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Idea: Sleep and remote wake up RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • I was thinking about the option of configuring "server" to make it sleep, when not used.

    Example: If WHS is not used (in any manner) for more than 1-2 hours, server goes into sleep saving energy and the mechanics, etc. When someone browses the files or tries to perform backup - server wakes up and performs its duties.

    I know, it sounds a bit crazy, but technology like "Wake-on-LAN" is present. Ideally, it would be great that the software would wake-up when you browse the share or systems starts backing up at night. Probably would be harder to implement remote web browsing. On the other hand in some cases it would be enough just to have a button on console - "Wake up".

    Of course, it sounds strange for me "Server goes to sleep", but as this is more or less home scenario ... Well, I don't know ...

    Anyone has ideas or comments??

    Monday, March 26, 2007 9:00 PM

All replies

  • Well, I can think of a lot of potential problems, way more than I want to really detail for you. However, here are a couple of things to think about, one small and one large:

    Disks fail. All disks will eventually fail, given enough time. There have been several studies recently that have found disks tend to fail as a result of power cycling and mechanical wear at spin-up or spin-down, not as a result of running continuously. So you're sacrificing a small amount of reliability. This is relatively minor.

    Wake-on-lan is great for an application that can send a "magic packet", but in order for your home users to be able to access (or even see) the shares on WHS, the server has to be up, not in a power saving state. If you place your WHS in standby or hibernation, you immediately lose access to the shares and all files on them, because the client PC's operating system won't send a magic packet to wake the server, and that's what would need to do so. So you're giving up one of the big benefits of WHS: centralized storage of files.
    Monday, March 26, 2007 9:51 PM
    Moderator
  • This is a great idea but doesn't work with MHS right now. I tried turning off the drives after 45 minutes just to see what happens. When they powered down MHS started screaming I had a drive failure and the icon on my main PC went red with a critical network health alert.

    So, I cancelled down the drive sleep and it started back up. Two days later the icon is still red altho opening the concole shows a healthy network. Nice idea but it won't work now.

    My electgric bill would appreciate the ability to power some portion of the sever down when not needed :-)

    Tuesday, March 27, 2007 3:32 AM
  • Ken,

    You're absolutelly right regarding the share accessibility, when server is sleeping. It is like that today, but some people may want to think about tomorrow or in other words - how possible things could work.

    I guess nobody prohibits to fire "magic packet" to the server by the software, which resides on the client, when the server is not accessible and user wants to browse the shares.

    Tuesday, March 27, 2007 1:26 PM
  •  Romualdas wrote:

    Ken,

    You're absolutelly right regarding the share accessibility, when server is sleeping. It is like that today, but some people may want to think about tomorrow or in other words - how possible things could work.

    I guess nobody prohibits to fire "magic packet" to the server by the software, which resides on the client, when the server is not accessible and user wants to browse the shares.

    I think you misunderstand me. The "magic packet" is relatively easy to deal with, though making everything work with WoL is a bit tougher than most people think.

    What boggles my mind is the changes that would be required in the operating system to handle network shares on sleeping remote machines. Right now, that's all "stateless," i.e. the client doesn't actually know what shares are on the server unless it asks the server what they are. And it doesn't actually know the server exists until it asks for a list of servers. What you see in "My Network Places" or "Shares On Server" is a bunch of shortcuts to shares that you've accessed. But your operating system doesn't know the state of the servers/shares behind those shortcuts.

    In order for your proposal to be workable, somewhere on your network (could be on a central server, could be local) you would have to have a cache of information about other computers, shares, etc. You already have one such cache in your WINS server or master browser; it knows about other active computers. But nothing keeps track, on an ongoing basis, of shares on those computers. The change from stateless to stateful network/server status would require the generation of additional network traffic, which could easily impact network performance. And what about security on the shares? Shouldn't that be cached as well, so that you don't see shares you don't have access to?

    I can think of a dozen additional wrinkles with this scheme off the top of my head, but just the change from stateless to stateful is enough, I think. You'd need a dedicated controller to track this information anyway, on even a small home network.
    Tuesday, March 27, 2007 5:28 PM
    Moderator
  • I've been running a Win2003 server for over a year now. I too didn't want it running 24/7. What I did was create a little program that puts a icon on the task bar of your remote PC that allow the user to start or stop the server up using magic packets. This just required me or my wife to start the server prior to accessing it. My program changes the icon to a off LED when shut off or a on LED when turned on. Simple and straight forword. I think adding this functionalty to the Connector program would be easy and make sense for users not wanting to run 24/7.

     

    Jay

    Tuesday, March 27, 2007 6:35 PM
  • I have 6 pc's besides the server - and they all are setup to go to sleep/standby.

     

    Even if the WHS goes into standby only when there are NO, pc's active - it would allow the server to be in power saving mode >50% of the time.

     

    Matt

    Tuesday, March 27, 2007 6:44 PM
  •  Ken Warren wrote:
     Romualdas wrote:

    Ken,

    You're absolutelly right regarding the share accessibility, when server is sleeping. It is like that today, but some people may want to think about tomorrow or in other words - how possible things could work.

    I guess nobody prohibits to fire "magic packet" to the server by the software, which resides on the client, when the server is not accessible and user wants to browse the shares.

    I think you misunderstand me. The "magic packet" is relatively easy to deal with, though making everything work with WoL is a bit tougher than most people think.

    What boggles my mind is the changes that would be required in the operating system to handle network shares on sleeping remote machines. Right now, that's all "stateless," i.e. the client doesn't actually know what shares are on the server unless it asks the server what they are. And it doesn't actually know the server exists until it asks for a list of servers. What you see in "My Network Places" or "Shares On Server" is a bunch of shortcuts to shares that you've accessed. But your operating system doesn't know the state of the servers/shares behind those shortcuts.

    In order for your proposal to be workable, somewhere on your network (could be on a central server, could be local) you would have to have a cache of information about other computers, shares, etc. You already have one such cache in your WINS server or master browser; it knows about other active computers. But nothing keeps track, on an ongoing basis, of shares on those computers. The change from stateless to stateful network/server status would require the generation of additional network traffic, which could easily impact network performance. And what about security on the shares? Shouldn't that be cached as well, so that you don't see shares you don't have access to?

    I can think of a dozen additional wrinkles with this scheme off the top of my head, but just the change from stateless to stateful is enough, I think. You'd need a dedicated controller to track this information anyway, on even a small home network.

     

    I didn't said it is easy to do and it is possible. Did I? It was just an idea for brainstorming (i like ideas, brainstorming, even some of them are really crazy like mines).

    On the other hand there are some other ways I can think of to solve problems you mentioned (and this way introducing some others). First, I would think only about Home scenario - not the Windows/World wide. If so, the registry could be handled by the WHS console - that is shares and server name could be stored in the console cofiguration/settings.

    Next thing would be to get the server started when needed. I can think of two ways: either from Console (which would show shares even the server is not available, but on the other hand this would require new window with very similar things like shares - bad, bad bad or maybe not so bad ), but would attempt to start up server if not available, or the hard way - play around network stack (I don't like this myself ).

     

    Right now, I think that I will (if I will have some spare time ) do a little utility (Windows Sidebar Gadget?), that would put to sleep or start up the home server either when necessary or on the schedule (like before/after backup time).

    Tuesday, March 27, 2007 9:34 PM
  •  jlhinrichs wrote:

    I've been running a Win2003 server for over a year now. I too didn't want it running 24/7. What I did was create a little program that puts a icon on the task bar of your remote PC that allow the user to start or stop the server up using magic packets. This just required me or my wife to start the server prior to accessing it. My program changes the icon to a off LED when shut off or a on LED when turned on. Simple and straight forword. I think adding this functionalty to the Connector program would be easy and make sense for users not wanting to run 24/7.

     

    Jay

     

    Good idea. I think, I can teach my wife to "click the green button" before accessing server as well.

    Tuesday, March 27, 2007 9:38 PM
  • I have set my WHS drives to be trurned off after 45 mins. I don't have any problem with it. Actually I have done this to reduce the heat around the server. Otherwise, it was very warm near the server.

     

    ThanQ...

     

    Wednesday, March 28, 2007 8:14 PM
  •  This is exactly the feature I was going to ask for.

     

    I would like a simple power saving option to work as follows:

    1) Any time a client PC loads Windows or resumes from standby it automatically sends a magic packet to the server.

    2) The server goes into standby mode (or shutdown) when no clients are awake for <x> minutes.

     

    If not just for power saving, consider the noise produced by so many active disks. I will eventually be moving my server into the loft but in the meantime it will be located in a bedroom. I realise that this may be difficult to get working with remote access but would be happy if power saving & remote access features were mutually exclusive. It's very unlikely I would open my firewall to a device responsible for storing all of my personal data anyway. The potential risks would eliminate all confidence afforded by the clever disk redundancy scheme.

    Friday, April 13, 2007 8:32 PM