Altiris for Power Management
From Provider Wiki
The Division of Human Resources has successfully deployed Altiris as a power management tool which automatically shuts down users' computers on nights and weekends, saving the University an estimated $7,000 annually in energy costs. The 75 computers are in 3 different locations across campus. Here are some of the technical details of their installation:
- Altiris is installed on a Virtual Iron server.
- Basic Windows Server 2003
- SQL Express 2007
- Altiris server
- Net 3.0
Installation Notes from David Chau
- Install method was done thru the Altiris server agent push which was a silent install to the user. Workstations are %100 Dell with models as old as GX260 to Optiplex 755. We have onboard Intel or Broadcom network cards.
- Shutdown is completed by the WMI method and power on is done using Magic Packet WOL since we need to cross over to different subnets and routers. This seemed to be the best method vs. the Altiris power agent since older GX260 and GX280 did not work across our network for some reason I couldn’t resolve.
- The MAC number/ipaddress information collected by Altiris to Magic Packet WOL's group power up schedule were exported
- If all the workstations were in the same location it would be easier to use the Altiris power agents.
- Power control was just an added plus to the Altiris system, the system allows us to track and run inventory reports, system state, and complete BIOS management which is rarely updated in IT Support unless something breaks. The support for Altiris is mostly forum based with many good tips on setting the system up. The only software we pay for is the EA license for Server 2003 as the rest is freeware.
- I recommend agent push be done in limited groups and tested before moving to the next group of workstations. Being a Symantec product and working with older model workstations can be a large challenge since the different health states of each workstation can vary.
- Firewall rules, IPSec Rules, Group policy, location, correct DNS entry and BIOS settings can all affect the workstations results.
- Most users do not mind having their workstations shutdown at night and turned back on by 6am. It has actually reduced helpdesk volume since workstations are no longer logged on for weeks at a time and sometimes improves the speed of the workstation. Our WSUS server gets the reboot from the workstations automatically for update which gets installed before most 9am users come in. Again you will always have a handful of users that want their PC on all the time, but that doesn't mean we can't reboot them for software updates.
- Aside from the power savings, we gain a better sense of security for many workstations at night since we are sure they get powered down.
- For those who want to roll out the Altiris system, I recommend you use the S1 power setting in Dell's bios and enable WOL.
- ASF,AMT and VPro works great on newer machines but if your working with old GX260/280's - the WOL works fine if you also run a power on job on Altiris about 15 mins after WOL to verify WOL powered on the machines since there is no logging in WOL. So it's like having redundant power on commands sent to the workstations.
- One of the real reasons I wanted to setup Altiris on our network was to never do inventory by sneaker net again, as an IT Support * Specialist that alone was enough reason to do this.
- Once the server is up and running, administrating it is not that much more as pushing out the agent to a new or re-imaged machine to keep the inventory up to date. You can automatically run it using rules, but I prefer to push out agents manually.
- The network discovery Altiris does will tell you if you have any bad DNS entries to IPaddresses as it would also cause reporting issues, so it let’s us know which workstation DNS entry to update.
- All and all the product works but it has errors all the time which is fixed with uninstalling and reinstalling the agent to fix it which is a nuisance but an indicator to check the workstation for other possible issues. At least that’s what I use it for; there are many other agents to install, maybe too many so it’s up to you what you use it for.
- About 40 systems get shut down after hours, daily on work days from 9pm to 6am.
- 24 hours on weekends for 104 days weekends.
- 9 hours a day x 261 days = 2349 hours weekday per year
- 24 hours x 104 weekend days = 2496 hours weekend per year
- Total 4845 hours per year per workstation, we can gain more hours off if we moved the hours to 7pm to 7am.
- Average Commericial cents per kilowatthour in 2008= 10 cents total
- Adding $25 smart strips to the workstation can give IT greater control of power usage and savings centrally. An idea I had was to connect some of our old tank sized printers to a smart strip slaved to the nearest workstation to control power since many of the old HP printers here can't sleep or power down. HP jetadmin lacks power control on %90 of our printers so this would be good workaround.