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PowerMAN v Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager® (SCCM) / Intune ®

Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) is an enterprise IT management suite targeted at larger organisations. SCCM 2007 R3 and later editions include client-side PC power management and basic power management reporting features. The features available are an improvement over those built-in to Windows® and have the potential to offer a near-uniform solution for Windows XP and later.

Microsoft Intune is a cloud-based IT management suite currently targeted at small to medium-sized organisations. It has a web interface and is typically simpler configure than SCCM but offers less comprehensive management features.


How does SCCM / Intune compare to PowerMAN?

SCCM and Intune are both complex and costly products. They offers a complete enterprise IT management solution but will not be a cost-effective solution if purchased for power management alone. The power management support is an improvement over that present in Windows itself but does not compare to the more evolved and focused support present in a specialist product such as PowerMAN.


The major reason for this is that both the SCCM and Intune power management features are built around the underlying power management engine in the Windows operating system. This means that the features supported on each operating system release are limited to the timeout based power features present in that specific release of Windows and configurable by the end user using the Control Panel application. Without additional configuration and specific network support (e.g. WoL), this prevents the products from being used to wake computers for maintenance or AV scans, logout stale users or shutdown the PC when nobody is logged on.


A second limitation of SCCM is that, whilst it does support peak and off-peak time-bound power management policies, it does not allow power management policies to be scheduled for specific times, does not allow users to opt-out or allow exclusions for specific programs, files or times of day. Further, neither product can warn users about an impending power management action or allow them to cancel it. This one-size-fits all approach limits effective use in many scenarios, especially timetable driven environments such as computer labs and school classrooms. Intune is even simpler and doesn't offer peak and off-peak policies. In this sense, it is identical to Windows Group Policy for power management.


A third limitation of both SCCM and Intune is that neither product offers detailed power management / utilization reporting. In other words, whilst both products can confirm that the intended power management policy was deployed to the target computer(s), neither can measure how effective the policy was or what the cost and consequences of that effectiveness are. In contrast, PowerMAN offers multiple, powerful, power management reports.


A final, and perhaps most crucial, limitation of both SCCM and Intune is that neither product includes an anti-insomnia feature. This can greatly reduce the effectiveness of power management, especially when longer timeout periods (typically over 15 minutes) are used. SCCM does provide a PC insomnia report but does not include any feature to overcome insomnia itself. This vital omission makes SCCM power management inconsistent in many environments.


PowerMAN is a best of breed power management solution. PowerMAN was designed specifically for effective power management and offers features above and beyond those present in SCCM and Intune:


Power Management Feature

Win XP

Win Vista/7/8/10/11

SCCM/Intune*

PowerMAN 5.5

Management Tool

N/A

N/A

Highly Complex

Windows Group Policy

Historic Reporting per PC/Site

No

No

Limited
Per-collection
Not per-PC

Comprehensive
Per-site
Per-PC (detailed)

   Reporting UI

N/A

N/A

Complex (SCCM)
NA (Intune)

Intuitive / web-based

   Export reports to Excel/CSV/XML

No

No

Yes (SCCM)
N/A (Intune)

Yes

   Data Retention

No

No

Detail 31 days
Summary 13 months
Not configurable
N/A (Intune)

Detail 2 years
Summary 5 years
Configurable

   SQL access to per-minute data

No

No

No

Yes

Live Reporting per PC/Site

No

No

No

Comprehensive

   Per-site workstation availability report

No

No

No

Yes

   Workstation status dashboard

No

No

No

Yes

Central power management configuration

No

Limited

More

Comprehensive

   Sleep/Hibernate (on-idle)

No

Yes

Yes (SCCM) Sleep only (Intune)

Multiple/day

   Shutdown / Power-off (on-idle)

No

No

No

Multiple/day

   Logout (on-idle)

No

No

No

Multiple/day

   Sleep/Hibernate (on-schedule)

No

No

No

Multiple/day

   Shutdown / Power-off (on-schedule)

No

No

No

Multiple/day

Maintenance window (Wake-up + stay-awake)

No

No

No

Multiple/day

Wake-up (on schedule)

No

No

Yes, single per collection

Multiple/day

Wake-up (remote / ad-hoc)

   By Administrator

No

No

via Console

via WakeMyPC

   By User

No

No

No

via WakeMyPC

Multiple policies per user/computer/group

No

No

Requires distinct collection

Multiple

Distinct policies per day

No

No

Peak and off-peak only (SCCM)
Same policy all day (Intune)

Yes, any day/time combination

Separate policies per user  / group

Yes

No

Per-collection only

Yes

Separate policies per PC / group

No

Via GPO

Per-collection only

Yes

Protect power settings from unauthorised changes

No

Via GPO

Yes

Yes

Distinct policy for no-user present

No

No

No

Yes

Enforce policy (anti-'Insomnia')

No

No

No

Yes

Configure power/sleep/lid button behaviours

No

No

Yes

Yes

Opt-out / exclusion features

   By computer

No

No

Requires distinct collection

Yes

   By file/program

No

No

No

Yes

   By time

No

No

No

Yes

   By login user

No

No

No

Yes

   By CPU%

No

No

No

Yes

   User driven opt-out (optional)

No

No

No

Yes

Detailed Power Management Event Log

No

No

No

Yes

Client deployment footprint

N/A

N/A

>50MB

~1MB

Uniform solution for all client OS

N/A

N/A

No
Limited by client OS features

Yes

Full support for Windows® Vista/7/8/10

N/A

N/A

Yes

Yes

Fully supported via email and telephone

N/A

N/A

Extra Cost

Included

* Based upon technical analysis of SCCM and Microsoft documentation available here and here.