Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Why do I have to wait for my computer to turn on? Can't it figure out when I need to use it?

One thing we have a lot of in IT is logs. We log everything and then some. I often look at this large collection of data and would like to do more with it. One set of our logs contains every time my users log on or off of a computer. I think I found a clever way to use that information.

We also have a lot of old computers. Sometimes they take longer than we want to start up. I love how fast Windows 8.1 handles things, but we don't have that installed everywhere. I know a lot of our users will turn the computer on first thing in the morning and go do other things while it starts. In some areas, the first person in starts everyone else's computer. Other people just never turn them off.

What if our computers knew that you started to use your computer at 8:00 every day. Why can't it just turn on at 7:45? Why can't we figure this out for every computer and just take care of it for our users? We can and here is how I did it.

I parse 6-8 weeks worth of logs that record every time someone gets logged on. I have user, computer, and time. For this, I don't care who the user is. I parse the log to figure out what the users computer usage pattern is. I assume a weekly cycle and that makes my results more accurate.

Then I have a script that runs all the time to check that list and wake up computers that will be used in the next 15 minutes. All of our computers are already configured for wake on Lan so that is how we start those computers.

I don't know if you have worked with Wake on Lan before, but it has it's own nuances that I will save for another post.

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