Why Do We Wake Computers?

wake-up

NightWatchman is great at shutting down computers when they’re not needed and waking them when they are. Sometimes I wonder if WakeUp is even more popular with our customers than power management or the other NWM features. But like a parent, as product manager I try my best to focus on all my ‘children’ equally.

One thing I’ve realized is that our customers use WakeUp in an amazing number of ways. You might think that wake-on-LAN (WOL) is simply needed either to wake computers by administrators for maintenance or by users for remote access. That’s true, but there’s a lot more to it.

In particular, WakeUp can be and is used in all these ways:

  • By Microsoft ConfigMgr (SCCM) administrators:
    • Software update deployments
    • Shopping deployments
    • Other deployments, including applications and operating systems
    • ConfigMgr console for either collections or individual machines, possibly with a policy refresh
    • Wake Nomad peers for cached content
    • Nomad pre-caching
    • AppClarity’s Reclaimer to quickly uninstall unused software
  • By NightWatchman administrators with or without ConfigMgr:
    • NWM console for either groups, individual machines in the tree view, computers in query results, or any combination of such clients
    • Alarm clocks (so that computers are ready to be used in the morning, for example)
    • Maintenance windows (for middle-of-the-night work)
    • From scripts or other custom programmed solutions for special purposes
  • By end-users:
    • Web WakeUp for remote access to their work computer(s)
    • Custom interfaces that use the Web WakeUp APIs but not its interface
  • By other teams:
    • The Security Team for security investigations or audits is an especially good example. They’ll use whichever of the above techniques is easiest for the NWM admins but what makes this tricky is that they often want the device to then stay awake for days

So that’s 14 different ways that people use WakeUp, or even more if you distinguish the sub-scenarios (such as the four ways the NightWatchman console can send wakeups).

Which of these is most popular? Usage really does vary a lot by customer, so it’s hard to say. Waking computers for software updates is very commonly used and almost always for large numbers of computers, but it tends to be used once a week or once a month. Waking for software deployments is even more commonly used but generally not on huge numbers of computers (it depends on how many machines the deployments apply to). Each of the scenarios above is important to at least a subset of our customers, so we take them all seriously.

And that’s not all. Integrating WakeUp better with new and existing 1E solutions can make those solutions even more effective. And we know new scenarios will become important as technology advances. For example, wake-on-voice or wake-on-presence will become significant as we get used to our devices being ever more intuitive. The NightWatchman engineering team and I have a lot of plans for WakeUp.

I encourage you to review the list above and consider whether you help your organization even more by using WakeUp in even more ways.

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