The State Department is eliminating 21,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually– and looking for more — as part of its worldwide power and systems management initiative to eliminate power waste across 100 percent of its workstation computers.
Projected to save millions annually when fully implemented, the initiative is designed to comply with OMB sustainability and energy management mandates, plus support the Department’s Greening Diplomacy Initiative. Currently State has 88,986 desktops at 468 worldwide sites – comprised of domestic facilities, embassies, consulates, and passport agencies.
Gerry Caron, Branch Chief, Enterprise Management Systems, Information Resource Management Bureau told Breaking Gov that being a geographically diverse agency meant the Department faces multiple problems and issues.
“In order to report back to OMB there was no simple or centralized way to report power consumptions and/or savings in a centralized fashion,” he said. “To save energy or reduce costs from workstation power usage, each site was developing their own solutions. This created either duplication of efforts and still did not assist with addressing the problem. These solutions were also homegrown that can add complications to support them as well.”
Operating under a distributed deployment model, the Department needed a flexible tool that worked with its existing systems management platform to accommodate the specialized needs of each individual, while eliminating duplication of efforts.
The Department also needed an effective way to proactively provide system upgrades and maintain the security of desktops and laptops at remote sites that often relied on bandwidth-challenged 512Kbps satellite links to deliver 400+ MB packages to desktops.
Caron said they needed a solution that could not only provide the necessary reporting, but was also flexible enough to accommodate sites requirements as well as centralized scanning, reporting and patching windows for shutdown and wake-up policies.
“Basically adopt one solution that provides reporting, shutdown and wakeup for the entire enterprise,” Caron said.
Working with 1E, in November 2010, State began deploying the firm’s secure solutions for power management, bandwidth optimization, operating system upgrades, software deployments and patches to thousands of PCs and servers, day or night with zero disruption.
These solutions are generating significant savings in energy, cost and systems administrator time for the Department.
Caron said: “The strategy first was to make the agent for the selected product mandatory for all Department workstations, which then allowed for us to report on the enterprise as a whole, regardless of if a site had their own shutdown/wakeup solution in place. Next, we worked with each individual site to implement policy for shutdown and wakeup times in conjunction with the centralized offices that performed patching and scanning of the various sites.”
Clearly, the initiative is providing tangible benefits for Caron.
“We can easily now report on an enterprise level. We have the flexibility to accommodate sites needs and times with shutdown/wakeup policies,” he said. “We have one solution that is a COTS solution that can be supported by a small staff rather than multiple resources supporting various homegrown solutions, thus eliminating duplication of effort and support complications that non-COTS products can produce.”
Further by having one solution and working closely with the central offices that perform patching and scanning Caron said “we are able to ensure that PCs are woken up to allow for this work to be performed, thus keeping our workstations enterprise-wide secure.”
To get the job done, State is using 1E’s NightWatchman® Enterprise to automate the shutdown of unused workstations while maintaining security and minimizing disruption. WakeUp™ allows Department site workstations to be powered on for patching, scanning, health checks and software installation. These tasks can now be performed during non-business hours, minimizing impact to normal day-to-day business operations.
To deploy solutions, State is using 1E’s Nomad Enterprise, which uses spare network bandwidth to securely deliver operating system upgrades, software deployments and patches.