1E web WakeUp – Users CAN wake computers from Anywhere!

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Recent articles in this series provided you with an overview the entire process of how the wake-on-LAN (WOL) portion of our PC power management solution NightWatchman works. This article assumes you have read those background articles prior to this document. In the first article, titled 1E WakeUp Server and its AgentFinder Process, we described the process of creating the fundamental components needed throughout the enterprise to allow waking machines when necessary, with no changes needed on the routers. The next article, titled 1E WakeUp – How It Works, went on to show how the actual wakeup process works in the Systems Management scenario using System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) mandatory deployment schedules as the events used to awaken target computers. We also mentioned that the wakeup process could also be used on a one-off, ad hoc, basis by administrator that have access to the SCCM or NightWatchman consoles, such as help desk or desktop engineering techs who need to wake systems.

This last one-off wakeup scenario is at the root of what we also implement for the enterprise via the Web WakeUp portion of the NightWatchman solution. This is the piece that answers the very common concern voiced by end users when they hear of a new power management solution coming which will turn their computer off after normal working hours. “What??? You can’t do that to my system! I need to access my computer from home all the time to do MyVeryImportantWork!!” Web WakeUp is the answer to that concern.

What will Web WakeUp do for me?

Web WakeUp enables the wakeup of specific computers via a web site. As described earlier, it is primarily aimed at the end user who needs to access their work computer outside office hours from a remote location, such as from home. The concept works equally well regardless of where they may be. All that is required is the ability to access the corporate network (and thereby ultimately hit the Web WakeUp web page), usually via a VPN or DirectAccess technique. Additionally, Web WakeUp integrates with NightWatchman to provide computer search and status capabilities, and makes use of the previously documented 1E WakeUp components and processes.

Web WakeUp enables computers to be woken up outside office hours and from off premise. This allows computers to be turned off when not in use, using NightWatchman for example, thereby saving power. At some later time they can be woken up by a known user whenever needed from wherever they are. Web WakeUp provides a simple interface to ensure that even non-technical users can get their work computers up and running when needed.

Web WakeUp Features

Web WakeUp is a web application that integrates with NightWatchman Management Center to use 1E WakeUp to enable users to wake specific computers via a web page. The core features are:

  • Increased scalability and performance – Web WakeUp is able to utilize multiple WakeUp servers to allow scalable wakeups in enterprise networks.
  • Multiple registered computers – individual users can register up to 20 computers that can be awoken using a single click from the Web WakeUp website
  • Web site control – administrators can configure the web wakeup pages that are presented to end users
  • Corporate branding – the website can be easily changed so that the appearance suits your corporate needs. You can add links to wake specific computers to you own sites, such as the company intranet
  • Web WakeUp for iPhone and iPad – Web WakeUp is available as an iPhone and iPad application that can be downloaded from the Apple store
  • Support for mobile devices – Web WakeUp lets you wake PCs from your Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, or iPhone mobile device
  • Remote desktop link – Web WakeUp provides the convenience of a remote desktop RDP link which can be used to connect to your PC after a successful wake up
  • Locked-down security – Web WakeUp lets the administrator register specific users who will be able to use the system to wake computers. Without the appropriate authorization users will not be able to search for or wake systems. By default, Web WakeUp allows anyone access to the wakeup capability.
  • Enhanced computer search – Users can search for computers using domain\username combinations thereby increasing the compatibility between Web WakeUp and enterprise networks.
  • High accuracy – Web WakeUp is able to resolve local computer names without relying on DNS. This is accomplished via an ActiveX control added to the client browser on first access.

How It Works

The following short video illustrates the very simple, 3-step process a user follows to access their computer remotely.

Recapping the end-to-end process that just took place in the video:

  1. While in the office, the user accesses the Web WakeUp web page, and “registers” their computer. They don’t even need to know what that often obtuse name is, as the web page shows them (using the ActiveX control described earlier). Once they complete the registration, there is a relationship established between the user ID and computer name (or names, if multiple systems are registered)
  2. When the need to access the work computer arises from a remote location, they simply authenticate to the domain in the usual way, and access the Web WakeUp URL. The web site, seeing the authenticated user ID returns the previously registered computer associated with that user. The current status of the machine is also determined by Web WakeUp and presented to the user (generally turned off). The user then simply clicks
    the [Wake up] button, whereupon Web WakeUp communicates with the NightWatchman console and initiates the wakeup process for this one device (see earlier posts for a refresher on these basics if necessary). This then becomes that one-off ad hoc action described earlier. It is initiated via the web infrastructure instead of a help desk or desktop engineering tech. Once the action is initiated, Web WakeUp monitors the startup process via ping activity. When the device responds to a ping, it is reported as awake to the user
  3. Now that the device is up and running, and this is reflected to the requesting user via the Web WakeUp interface. The user may then proceed as desired to actually establish a connection to the desktop, typically via the RDP link also provided via Web WakeUp.

But wait! There’s more!

Throughout this article and the video, we focused only on the [Register] and [My Computers] options in Web WakeUp. Below we see the two remaining options not discussed.

[Wake Up Computer] provides a quick and simple means to wake a machine that the user already knows the name of:

is simply that: the user needs to search for a machine or their user name, even when the entire name may not be known, and once found initiate a wakeup:

In Summary

It should be clear that, taken with my two previous articles, and augmented by this last article, the overall WOL functionality provided by our NightWatchman solution is a highly flexible means to wake any system or systems, in a wide variety of ways and times, and from any location desired. I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed this article, and will give serious consideration to 1E for all your systems management needs!

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