Founder of Adaptiva, Deepak Kumar, on Green-IT Strategy and Working with Microsoft
Seattle knows green—green trees, green ideas, and green innovation. As businesses rush to become more environmentally friendly, organizations like New York and London-based 1E and Seattle-based Verdiem have emerged as leaders in green-IT management. They offer systems that allow companies to cut off power to their computers remotely, saving energy and IT costs, and make decreasing a company’s environmental footprint as painless as possible. But only Woodinville, WA-based Adaptiva has built a system that integrates directly with the biggest software company in the world: Microsoft.
Adaptiva’s centerpiece is a product called Companion, a software extension that allows companies to control power usage based on when an individual computer is being used. It is run directly through Microsoft’s existing System Center Configuration Manager, which is a software product for managing large groups of Windows-based computers.
“Because we plug deeply into Microsoft’s management infrastructure, we didn’t have to build a management framework into our product,” Adaptiva chief technology officer and co-founder Deepak Kumar said. That means the product is cheaper, and easier to maintain, because as long as the Microsoft System Center software is working, Adaptiva’s product will work.
Powering down a computer may not sound like the cure for climate change, but in a company with hundreds of thousands of desktops, it takes a huge slice out of the carbon footprint. The trick is how to manage the green master switch. “Turning off computers remotely is very easy. The challenge is to detect which computers are actually not doing anything useful and turn them off selectively,” Kumar said.
Many companies wait until after hours to perform their maintenance tasks, so as not to disrupt their employees. This creates a Catch-22 when machines have been powered down and are unable to be updated with the rest of the network—something Kumar sees as a fundamental flaw. “The goals of IT are somewhat contrary with green-IT,” he said. “The second missing piece is the ability to turn on computers when those maintenance tasks are required.”
Adaptiva’s software gives administrators the ability to set parameters for automatically powering up and down, as well as network-wide maintenance schedules, without interrupting anyone’s work and risking the loss of data. There is also an add-on, called Green Planet, which allows individual users to customize their computer to save energy around their personal schedule.
“Users see value in it because now when they come in, the machine is already powered up and they don’t have to wait. And when they go away, the machine turns off safely,” Kumar said. “If they [admins] want to deploy a patch to 1,000 machines, they go create a policy in System Center to do that. We’ll read it from there and we figure out which 1,000 machines are required at what time and we’ll turn on those machines automatically.”
Adaptiva’s plug-in abilities make the system cheaper than others, but also limits its … Next Page »