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Microsoft Businesses Earth Power IT

Microsoft's Sleep Proxy Lowers PC Energy Use 163

Posted by timothy
from the you-are-getting-very-sleepy dept.
alphadogg writes "Microsoft researchers have slashed desktop energy use with a sleep proxy system that maintains a PC's network presence even when it is turned off or put into standby mode. Microsoft has deployed the sleep proxy system to more than 50 active users in the Building 99 research facility in Redmond, Wash., according to the Microsoft Research Web site and a paper that will be presented at the Usenix technical conference in Boston later this month. ... Sleep proxies allow machines to be turned off while keeping them connected to the network, waking the machines when a user or IT administrator attempts to access them remotely."
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Microsoft's Sleep Proxy Lowers PC Energy Use

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  • Yay!! Microsoft!!

  • Wake on Lan? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hedwards (940851) on Sunday June 13, 2010 @07:55AM (#32556062)
    This is something new? Isn't this basically just wake on lan with an external box? Meaning that rather than having a part of the computer powered on in case the packet to wake up comes through, they're doing it with an external box. I'm a bit curious as to why this justifies any particular coverage.
    • Re:Wake on Lan? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Stupendoussteve (891822) on Sunday June 13, 2010 @08:13AM (#32556122)

      I guess they're claiming it's smart wake on lan. WoL requres sending a specific packet to the machine. Most people don't know to do this (an admin should, but otherwise...) and the network resources will be unavailable in the meantime. This system keeps the resources available and wakes the computer if they are actually needed. It does not rely on someone being smart enough to wake up the system themselves.

      Macs have the option to Wake on Demand [apple.com] which requires the use of an Airport base station but seems to follow the same basic concept.

      • by ekran (79740) *

        So, basically it's a wake on lan, but that which works everytime some moron is doing a portscan or ssh-breakin attempt on your system? Why would such a system even have a off mode?

        • Re:Wake on Lan? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Rockoon (1252108) on Sunday June 13, 2010 @08:53AM (#32556284)

          So, basically it's a wake on lan, but that which works everytime some moron is doing a portscan or ssh-breakin attempt on your system? Why would such a system even have a off mode?

          ..so basically, no its not like wake on demand.

          "SleepNotifier alerts SleepServer just before the client goes to sleep, and SleepServer ensures that all incoming traffic meant for the client comes to the proxy instead," Microsoft writes in another article titled "Trying to cure PC insomnia." "The proxy server's role is to monitor traffic and respond accordingly. For some requests, it responds on behalf of the client so the client can continue sleeping, and others it ignores. Some traffic, such as a user access request, causes the SleepServer proxy to awaken the client and present the user with apparently seamless remote access."

          So basically we have a system that uses Wake On Lan to wake the remote machine automatically for user requests, but also avoids waking it for stupid shit like pings.

          This is, in effect, what other researchers are trying to solve in a decent manner. Wake On Lan requires the waker to know a thing or two about the sleeping system (for example, that its sleeping) and simple frontend devices that have solved this in the past wake the system for everything and are also permanent proxies (proxying even when the system ISNT sleeping, for example)

          • So basically we have a system that uses Wake On Lan to wake the remote machine automatically for user requests, but also avoids waking it for stupid shit like pings.

            I think it goes further, because it allows the PC to push at least part of its logic onto the proxy (like a VM).

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by rinoid (451982)

            This is the way it works on OSX ... The machine appears available as a network resource yet remains asleep until yo attempt to utilize one of its hosted network services, afterwhich it wakes up. Does not wake for ping.

      • by cmacb (547347) on Sunday June 13, 2010 @08:47AM (#32556246) Homepage Journal

        You mean they copied Apple?

        Huh. First time for everything.

      • Re:Wake on Lan? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by v1 (525388) on Sunday June 13, 2010 @09:15AM (#32556370) Homepage Journal

        Macs have the option to Wake on Demand [apple.com] which requires the use of an Airport base station but seems to follow the same basic concept.

        Macs actually implement the Wake On LAN [wikipedia.org] standard feature. (sometimes referred to as WOMP, or Wake On Magic Packet) This relies on the computer's ethernet hardware remaining awake while the computer sleeps, and any computer on the LAN can send a special UDP packet containing its ethernet MAC (Machine Address Code, unrelated to MACintosh) to trigger the computer to wake up. The only Apple-specific part of this feature is that Apple extended it to wireless use, keeping wifi hardware also active and listening for the magic packet so computers could be woke up wirelessly. Come to think of it thought, WOMP over wireless does require an Airport base station and Mac ethernet adapters - Apple extended the WOMP specs (in an open way) but I think are the only ones presently implementing it?

        Looks like Microsoft yet again attempts to take credit for "inventing" something that we've all been using for years. This time it wasn't even ripped off from Apple, it's been in use on all manner of PCs for some time now. This is just MS's first specific support in their OS?

        I see a comment immediately below, "it'd be silly to set up a 2nd machine running 24/7 so that I could turn mine off a few hours a day"..... Actually, that's exactly how you wake up machines on different networks such as waking up a work machine from home. Unless your server is asleep too I don't see this being an issue? Remote into it, use it to WOMP your workstation, and then connect to it? Even if you don't have a server, surely keeping one machine awake to provide access to many other machines (easily tens to hundreds) is hardly a hardship.

        • Even if you're a home user with just one PC, there are plenty of cheap routers that can send WOL packets from their admin interface, as long as you enable the admin panel to be served to the WAN (which I wouldn't do - mine doesn't even use HTTPS).
          Or if you have a Tomato firmware, you can just SSH in and send it from there/redirect traffic and send from your current PC.

          Both of them can be easily automated.

          • by Rockoon (1252108)
            Thats great until you want users, who use the services hosted on the sleeping machine, to be able to use those services.

            Yeah, its great that an admin can wake a machine. Big deal. Been doing that for years...
            • by gbjbaanb (229885)

              As you say, big deal. If you want users to do it, you need an user interface that provides them with a way to do it (like the one you have, but with fewer options). A big button on a web page with "wake my computer up" would do after they've logged in.

            • by Minwee (522556)

              Thats great until you want users, who use the services hosted on the sleeping machine, to be able to use those services.

              Yeah, its great that an admin can wake a machine. Big deal. Been doing that for years...

              Then surely it must have occurred to you that the service that those users want to use could be made smart enough to send a WOL packet to the sleeping machine, wait a few seconds and then try again. MythTV has been doing this for years [mythtv.org].

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          It's Media Access Control. When you attempt to sound smart, at least know the acronyms you're clarifying.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Looks like Microsoft yet again attempts to take credit for "inventing" something that we've all been using for years.

          If the Apple people here could calm down a bit and actually read the paper (at least RTFA), they would see that...

          a) Actually MS is claiming no such thing, quite the opposite, they are actively acknowledging that others are working on sleep proxy research, and explaining what they have done different. This is published research, not marketing or fanboyism.

          b) This is not just Wake on Lan. It's a smart automation of sleep/wake-on-lan functionality designed for enterprise network use. Waking hosts automati

        • by sconeu (64226)

          MAC stands for Media Access Control [wikipedia.org].

          "Machine Address Code" my ass...

        • by Culture20 (968837)

          Macs actually implement the Wake On LAN standard feature. (sometimes referred to as WOMP, or Wake On Magic Packet) This relies on the computer's ethernet hardware remaining awake while the computer sleeps, and any computer on the LAN can send a special UDP packet containing its ethernet MAC (Machine Address Code, unrelated to MACintosh) to trigger the computer to wake up.

          And Apple Macs don't keep their NICs active when the computer is turned off, making WOL mostly useless. For some reason, only Xserves are allowed the special privilege of complete WOL.

          • by v1 (525388)

            And Apple Macs don't keep their NICs active when the computer is turned off, making WOL mostly useless

            I believe what you are thinking of is Lights Out Management [apple.com], developed by Intel. It lets you do a lot more than just wake the machine up, and works when the machine is OFF, not just ASLEEP. With LOM you can actually turn on (boot up) a computer remotely from complete shutdown.

            Anyway, as many have probably already pointed out, WOMP has been available on all macs for a very long time. But LOM is only avail

        • PCs have had Wake on Magic Packet since at least Windows 98. That's not what they're taking credit for here.

    • Re:Wake on Lan? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jridley (9305) on Sunday June 13, 2010 @08:18AM (#32556146)

      It probably is, but for instance I can't use WOL because it requires a packet that can't propagate through a router. I've thought in the past about setting up a machine on my subnet that I could poke via HTTP or whatever and make it send the wake packet to my PC, and anyone else could use it too. But since I'm probably the only person on my floor of the building that gives a crap about power consumption, it'd be silly to set up a 2nd machine running 24/7 so that I could turn mine off a few hours a day.

      • Re:Wake on Lan? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Cley Faye (1123605) on Sunday June 13, 2010 @08:37AM (#32556210) Homepage

        It probably is, but for instance I can't use WOL because it requires a packet that can't propagate through a router.

        There is the possibility of having a smart router that allow WOL packets; some of them have a "act as a WOL proxy" option built-in, for examples.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by LordKronos (470910)

        For my home network, I've got it setup so that my web server (which I can access remotely) has a php web page which I can use to send a wake-on-lan signal to my desktop PC. It also opens up the remote desktop port on my router to my current IP.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Wake on LAN is a local protocol because it has to be sent as a broadcast packet if the router doesn't know the MAC address of the target network card. If you can configure static ARP table entries, you can combine that with port forwarding and use unicast WoL even over the internet. Besides, many home routers have WoL functionality. The problem with plain WoL is that it isn't built into the protocols, it doesn't maintain the presence of the server on the network and it doesn't keep the connection state on t

        • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

          Wake on LAN is a local protocol because it has to be sent as a broadcast packet if the router doesn't know the MAC address of the target network card.

          Uh... you can't WOL at all if you don't know the MAC address.

          The reason you must broadcast is because the NIC doesn't have an IP address when it is shut down, unless it has an option to hard code one. Ordinarily the NIC is IP-less until a manual IP is set in the OS or it receives one via DHCP.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by caluml (551744)

        it'd be silly to set up a 2nd machine running 24/7 so that I could turn mine off a few hours a day.

        Get an HP Thin Client, or similar. Leave that running, it'd draw 8 watts, I think. Then you could SSH to it, and send the WOL packet to your big, beefy 400W PSU box.

        • by Rockoon (1252108)
          Will a single one work for 20 boxes, and allow thousands of users to wake up your machines as needed?
          • Yes, with a little scripting. It would have one insurmountable drawback, though. It would not be integrated into Active Directory/Sharepoint/IIS etc in such a way as to lock you in even more firmly and require you to buy another $100,000 worth of licenses.

        • A SheevaPlug [wikipedia.org] draws 2.3w idle no attached devices, 7.0w running at 100% CPU utilization.

          You could literally hide it in your server rack (just don't lose it [bash.org])

      • It can if your network team allows it.

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        Please explain why it can't propogate through a router.

        Theres nothing that stops you from embedding the WOL magic data in an IP packet ... I know, thats how I use WOL to wake up office PCs from my house.

        I assure you, it can route just fine, your routers just need to know the mac address for the IP already so they don't stop the packet waiting on an ARP response.

    • This is something new?

      Why didn't you RTFA?

      They aren't saying that the sleep/wake aspect of this is new. Their paper is not about invention, but rather about evaluation. They say their's is the first reasonably large scale evaluation of the energy savings from this kind of thing in a decent sized production environment.

    • by louarnkoz (805588) on Sunday June 13, 2010 @01:36PM (#32557720)

      If you read the fine article, you will see that they acknowledge wake on lan and other similar work. They are addressing a practical problem in large networks. Classic implementations of Wake-on-Lan wake the computer when another computer sends it a packet. This looks fine in theory, "my computer wakes up when it has something to do," but it does not work well in practice, in a large network.

      In any network of a certain size, there is a lot of noise, scans, keep alive traffic. That traffic causes packets to be received frequently, maybe a couple times per minutes. When a computer awakes, it takes some time to put it back to sleep, maybe a minute. Given enough background traffic, the computer never goes to sleep.

      The solution is some form of filter, to only wake up the computer if the incoming data packet is "important." For that, you need a proxy. And the proxy needs a lot of tuning. If it does not wake up on "important" traffic, the users are pissed. If it wakes up too often for trivial pings, the energy bill increases. What they claim here is that after a year of trial, they have validated a particular tuning that works well. Seems interesting indeed.

    • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

      I'm a bit curious as to why this justifies any particular coverage.

      Because without it a PC can't power down completely and still maintain a network presence. Current Wake on LAN wakes the machine for literally everything, which means it isn't all that asleep. With sleep proxy you can actually leave the machine powered down for extended periods of time without losing your network presence.

      See how special that is?

      The idea is an external machine acts as a proxy while the other machine is in power-save (hibernation) mode. Simple things like pings and such are handled by the

  • MacBooks, et al (Score:1, Insightful)

    by BoRegardless (721219)
    Hmm, now who else has had such a system?
    • It really does not matter who is the first. What matters is that these solutions are made available, since avoiding leaving PCs fully powered "just in case" I might want to log in from the VPN on a weekend is not a great use of energy. Both solutions at the core use WoL (Wake on LAN) or WoW (Wake on Wireless), but a separate entity holds the mapping table between the host's name, IP address and MAC address, acting as a proxy - the exact details probably vary a bit.

      At the same time it would be nice to see th

  • This is news? (Score:5, Informative)

    by bushing (20804) on Sunday June 13, 2010 @07:57AM (#32556072) Homepage
    This sounds awfully familiar... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_Proxy_Service [wikipedia.org]
    • FTFA:

      Microsoft's research group isn’t the first to work on a sleep proxy – or even the only one presenting sleep proxy research at Usenix – but Microsoft contends that most previous work has evaluated sleep proxies only in small testbeds or simulations.

      So apparently even Microsoft admit they are not the first.

      • Compare (emphasis added):

        Microsoft's research group isn't the first to work on a sleep proxy -- or even the only one presenting sleep proxy research at Usenix -- but Microsoft contends that most previous work has evaluated sleep proxies only in small testbeds or simulations.

        vs.

        Microsoft has deployed the sleep proxy system to more than 50 active users in the Building 99 research facility in Redmond, Wash.,

        So the prior art was with "small" testbeds or simulations. And now MS claims "more than 50 active users."

        Maybe it's just me but the latter is still "small" given the number of "active users" in a university or Fortune 1000 company.

        • > Maybe it's just me but the latter is still "small" given the number of
          > "active users" in a university or Fortune 1000 company.

          How many of these universities or Fortune 1000 companies have published studies of the effect of this technology on energy savings in their networks?

      • by samkass (174571)

        How is this different from what Apple has had it in their shipping products for years? [apple.com] Unless Microsoft is going to claim that the entirety of MacOS X is a "small testbed".

    • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

      It would be nice if people could read the fucking article.

      It's not new, it's new to Microsoft. Microsoft says so in the article. They don't claim to have invented it, they've simply done research on implementing it in a Windows environment. I don't know if you know this, but 90+% of computers run Windows, so it's definitely news.

      Apple owns the patent on the technology, and they've open sourced it.

      Seriously, fucking read people.

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Sunday June 13, 2010 @08:34AM (#32556202) Homepage
    I was expecting a sleep proxy for me so that I could stay up all night while the proxy wasted time sleeping.
    • by arielCo (995647)
      TFA describes the opposite and it's even better - to have the proxy answer requests while I sleep ;)
      • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

        That's what I was thinking: I get to sleep yet appear to remain awake. When something truly requires my attention, my proxy wakes me up. Perfect!

  • great for botnets (Score:5, Interesting)

    by e**(i pi)-1 (462311) on Sunday June 13, 2010 @09:00AM (#32556318) Homepage Journal
    Swell, botnets can even operate with computers which had been turned off.
  • Ok, not quite the 80's but haven't they heard of WOL or vPro? Since they were part of both you would think so...

    • Ok, not quite the 80's but haven't they heard of WOL or vPro? Since they were part of both you would think so...

      I don't know about vPro, but their solution probably makes use of WoL at some level. What is important in these "Wake on Demand" solutions is not needing to know about the MAC address and instead having "proxy" doing the waking when you try accessing the PC via its IP address.

      • by nurb432 (527695)

        vPro is a totally different tech, and i have seen routers being a 'proxy' of sorts. We have also done custom work where a single PC on a subnet serves as the initiator of the WOL from a remote location.

        I just don't see anything new here, and them trying to take credit is just wrong.

      • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

        What is important in these "Wake on Demand" solutions is not needing to know about the MAC address and instead having "proxy" doing the waking when you try accessing the PC via its IP address.

        It's more than that, the MS solution maintains a network presence (I honestly don't know if the Apple solution does or not), which means you could have a machine that is only occasionally polled for data in a hibernation mode while appearing to remain online. The proxy maintains the connection until the machine is powered up, then the machine sends off the data and can power back down.

        For end user machines in a corporate network, it means a machine is never in-accessible, even when powered down. Currently

  • by Karpe (1147)

    That's innovation! [wikipedia.org]

  • ... "and maintains .. network presence"

    Although this needs some server software, it sounds like all the network connections stay alive while the PC client is (as near as dammit) powered off. That means no tedious having to restart all the IP connections, network shares and applications that would otherwise get disconnected or timed out. (It also means you keep the same IP address - guess?).

  • Apple has had a sleep proxy built into their Airport devices since WWDC last year...
  • I use WOL extensively. There are so, so many people here saying that this is an improvement because WOL will just wake up the machine for a ping or some other stupid crap. Look, it doesn't work that way. WOL doesn't mean wake up whenever we see network activity. It means wake up if we receive a WOL request. Basically, you need to send a specifically crafted package directed to that specific MAC. That's usually all you'll ever need. On the other hand, Sleep Proxy Server has been around for quite some time ..

  • So... Microsoft's "research" seems to come from reading competitor's product specifications: my AirPort Extreme has been doing this for my network of macs for ages now - ever since Snow Leopard came out.

    This is WoL combined with a proxy. Whenever the target machine is asleep, the proxy continues to respond (in this case) to Bonjour requests. When someone attempts to actually connect to the machine, the proxy sends a WoL packet out and then when the original host wakes up, it will hear from the requesting ho

    • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

      So... Microsoft's "research" seems to come from reading competitor's product specifications

      Clearly you have no idea what "research" means, if you believe that to be strange in any way.

      MS seems to believe they've improved on Apple's product (they didn't mention Apple, but Apple holds the patent), and it sounds to me like they have as well, though not really spectacularly so. Still, better is better.

      I'm not sure why everyone is pissing on Microsoft for making a technology better, other than the tired old Apple fanboyism and M$ hate.

  • "Duh, I'm a really smart guy I know about WOL!"

    "Isn't this just WOL, way to 'invent' that Micro$haft! Hur Hur"

    "Gwerp, my Mac does this!"

    What a den of idiocy this place is. Did any of you even read the god damn article? Jesus Christ.

    First, they didn't make it out to be something they invented or that is revolutionary. You neckbeards are erecting a firm strawman and then attacking it with your +1 Wand of Douchebaggery.

    Second, read the fucking article. They are doing some other stuff:

    "SleepNotifier alerts SleepServer just before the client goes to sleep, and SleepServer ensures that all incoming traffic meant for the client comes to the proxy instead," Microsoft writes in another article titled "Trying to cure PC insomnia." "The proxy server's role is to monitor traffic and respond accordingly. For some requests, it responds on behalf of the client so the client can continue sleeping, and others it ignores. Some traffic, such as a user access request, causes the SleepServer proxy to awaken the client and present the user with apparently seamless remote access."

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