Day 13: Monitor power requests and user activity
Lights-Out 2 includes two new monitoring functions. You can now monitor power requests and user activity on the server. Let’s look at each in detail.
Monitoring power requests
Power requests are used by Windows internal power management. A driver, a service or an application can inform the operating system that there is activity. This is called a power request. As long as one or more power requests are active, Windows will not start saving energy.
Lights-Out does not use the internal Windows power management. Previous versions of Lights-Out completely ignored power requests from other software. As a result, Lights-Out could unexpectededly start saving energy while other software was still running.
In Lights-Out 2 you can now decide to monitor active power requests in addition to other sources. Open settings, go to monitoring and enable “Power requests from other software”.
Lights-Out will now recognize any active power request and as a consequence will keep your server active. The status tab will display active power requests in the monitoring panel.
But there is a drawback. Most often the driver “\FileSystem\srvnet” signals activity long after a file has been accessed. This affects computers used for file sharing. There are also probably other requests which are active for a long time. Due to this you should be careful with this option.
In case you like to know where you can see these power request: Open an administrative command prompt and enter
You get a result similar to this one:
If you look carefully at the picture, you will detect that Lights-Out itself uses a power requests. This comes in handy if you want to use the built-in power management of Windows and have configured Lights-Out to “Do nothing”.
User activity on the server
The long awaited “user activity” on the server is the second new monitoring function. Lights-Out supports different ways to handle interactive user sessions on a server machine. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses.
- Console session: Monitors the physical server session using mouse/keyboard and monitor regardless of user activity. The session is detected as active as long as a user is logged in. If the users lock the screen, the session is still active. This is also true for tools like VNC or TeamViewer which connect to the physical console session. Drawback: You have to end the session and log out to stop this activity.
- Remote Desktop Session (RDP): Monitors a remote desktop (RDP) session regardless of user activity. However, a disconnected RDP session is considered as inactive. This may be an advantage or a drawback depending on your usage.
- User activity: Monitors user activity (mouse and keyboard) of an interactive user session on the server. User activity has a fixed 10 minutes’ timeout. A user session is seen as inactive after that time. Advantage: Keeps the server active if you do some management work. Does not block saving energy if you forget to log out.
Again open settings, go to monitoring and enable or disable “User activity”, “Console session” or “Remote Desktop Session”.
All 3 sources are reported as one activity in the status tab! You always see “Console Session or Remote Desktop Session” as activity.
Today we introduced 2 new monitoring options available in Lights-Out 2. We talked about “Power requests” and “User activity”. The most relevant option is probably “User activity” for most (home) server administrators.
Here you will find the complete list of all days of our step-by-step series.