis looking for cases in which the endpoint's power profile has been misconfigured. If a violation is found, TEM for Power Management can usually reconfigure it directly, again sparing IT the need for manual labor and eliminating "PC insomnia" by applying a smart digital soporific. Given the diversity and sheer number of endpoints on very large and complex infrastructures, this feature alone can translate into substantial cost savings.

In comedy, they say, timing is everything—so too in endpoint energy management. One system might need to remain functional in the middle of the night, to receive security patches, while another could be put in standby. This is where the granular management power of TEM for Power Management can really help. It can activate or deactivate any endpoint or group of endpoints, including systems, at times determined by business goals or service requirements. Whatever fraction of the infrastructure needs to be awake will be; the rest can be put to sleep.

One issue that might occur to experienced administrators: if a system to be shut down is a user endpoint, such as a laptop, there is the chance that user data will be lost. How does TEM for Power Management address this problem? The TEM agent is smart enough to issue a save command to all open applications prior to shutdown execution. It also supports Wake-on-LAN, allowing endpoints to be roused from slumber to support workday goals or perform routine maintenance tasks such as a software update, security patch installation, and others. (This particular feature is available to endpoint users themselves—not just TEM administrators.)

Reporting features and a what-if calculator help optimize energy policies

TEM for Power Management also helps quantify the success of energy management strategies, as well as suggest new ones, via its reporting capabilities.

Recall that the TEM agent collects and sends energy data to the server; here, the data is aggregated and analyzed, yielding reports that reveal trends and patterns of many types. For instance, administrators can determine the time spent by endpoints in idle, active, standby, and powered-down states, as well as track the energy costs generated as a result.

Additional insight stems from historical trending graphs; these can reveal how power consumption is changing over time, or how the energy consumed over a given period (such as a season or fiscal quarter) compares to the same period from earlier years.

And by using a speculative "what if" scenario calculator, TEM managers can also determine how changes in energy management policies will probably result in specific outcomes: expected energy costs, carbon dioxide generation, and others. These educated guesses can, in turn, help them create endpoint energy management policies that are truly optimized and tailored for the organization's specific context.

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