Greenkeeper Systems | FAQ

By: Greenkeeper Systems  06-Dec-2011

Frequently Asked Questions

I have upgraded to Windows 7, why do I need any more power settings?

The Windows 7 Operating Systems provides numerous features in relation to powering down internal components of the computer (such as CPU and hard drives) and peripheral devices (such as LCD Monitors and external hard drives). It also provides the ability to put the computer into standby or hibernation mode when you are not using it.

The Greenkeeper™ works with the Windows 7 power schemes to provide additional features, such as selection of the active power scheme depending on whether the computer is in use or not. It also provides you with the ability to automatically wake up the computer before you start your work day. The Greenkeeper™ also contains a powerful calendar feature so that you can specify at which times on various days the computer should enter a powered-down state or be woken up.

Contained within The Greenkeeper™ calendar are scheduled tasks, meaning that there is no longer a need to keep the computer running if it needs to perform tasks when it is not attended. 

What systems are supported by The Greenkeeper™?

The Greenkeeper™ is a Client/Server application.

The Server component is supported by Windows Server 2003 R2 or higher. The Greenkeeper™ Server Component has undergone "Works with Windows 7" testing and is currently being evaluated for "Certifiied for Windows Server 2008 R2". The Server component will also work on WIndows XP for small installations.

The Client component is supported by Windows XP SP3 or higher. The Greenkeeper™ Client Component has undergone "Works with Windows 7" testing and is fully UAC compliant. The client application requires Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 with SP1 installed.

How do I install The Greenkeeper™?

The Greenkeeper™ is supplied as two separate MSI installation packages. There is an installation package for the Server Component and an installation package for the Client Components. Both installation packages support command-line options for all settings, meaning they can be used in unattended installations and can be deployed using any software deployment system that supports MSI.

How much money can I save using The Greenkeeper™?

Savings are dependant on two factors: the power consumed by the PC, and the cost of electricity provided to you by your electricity company.

Older PCs generally consume more power than more powerful, modern PCs. This is due to the manufacturers focusing on energy saving in modern components. Additionally, modern operating systems (such as Windows 7) can also reduce power consumption.

In general, studies have found that over 75% of office computers are left on overnight, either for personal reasons (user not wanting to wait for the computer to start in the morning) or for technical reasons (software patches are applied overnight). The Greenkeeper™ has been designed with these scenarios in mind, meaning that the computer can be powered down overnight resulting in excess of a 60% reduction in computer on-time. 

How do I configure consumption values for PCs and Monitors?

The reporting system allows you to specify an average wattage for each PC (including monitors) on the report. We use an average of 75 watts by default.

For a more accurate average, we suggest that you use a power consumption meter that can be plugged into the  wall that monitors the power drawn through the outlet. Using this on several computers over the course of a week will allow you to determine the average wattage of your computers.

Greenkeeper Systems is currently testing the power draw by various hardware configurations so that this information can be included in future reporting.

How do I license and activate The Greenkeeper™?

The Greenkeeper™ is licensed on a per-seat basis. Each client computer that is moitored or controlled is required to have a valid licence. The Server Component is not licenced separately, but is included as part of the Client Component licencing.

Additional licences can be purchased at any time and activated in the same manner. Trial Licences are generally valid for a period of 1 month. 

A limit of 3 Online Activations is permitted per activation code. However, by logging onto the Greenkeeper Web Site using your username and password, this can be reset at any time.

How does The Greenkeeper™   work?

There are two components to The Greenkeeper™.

The Server Component maintains a database of client computers, including their activitty, current state and information required to wake up the client when needed (such as IP Address, MAC Address, IP Subnet, etc). The Server is responsible for issuing wakeup calls to client computers at the time that the client computer requested it.

The Client Component monitors the current state of the computer, and informs the Server when the state of the Client changes (this includes logins, logouts, power down, power up, etc). When the computer is idle, the Client Component checks the Greenkeeper Calendar to determine whether it should enter a power-saving mode. When it does, it also determines whether it requires a wakeup call from the Server, and if so registers a wakeup call time with the Server. The Server will then issue a wakeup call at that time.

The wakeup call consists of a Wake-on-LAN data packet that is sent to the Client computer's last known location. The wakeup message is resent every 10 minutes until the Client responds. After 2 hours, the wakeup request is cancelled.

The Greenkeeper Calendar contains the power-down and wakeup times. Different times can be specified for weekdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Additionally, different times can be specified for any particular day using the the Custom settings. The Calendar also supports Holidays (which as treated like a Sunday) and out-of-office days (like a do-not-disturb, during which no wakeup call will be made). The Calendar also supports Scheduled Tasks for which the Client will wake itself up so it can execute the task, after which the Client will power down the computer.

Do I Need Wake-On-LAN?

Wake-on-LAN is required to allow the Server to issue a wakeup call to the Client. 

Wake-on-LAN is not required for any other function of The Greenkeeper™, including activity logging, automatic power-down and scheduled tasks.

The Greenkeeper™ Client Components includes a Wake-on-LAN Trace utility allowing you to determine whether Wake-on-LAN messages are being received by a computer. This utility is used to check network connectivity only - it does not guarantee that the computer is enabled for Wake-on-LAN.

Can I Use Wake-On-LAN Across the WAN?

Yes. However, different physical locations are generally located on different subnets. As a result, there is typically a network router or two that must be traversed by the Wake-on-LAN data packet before it can reach it's intended destination.

The Greenkeeper™ uses "directed subnet broadcast" messages to send the Wake-on-LAN data packet, and not "general broadcast" messages. Some network routers will allow directed subnet broadcasts through by default, but others will block them by default. Check with your network administrator to see whether directed subnet broadcasts are enabled.

The Greenkeeper™ Client Components includes a Wake-on-LAN Trace utility allowing you to determine whether Wake-on-LAN messages are being received by a computer. This utility is used to check network connectivity only - it does not guarantee that the computer is enabled for Wake-on-LAN. Use this tool to determine whether Wake-on-LAN messages are being received across the WAN.

Are We Able to Use Wake-On-LAN/WAN over the Internet?

Yes. This scenario is most often required by workers who wish to be able to connect to their computer while working from home. In this scenario, the user needs to be able to wakeup their office computer via the internet so they can connect to it.

The Greenkeeper™ Client Components includes a "Remote Wakeup" utility. This utility connects to the Server Component, determines the current state of the requested computer, and can request a wakeup call for the computer. Once the computer has powered up, the user can then connect to it using their normal means, such as Remote Desktop or Terminal Services.

Can I protect critical applications?

The Greenkeeper™ calendar includes a "Critical Applications" list, allowing you to override the power-down settings if a critical application is running on the computer. 

This is commonly used in the scenario where a desktop computer has been configured to run a batch job or other non-server application. The Critical Applications list will prevent the computer from powering down if the specified application is currently running. Once the application has finished, the computer will power down as normal.

Alternatively, Scheduled Tasks can be enabled for the application. A Scheduled Task can be configured to power up the computer so the task can be executed. Similar to Critical Applications, The Greenkeeper™ will prevent the computer from powering down while a Scheduled Task is being executed.

How many business rules can I have set up at any one time?

The Greenkeeper™ Calendar can be configured at three levels.

The Computer Group Calendar is the default Calendar configuration for all computers contained within the specified Computer Group. Additionally, each Computer Group can contain sub-groups, which "inherit" the Calendar configuration from it's parent group. There is no limit to the number of Computer Groups or subgroups that can be created. The Computer Group is configured using the Greenkeeper Management Console.

Overriding the Computer Group configuration is the User Calendar configuration. Users can override the default settings to better match their working times, and to enable user-defined Scheduled Tasks. These settings are specific to the computer being used by the user, and are not part of the user profile. User Calendar configurations are not shared across computers. The option to enable or disable User Calendar configurations is set within the Computer Group. This provides system administrators with the ability to disable User Calendars in public environments.

Overriding the User Calendar (and therefore the Computer Group Calendar) is the Computer Calendar. These settings are managed through the Greenkeeper Management Console and allow system administrators to specify computer-specific settings to any individual computer. 

Can The Greenkeeper™   Handle Multiple Power/Utility Vendors and Different Currencies?

As at the current version, reports generated by The Greenkeeper™ are for a single average wattage, cost per KWH, and currency.

New reports are currently in development that support different wattages per computer group and/or computer, different costs per KWH per computer group (therefore supporting different utility vendors), and different currencies per computer group (therefore supporting multiple countries).

Keep in touch - we are constantly adding new features to the application.

How Do I keep The Greenkeeper™up to date?

The Greenkeeper™ contains an automatic update facility. We recommend that this is enabled for a weekly check for updates. All installed components will be automatically downloaded and installed when an update is available.

Alternatively, the automatic update program can be run manually to check for updates.

Finally, the latest version of the application can be downloaded from the website as MSI packages. The MSI packages will perform an upgrade over any older versions of the application.

System Requirements.

Server Component

  • Works with Windows Server 2003 R2 with .NET Framework 2.0
  • Works with Windows XP SP3 with .NET Framework 2.0
  • Certified for Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2005 (or higher) database engine (works with MS SQL Server Express 2008 R2 which is contained on the installation media)
  • Minimum hardware specifications are dependant on the version of MS SQL Server, but should include a minimum of 1GB RAM and 50MB available hard drive space.

Client Component

  • Works with Windows XP SP3 with .NET Framework 2.0 SP1
  • Works with Windows Vista
  • Certified for Windows 7
  • Minimum hardware specifications are dependant on the version of the operating system, but should include a minimum of 512MB RAM and 10MB available hard drive space.

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