The best way to save power on desktop machines is to put the machines to sleep when they are idle. This is very obvious but we have a big list of disadvantages when the machines are sleeping.

Access to the system is limited while sleeping:

• Sleeping machines cannot have its pataches rolled out.
• They cannot serve up files.
• They do not offer Remote Desktop Connections.

The Wake-on-LAN(WoL) feature has the ability to wake sleeping machines remotely but it hasn’t been successfully integrated into the existing softwares. A Remote Desktop Connection to a machine that is powered off will be in vain rather than an attempt to wake the machine first.

Microsoft’s solution to the problem:

Research done by Microsoft presents a solution to this problem-The Sleeping Proxy. This method consists of a network agent that intercepts traffic which is intended for sleeping machines and if it is determined that machine needs to be woken up in order to respond to the traffic, the machine wakes up through WoL. This facility allows the machines to be put to sleep aggressively while still keeping them accessible when necessary. The power savings can be highly efficient and can be as high as 60% to 80%.

Other systems offering similar features:

Every other commercial system offering this type of feature has it’s own disadvantage. For instance, Apple has its own “Wake on Demand” feature that allows to wake machines which offer only certain networking services. Another example is the Intel’s “Remote Wakeup Technology” which allows only specically written applications to wake sleeping machines. Neither of these two serve as a general purpose nor software agnostic as Microsoft’s prototype does.

Ongoing researches:

The researchers are now investigating a peer-to-peer system which would let us omit the dedicated agent and instead leave the last PC standing to manage the other machines on the network. Microsoft deployed this technique on a real network of workstations and saw tremendous amount of success. However research earlier to that failed because it tended to be experimental and offered hypothetical savings.

Efficient Power Saving:

Companies and home users are becoming ever more conscious of the environmental and the financial impact of power consumption,The Sleeping Proxy is a compelling technology. This technique is less complex and it provides highly practical benefits. Serious research and distribution of this technology can save millions of dollars and millions of watts. The surprising thing is that all this can happen overnight.

Successful development and extensive distribution of this technique will bring about a new revolution in the world of computers where large amounts of power can be saved at a very reasonable cost.