February 25, 2009 By Elaine Rundle
Rob Revels, telecom technologist of Delaware's Department of Technology and Information (DTI), said the state originally used Desktop Authority software by ScriptLogic to map network drives, create e-mail accounts and provide printer access. However, he said last year, the department's chief operating officer, William Hickox, gave the DTI the task of decreasing costs and energy use. To meet the objective, the DTI re-examined Desktop Authority and began using the power-management feature for workstations.
Revels said the next step was determining the difference between the amount of energy saved between hibernate mode and shutting down the computers. "We found that instead of powering off the workstations, when they're in hibernate mode, they use almost the same amount of electricity as if the workstation was totally powered down," he said.
Utilizing the hibernate mode also provided two additional benefits: First, it prevents people from losing unsaved work if they left an application open. Second, it allows the workstations to receive updates at off-peak times.
The energy-conservation software is currently supervising 200 workstations in different state agencies. The product is decentralized so that administrators in the different agencies can change users' power schemes depending on a particular need. Revels gave the example of Delaware's health and safety services as areas that run 24/7, so they would be configured differently from other departments that work the traditional 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. shift. "We can target our users and set up different profiles to meet the needs of how that particular agency works," he said.
Jeffrey Savin, controller of the DTI, estimated that the green initiative will save the state $10,000 annually. "It's also the environmentally responsible thing to do, which certainly goes over well with our employees," he said. "It's a nice, soft benefit that we can provide during these economically challenging times."
Revels said the initial setup took a couple of days. Then the DTI added test users for one week before increasing the number of workstations using the energy-conservation tool. Savin said it's the DTI's intent to make the savings available to the more than 60 Delaware state agencies and continue to push out the green IT solution.
Because the state already owned the Desktop Authority product, Savin and Revels said there was an immediate ROI.
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