On the Hunt for Green

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print

Surveyor from Verdiem aids and abets solution providers searching for the best way to green up the enterprise.


Green can mean three things; "go," "money" and now "energy." What if there was a product for the channel that would allow solution providers to "go" to the enterprise, earn "money" and save "energy" for the customer—all without spending a cent on hardware? I would call that a triple-green effect!

Bringing triple green to the channel is Verdiem's Surveyor software, which offers enterprise-level, PC power-management software to the masses.

Surveyor was designed as a client-server application, which enforces energy policies across desktop PCs and servers. What does "enforces energy policies" mean? Simply put, most of the desktops in existence today and many of the operating systems in use offer some type of energy management, which for the most part goes unused and unnoticed. The culprit here is how difficult it can be to configure such energy-saving features and how often the end-user inadvertently disables those same features, wasting energy, creating heat and increasing a company's carbon footprint.

By placing a piece of client software on a PC, Surveyor allows administrators to control via a console, the energy policies of any monitored PC. This is a surprisingly simple concept, which for the most part has gone unnoticed by both the enterprise and the channel.

One only has to look at some recent research to see how quickly the savings can add up. The U.S. Department of Energy's research shows that PCs and computer monitors account for roughly 13 percent of the total electricity used each year by commercial enterprises. Verdiem expands on that research by offering that a typical PC consumes 600 kilowatt-hours (KWH) of electricity a year. Surveyor reduces that energy consumption by more than 30 percent or by an average of 200 KWH per PC annually. In a PC-intensive organization, this typically represents a 3 to 6 percent annual reduction in total electricity consumption, saving an average of $20 to $60 per PC annually. Applying that logic to a 10,000-PC network shows that over 2 million KWH of electricity can be saved every year. These numbers indicate that there could be a savings of $200,000 in electricity costs annually. That makes the return on investment on Verdiem's product nothing to sneeze at and should ease the sale of the product into the enterprise and more importantly, slide some profits into the pocket of the energy-savvy solution provider.

What's more, the product can easily be spooled into a managed service. Imagine a managed service that saves the customer money while still being profitable for the channel partner. Even more impressive, is the fact that Surveyor could be that foot in the door that the typical solution provider needs to land a large account. If you can save the customer money, energy and make them feel good about their environmental contributions, then selling other services becomes that much easier.

Solution providers will find the product straight forward to install, and if that solution provider has experience with PC management utilities using Windows networks, then the install really becomes a no-brainer.

Once installed, administrators can build reports and profiles to determine exactly what energy-saving capabilities exist on the network and how those capabilities can be leveraged. Those reports prove to be an important tool for not only planning policy, but also for judging ROI: After all, a typical CIO loves to see demonstrated ROI.

Administrators will then define policies that are pushed out to the PCs. Those policies can be as simple as performing an auto shut down after work hours have ended or as complex as throttling the CPU and spinning down hard drives to eke out additional savings. The product's browser-based console makes policy creation very easy, in addition to reporting generation and management tasks.

The only downside here is that Surveyor is a standalone product at this time: It cannot be integrated into some of the desktop management platforms that exist today—and that perhaps is where the real future is for a product like this. If integrated with a major managed service provider (MSP) platform, such as those offered by Zenith Infotech or N-able, Surveyor could become the product that drives MSP services into the midsize enterprise.

But, until that happens, savvy solution providers can use Surveyor to build a pseudo-managed services offering around power savings.

The company is currently looking to build up its channel presence via their Channel Sales Alliance and Consulting Alliances programs. While scant specifics were available at this time about tiers, levels, margins and discounts, the company is definitely making the effort to build channel relationships.

Verdiem's Surveyor software is aimed at organizations with 300 or more PCs. The first tier of licenses retails at $25 per seat and includes one year of maintenance. Additional years of maintenance are priced at $3.75 per seat. Volume discounts are available, as are discounts for authorized partners.


Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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