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Summary:

Earlier this week, I shared a method to stream digital media from my Windows Home Server to handsets like the iPhone and Palm Pre. One of the first questions came from Luscious — he asked if I have my WHS running 7 by 24. Definitely a […]

lights-out-whs

Earlier this week, I shared a method to stream digital media from my Windows Home Server to handsets like the iPhone and Palm Pre. One of the first questions came from Luscious — he asked if I have my WHS running 7 by 24. Definitely a good question since, by definition, Windows Home Server is a server. It’s fairly common to run servers all the time, but I’m not doing that for two reasons.

electric-usageOne, I’m experimenting with WHS to see what I can and can’t do with it. Once the experiment progresses far enough, I’ll determine if it meets my needs. Second, I’m pretty big into watching my demand for electricity. With two full-time, work-at-home people in our house — both on multiple computers — our conservation strategies over the past year have greatly reduced our electricity consumption.

Even with a Scrooge-like attitude towards power usage, it’s possible to run a server in a smart fashion. But Windows Home Server doesn’t offer all of the consumer friendly power settings found in XP, Vista and Windows 7. That’s why I’ll be installing an add-in called Lights Out over the weekend. The donation-ware application helps temper the power needs of a Windows Home Server by configuring the box for sleep and resume through a calendar interface.

I don’t need to have my WHS running when I’m asleep because I won’t need access to any of the shared folders at that time. Backups of my Windows PC devices can easily be scheduled for when we normally eat dinner, instead of midnight or 3:00am. Automatic updates can be done during “normal” hours, too. So I’l use Lights Out to sleep my WHS near the end of my day and wake it again before my day starts.

The calendar interface looks fairly straightforward but it’s by no means carved in stone. The Lights Out product site says a small app can be installed on my client machines so I can wake the server as needed. That function will come in handy when I’m on a trip to another time-zone, for example. I’ll check back in with a follow up once I get Lights Out installed, configured and running for a few days.

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  1. In my case, unfortunately, I need access to shared folders at all times for media sharing… never know what time someone is going to want to watch something, even at odd hours of the night.

    It sucks a little for power usage, but I had that in mind in the first place when buying it, so I definitely chose the most power-friendly components I could find (this was before the Atom was out, unfortunately).

  2. Nice find! This looks like a great timer app to power up and sleep the server automatically. For maximum efficiency, I would set it to hibernate during the night and sleep during the day, waking up only whenever there’s activity, be it a backup job or remote streaming.

  3. Would a NAS be more power efficient, and offer most of what you seem to want?

  4. I just bought a “Kill a Watt” to measure the consumption of my assorted boxes/gadgets. How much does your Windows Home Server consume? I’d be curious to compare it to my Infrant ReadyNAS (with four 750 GB drives in RAID configuration).

    1. I’ve got 9 of the WD GreenPower drives, plus two SATA controller cards, powered by an AMD (I believe it’s a Athlon X2, 45-watt version) chip, using onboard video and 4GB RAM, and last I checked the system hovered around I think 90 watts or so.

  5. I run a QNAP NAS that contains all my mp3 files on mirrored 500mb drives (draws < 30 watts). I additionally have it run a crontab job that periodically wakes up a SHUTTLE PC with TV Tuner Cards to record tv shows I'm interested in. The crontab file is generated by a special script that gets the upcoming recording schedule from the HTTP server (Beyond TV) on the PC and munges it into a crontab file. Turning the PC on 10 minutes before recording a show and turning it off 10 minutes after recording the show.

    I may be obsessive.

    Oh yeah the NAS is also running Squeezebox software.

  6. The new HP Mediasmart Servers, EX485 and EX487, now have the option to be placed in Sleep mode too.

    Under the Settings Tab you select the “HP MediaSmart Server” option. The first screen that pops up is “Power Management” and you have the option to “Enable Daily Sleep Time”. It will also automatically wake before scheduled backup times.

    The only drawback I could see is there’s no ability to select days of the week. It’s an all or nothing option. Since we’re usually working during the day, I wanted to set that to be the sleep time, however then it’s asleep on Saturday and Sunday as well, when we’re home and most likely to be using the server.

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