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Dell Provides Mass Off Switch For SMB Networks

Through its acquisition of KACE, Dell has gotten into the management appliance market, which lets you turn off the PCs as well as the lights before going home.A network "management appliance" might not seem synonymous with green, eco-friendly energy savings, but Dell KACE makes a case for the connection with its new KACE 1000. Not only does it let you configure Windows, Mac and Linus machines on a network, but it lets you turn them all off at the end of the day.

Of course, today's operating systems include a setting that has the machine power-down after no user action has been detected for a while. Going into hibernate mode, where only the network interface card remains alive (in case there's a network power-on signal) cuts power consumption from something over 100 watts to about one watt, Dell KACE president Rob Meinhardt told IW SMB.

The new KACE 1000 can put the whole network into hibernation during off hours. Assuming a five-day work week and power that costs ten cents per kilowatt hour, KACE figures that such measures should save $77,260 yearly for a LAN with 1,000 desktops, and $9,490 with as many laptops. Turning them off will additionally save on air conditioning, of course.

The KACE 1000 can also let you handle chores like inventory management, software patching, and help-desk functions. The latter includes pre-defined chores, like provisioning a new hire.

The unit costwhich includes everythingis between $8,000 and $10,000 for about 100 end-points. The average customer manages 500 to 5,000 end-points, with the largest managing 35,000, Meinhardt said.

But the back story maybe more interesting: Dell (the $53 billion PC maker in Round Rock, TX) bought KACE (of Mountain View, CA) in February. This is why they're referred to as Dell KACE, and indicates that Dell sees network management as the wave of the futuresomething it would not do if the customers were not clamoring for it.

In other words, managers of smaller networks are now willing to invest in tools that let them save power proactively. With savings like those cited by KACE (which are based on EPA figures) it's no mystery they might make such decisions.

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