Modus Interactive Powerwise - Review

Modus Interactive Powerwise - Review

Modus Interactive Powerwise - ReviewGo green with this energy-saving software

Pros: Works with desktops and servers; graphical management console; profiles for automation

Cons: Windows only

Bottomline: Easy to use, this tool really could help cut power bills

Manufacturer: Modus Interactive

Soaring electricity prices have prompted more and more companies to look for ways of managing the amount of energy they consume.

A number of utilities are now available which centrally control how much energy PCs use. One such utility is Night Watchman and another is Powerwise from Modus Interactive.

Unlike the command-line scripted Night Watchman software, Powerwise is managed via a familiar Windows GUI and comes in three parts, starting with a central server installed and run as a background service.

Despite the name, the Powerwise server can be hosted on any machine running Windows 2000 or later. For our tests we installed and used it on a virtual machine running Windows XP.

However, because it relies on TCP/IP connections, a Windows server would be a better choice on large networks. The server install takes a couple of minutes, with a separate Windows console used to manage the product, while the third component is an agent that needs to be installed onto every PC you want to manage.

The agent can be installed on both desktops and servers, and pushed out and remotely installed using a console wizard. Alternatively, the software can be pulled down and installed using a browser, and support for group policy deployment and the use of third-party distribution tools are also included.

Active Directory integration comes as standard but isn’t a prerequisite, and the software can also be used on small Windows workgroup networks. It doesn’t take long to get to grips with the way Powerwise works, mainly because it’s simple to use. Network clients can be manually added via the console or automatically discovered and grouped together for ease of management.

The Powerwise console then makes it easy for administrators to remotely manage any of the Windows power settings more usually set via the local control panel. From the console, for example, we were able to view the power status of individual client PCs, turn off monitors, reboot or power them down remotely.

Those with support for Wake-on-Lan (WoL) could also be powered up, for example, to allow updates to be applied out of hours. We were also able to apply power management tasks to groups of PCs and remotely. All of that is fine, but most administrators will want to automate procedures, for which it’s possible to both apply and design custom power profiles.

Profiles, in turn, let you schedule different settings and events to be applied to individual PCs or groups of computers according to time of day and day of the week. For example, we were able to enforce a shutdown every night and automatically power up test PCs on weekday mornings using a custom Powerwise profile.

In between, we ensured maximum performance by applying only minimal savings during core working hours, with more aggressive settings at other times. Users can also be stopped from altering power settings and warnings displayed when a remote shutdown or other scheduled operation is about to begin.

Powerwise has little impact on the host network with very little traffic generated between clients and the central server, making for a very scalable solution. Basic report facilities are also provided and, once set up, the amount of management required is minimal. For the most part you can simply forget about it, sit back and enjoy the savings.