Green Makeover – Windows Home Server Edition

Every time someone walks in my office and sees the setup I’m running, their response is usually, “Good lord – how much does it cost to run all this stuff?”

My home office has…

Server rack and monitors in my home office

…a lot of stuff in it…

Closer view of the monitors in my home office

…or so they tell me.

People think I’m burning $100 bills to keep warm, but it’s not as bad as it looks. I admit it – I do have a bit of a monitor fetish. But in my defense, the monitors only get used when I’m in the office and I physically turn them off whenever I leave. Typically, I run 4 monitors at a time. I only turn all the screens on when I’m editing books and need to spread pictures / virtual machines / research documents / manuscripts / websites across the workspace. So, from a power standpoint, the monitors are no big deal.

This is how I rolled in my home network back in 2004.However, that 7’ tall server rack in the corner is the big power hog. The equipment in the rack stays turned on 24x7x365. In addition to the money for the electricity, there are noise and heat issues.

Back in 2004 when I first installed the rack, it sported big Compaq ProLiant 1600R servers with 325-Watt power supplies (see right). I was glad to have the horsepower back in the day, but running those hot and loud machines was tough on the peace and quiet in the house and on the wallet.

Several years later I got into virtualization and happily consolidated those old power-hungry monsters into tidy little virtual servers. I also and changed from CRT monitors to LCDs and swapped the conventional network switches for “green” ones. Currently the rack holds 4 physical servers, which in turn handle about 40 different virtual machines. The newer boxes are more energy efficient, but there’s always room for improvement. This week I’m replacing my old worn out ghetto Windows Home Server with a new one.

SWAPPING WHS V1 for WHS 2011

Since Windows Home Server 2011 needs a 64-bit processor, I had to move to new hardware. Here are the specs to compare:

  Old WHS New WHS
PC Generic whitebox HP ProLiant Microserver
CPU Celeron 2.0 GHz x86 AMD Athlon II Neo N36L 1.3 GHz
RAM 1 GB RAM 3 GB RAM
STORAGE 4 TB storage
(2) WD Black WD1001FALS 1TB
(1) WD Green WD20EARS 2TB
8 TB storage
(4) WD Green WD20EARS 2TB
OS Windows Home Server v1 Windows Home Server 2011

 

You may remember the HP ProLiant Microserver from The World’s Fastest Small Business Server post last year. I *love* those servers!

Certainly, a 64-bit processor and 3x the RAM would make the new WHS box faster than the old one (in spite of the 1.3 GHz clock speed). But I was curious if going to 4 “Green” drives would use more power than the old server which had 2 “Black” drives and 1 “Green” drive.

MEASURING THE POWER USAGE

The Kill A Watt from P3 International - Measures your electric usageThere’s a handy little device from P3 International called the #P4400 Kill A Watt that retails for $17-$25 US.

It’s accurate within .2%, and easy as pie to operate – the instruction manual only has one page.

There are 5 buttons on the front:

  • Volt (volts AC)
  • Amp (amperage)
  • Watt / VA (Watts / Volt Amps)
  • Hz / PF (Hertz / Power Factor)
  • KWH / Hour (Kilowatt-hours / timer)

For our purposes, you only need the Watt button.

  1. Plug the Kill A Watt into the wall (I use an extension cord)
  2. Plug the server (or other equipment) into the front of the Kill A Watt
  3. Turn the server on
  4. Wait for a few minutes for the server to boot and settle down
  5. Press the Watt button and write down your reading

CALCULATING THE COST

Now that we know how many Watts your server is using (let’s say 75 Watts for the sake of argument) let’s calculate what the financial cost is.

Get your latest electric bill or go to your utility website and find the charge for a Kilowatt-Hour (kWh). In Louisville, that’s currently $0.07068 kWh.

To create a formula, and we’ll assign those numbers to variables:

  • W = Watt usage
  • C = Cost per kWh

Formula to calculate the cost to run your server…

…per day: (W / 1000) x 24 x C

…per month: (W / 1000) x 730 x C

…per year: (W / 1000) x 8760 x C

What we’re doing is:

  1. Converting Watts into Kilowatts by dividing W by 1000
    75 Watts / 1000 = 0.075 Kilowatts
  2. Then multiply those Kilowatts x 24 hours in a day to get kWh
    0.075 Kilowatts x 24 hours = 1.8 kWh
  3. Finally, multiply the kWh x the Cost per kWh
    1.8 kWh x $0.07068 = $0.12 per day

Example: (75 Watts / 1000) x 24 hours x $0.07068 kWh = $0.12 per day

You can multiply that number by 365 days to get your cost per year = $43.80

Tip – Skip The Math Anxiety

If you don’t feel like doing the math above, just take your Watt (W) and Cost per kilowatt hour (C) and use the online calculator here:
http://mathmerlin.com/

The online calculator shows you the cost per hour, day, week, month and year all at once.

Kermit said, "It's not easy being green." He lied.ARE WE GREENER?

So how does the new WHS 2011 Microserver compare to the old junker? I measured both servers while streaming a 24 GB .WTV video file from them.

  • OLD Celeron whitebox WHS v1 uses 122 Watts
    Cost to run: $0.21 per day / $6.29 per month / $75.54 per year
  • NEW HP ProLiant Microserver WHS 2011 uses 46.5 Watts
    Cost to run: $0.08 per day / $2.40 per month / $28.79 per year

HP ProLiant MicroserverWINNER = NEW HP Microserver with WHS 2011

  • Has 2 x the storage as the old box
  • Has 3 x the RAM as the old box
  • Uses 60% LESS power
  • Costs me $46.75 LESS per year to run

I had no idea how much juice that old garbage PC was using. I just assumed that a Celeron would use less power because, well, it’s slower. Right?

Obviously, that $46.75 cost savings per year doesn’t pay for even one hard drive in the new server, but that’s not the point. The old box was gimpy, and the hardware had to be replaced to go to the 64-bit platform anyway. The point is that it’s easy to use less energy by making smart hardware choices – choices that still perform REALLY well. The power savings on the new server will more than pay for the cost of the P3 Kill A Watt. The leftover money savings is icing on the cake.

CALL TO ACTION

I encourage you to use a Kill A Watt to see how much juice your server rack or office is burning. You can check the equipment one piece at a time, or just plug a power strip (or your UPS) into the Kill A Watt and check it all at once.

If you have a device that kicks on and off, like a mini fridge or an air conditioner, you can use the KWH button instead of the Watt button and come back an hour later to see the accumulated result. Measuring your electric usage is now quick, easy, and you just must might save yourself some dough.

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KYSBSUG 5-Year Anniversary

Kentucky Small Business Server User Group (KYSBSUG)This week, Thursday March 19, 2009 marks the 5-Year Anniversary of the Kentucky Small Business Server User Group (KYSBSUG). Where did the time go?

It’s pretty amazing to look back at all the events and topics we’ve covered in the last 60+ months. Some of the highlights we’ve met on include:

  • Backup & Disaster Recovery
  • Linux for SBSers
  • Vista Loadfest
  • FolderShare for Remote Workers
  • SBS Hacks
  • SQL 2005 Launch Event
  • Windows Mobile Boot Camp
  • DD-WRT
  • Office 2007 / Vista Road Show
  • Windows 7
  • SBS 2008
  • Essential Business Server (EBS) 2008
  • Windows Home Server (WHS)
  • Windows SharePoint Services (WSS)
  • Response Point
  • And vendor presentations like ConnectWise, Level Platforms, eFolder, New Horizons, etc., just to name a few.

Over the years we’ve had numerous well-known speakers, including: Amy Luby, Ronald Grattopp (Microsoft), Brian Von Axleson (Microsoft), Chris Rue [MVP], Kevin Royalty [MVP], Allen Miller, and many more. We’ve had study groups, round table meetings, and Live Meetings with visitors from all around the USA, Canada, and even as far away as Belgium.

In short, we’ve really done a lot in the last 5 years, and we’d like to invite you to celebrate with us! There will be food, door prizes, and lots of networking opportunities. Please register today!

Evening – KYSBSUG 5-Year Anniversary
Date: Thursday March 19, 2009
Time: 5:30 PM Eastern (GMT –5)
Venue: Fifth Quarter Steakhouse
Address: 1241 Durrett Lane, Louisville, KY 40213
Phone: (502) 361-2363
Map: http://tinyurl.com/bhrmqb
Registration Link: http://www.clicktoattend.com/?id=136756

IMPORTANT: This venue was chosen because it’s only a few blocks away from the Microsoft events that are happening earlier that day (which you should also attend):

Morning – Microsoft TS2 – 03/19/2009, 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM Eastern
Topics: Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), EBS 2008 & SBS 2008
Venue: Crowne Plaza Louisville Airport (formerly Executive West Hotel)
Register: http://msevents.microsoft.com/cui/EventDetail.aspx?culture=en-US&EventID=1032402683

Afternoon – Microsoft SB2 – 03/19/2009, 1:00 PM – 4:30 PM Eastern
Topics: Solution selling w/ Vista, EBS 2008 & SBS 2008
Venue: Crowne Plaza Louisville Airport (formerly Executive West Hotel)
Presenter: Ronald Grattopp
Register: http://msevents.microsoft.com/cui/EventDetail.aspx?culture=en-US&EventID=1032402690

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Vista Registration Deadline for Promo Copy

image If you attended a TS2, TechNet or Windows Server 2008 launch event in 2008, you may have gotten a copy of Windows Vista Ultimate with Service Pack 1 in a gray envelope like the one pictured on the right.

If you’ve not opened that package yet (I know I didn’t) you need to before the end of December 2008 and register to get your installation key.

To register, grab your envelope, find the 8-digit alpha-numeric code inside, and go to http://www.registerwindowsvistasp1.com today. Then simply fill in your contact info, take a short survey, and PID will be emailed to you in a matter of minutes.

Note: This key will work for the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Vista, but the CD inside the envelope only has the 32-bit version.

Props: Found on Dan Stolts blog

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Webcast – Vista Objections and Solution Selling

It seems like everybody has an opinion about Vista these days, and more often than not, it’s a negative opinion based on press / advertising / word of mouth / and perception rather than hands-on experience (think ‘Mojave Experiment’).

If you’re a Microsoft Partner and you’d like to know how to handle these objections and get the most out of Windows Vista, be sure to sign up for the following two webcasts and join Ron Grattopp as he presents:

“Windows Vista: What you need to know about selling it and how to combat the negative perceptions and objections”

In addition to discussing Vista objections, Ron will also show how to implement a “solution” approach to selling Windows Vista. And there’s an added bonus if you attend both seminars.

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Downloads – Free Server 2008 TCP/IP eBook

Windows Server 2008 TCP/IP Protocols and ServicesTitle: Windows Server 2008 TCP/IP Protocols and Services
Author: Joseph Davies
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Published: 01/09/2008
ISBN: 9780735624474
Pages  624
Hard copy available: $31.49 at Amazon.com
Register for FREE download:  click here (20 MB)

Description:

Your essential guide to TCP/IP—fully updated for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista.

This in-depth technical reference delivers must-know information on TCP/IP for any IT professional working with Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista operating systems. This comprehensive guide starts with the fundamentals, delivering coverage of TCP/IP protocols layer by layer to help build mastery of protocols and their implementation. It focuses on Internet layer protocols such as IP, ICMP, IGMP, and includes a preview of IPv6; transport layer protocols such as TCP and UDP; and application layer protocols such as DNS, DHCP, and WINS. Written by a leading TCP/IP author, plus peer reviews from experts on the Windows Networking Team, this is the definitive guide to TCP/IP for Windows Server 2008.

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Moving to Vista 64-bit

Last night I finally bit the bullet and wiped my corporate box and installed Windows Vista 64-bit. I am determined to march forward no matter what.

Initial impression of the 64-bit OS?: SMOKING FAST

Vista 64-bit clocks in at 5.2 on the Vista Base Score

The only driver issue was for my Plantronics DSP 500 USB headset, and that wasn’t even a driver issue really, it was just a configuration issue. So far everything is working great, and I’ve got a VPC of XP waiting on a second drive in case I run into any programs that aren’t 64-bit compatible.

The next OS decision it whether or not I should flatten my laptop and run Windows Server 2008 as a workstation OS.

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Vista Ultimate & SP1 in Next Action Pack

maps Per Ron Grattopp’s blog (Microsoft TS2 Presenter Extraordinaire) , the next Microsoft Action Pack Subscription (MAPS) update will include Windows Vista Business w/ SP1 slipstreamed.

That’s cool, but even cooler, the MAPS update will contain one copy of Windows Vista Ultimate with Service Pack 1.

Per the Microsoft Partner web site:

  • Mid-March 2008 delivery of Microsoft Windows Vista Business with SP1 in a special Action Pack shipment to partners worldwide. To make it easier for you to deploy the final release of Windows Vista SP1 for internal use, all subscribers will receive full code. Not currently an Action Pack subscriber? Find out how to subscribe. New subscribers will receive Windows Vista with SP1 as part of the April 2008 Welcome Kit.

  • One license for Windows Vista Ultimate with SP1 (full code*) for internal use, so you can discuss this product’s benefits and features with customers who need a single PC to fulfill their work, travel, and entertainment needs. This software will be delivered in the regular Action Pack quarterly update (April 2008) for current subscribers, and for new Action Pack subscribers starting in April 2008.

  • A comprehensive set of readiness resources to arm you to sell and support Windows Vista SP1 solutions for your small- or midsize-business customers as momentum builds.

  • Exciting incentives and promotions that reward you for learning, using, and selling SP1.

  • Source: https://partner.microsoft.com/40052827

So be on the lookout for the mid-March MAPS update. And thanks for the heads-up Ron.

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Downloading Vista Service Pack 1

windowsvista_logo_small As Susan pointed out yesterday, Vista Service Pack 1 is available for TechNet Plus subscribers.

Since I can’t find my TechNet info, the good news is that Vista SP1 is also available for MSDN subscribers:

image

The EXE version weighs in at 434.5 MB:

image

The ISO DVD version is a stout 1.13 GB:
image

Download speeds are pretty quick this morning.
1.13 GB in 18 minutes. I like that. 🙂

We’ll post the public URL when it hits general consumption status.

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Adobe Reader and Acrobat Flaw

PDF_icon As if PDF attachments weren’t already suspicious enough thanks to UCE, now you have to be concerned about PDFs that can allow someone to take control of your PC.

Yesterday (10/22) Adobe released an update to fix a critical vulnerability in the following software:

  • Adobe Reader 8.1 and earlier
  • Adobe Reader 7.0.9 and earlier
  • Adobe Acrobat Professional, 3D and Standard 8.1 and earlier versions
  • Adobe Acrobat Professional, Standard, 3D and Elements 7.0.9 and earlier

Security bulletin URL:
http://www.adobe.com/support/security/bulletins/apsb07-18.html

Here’s the interesting part:

This issue only affects customers on Windows XP with Internet Explorer 7 installed. (Vista users are not affected).

Take that, H8Rs. 😉

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Adding Macs to a Windows Vista Workgroup

Back in January at the EVO Launch in Louisville I met a ton of new people.  One of them was Erik Eckel from Computer Troubleshooters (super-nice guy!) 

Erik recently had an article published on TechRepublic (April 6, 2007) that I’d like to share with everyone who works in smaller Windows networks that include Macs.

This article provides step-by-step instructions on how to add Macs to a Windows Vista Workgroup.    This article is a great reference with screen shots, and it’s well worth reading and bookmarking.  Saving it as a PDF is probably a good idea too, and you can do that right from the TechRepublic site.

When I met Erik, I had no idea just how prolific a writer he really is.  You can check out Erik’s bio and other articles (over 300 of them) on TechRepublic here.

Nicely done Erik!

P.S.  He’s also got an article on how to add Windows Vista machines into a Mac network.

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