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USC Biz School Cuts Energy Costs 32% with Verdiem

The University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business reduced annual IT-related energy costs by 32 percent through an installation of Verdiem Surveyor.

The school began the installation with a pilot, and was able to recoup its initial investment in one month with the help of an energy rebate from the L.A. Department of Water and Power. Surveyor 5.5, which includes support for the Mac operating system, enabled USC Marshall to then extend the software throughout the entire school.

The tool now provides central management for desktop computers used by more than 5,000 users.

USC Marshall said one of its key concerns before installation was the 24-7 nature of computer access at the school, typical of universities. Having a machine go to a lower power state at night, when a user might want remote access, could be problematic.

The school said that Verdiem’s Wake-on-WAN solution allowed the IT team at USC Marshall to address this concern, minimizing network traffic and security issues to more effectively allow staff to centrally wake remote systems.

The Verdiem Surveyor server delegates wake responsibilities to proxy systems on each subnet. Using these wake proxies, systems can be controlled without network broadcasts.

This allows IT teams to schedule all the activities, or perform emergency activities in an ad-hoc manner across complex enterprise network topologies. The Verdiem solution also allows IT to overcome Windows sleep disorders, and it prevents data loss with application handling and custom scripting, the software vendor said.

USC Marshall now uses Surveyor’s Wake-on-WAN feature for its monthly maintenance on desktop computers. The team wakes all computers up at 3 a.m. to install the patches. The school also has schedules for its lab computers, which are rebooted daily.

“By just having the computer taken down to a lower power state, there are a lot of benefits that come into play,” network engineer Brian Wood said. “It saves on wear and tear on computers, which increases the lifespan of computers. It also reduces overhead costs because we don’t have guys running around to replace computers. And without parts constantly spinning and generating heat, we also save on air conditioning costs.”

Wood said the installation is moving the business school towards its 2012 goal of 80 percent energy savings, and the school is now helping the entire university to install the system.

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