Thursday, May 23, 2024

ISS Founder’s New Startup: Power Management With Joulex

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LAS VEGAS — In 2006, Tom Noonan sold his company Internet Security Services (ISS) to IBM for $1.3 billion. After leaving IBM, Noonan is now back with a new startup, and this time he’s tackling a problem that he thinks is even bigger than security: energy.

Noonan’s new venture is a company called Joulex, which is officially launching today. In an interview with at the Interop conference this week in Las Vegas, Noonan explained how he made the jump from security to energy and why he thinks his company has the solution for solving power management problems for IT.

“Few industries are bigger than security, and energy is one of them,” Noonan said. “At Joulex, we’re using the IP network to manage any IP-connected device.”

Joulex Energy Manager (JEM) has been in private beta since the end of 2009 and Noonan said he’s already deployed in some large enterprises including Daimler AG, Deutsche Bank, BMW and Swisscom.

The jump from security to power management came almost by accident for Noonan. He had been working on trying to solve a security problem for a smart grid deployment and his team noticed that a lot of power information was being transmitted. On further examination, he made the realization that many building were using the same amount of power whether they were occupied with staff as when they were unoccupied during off-hours. That’s when the realization hit him that he could come up with a solution that could help to solve IT power management.

Much like in security, where scanners probe a network looking for devices, Joulex’s JEM has a scanner that finds connected devices. Those devices are then probed for management information, whether it’s SNMP , WMI (Windows Management Interface) or other standard IP transport reporting mechanisms.

“As security guys, we learned how the bad guys were able to listen in and analyze stuff that was collectable without requiring a cumbersome user agent on the end point,” Noonan said.

To give administrators a dynamic view of power utilization for all connected devices over a given period of time, Joulex’s network scanning happens frequently, as often as every five minutes. JEM includes a reporting interface that gives users a comprehensive view of power usage. It also provides mechanisms for enforcing power policies so that connected IP devices can be turned off or on as policy warrants.

Networking giant Cisco Systems is also actively engaged in the market for network-based power management, through its EnergyWise effort for its networking gear. Noonan said that Cisco is actually a partner for Joulex, and many of his installation were to companies to which Cisco introduced Joulex. In some cases, he said that Joulex actually works to enable the Cisco EnergyWise infrastructure to be implemented.

Of course, there are plenty of other technology vendors all vying for a piece of the pie as companies look to cut down on power costs and make their infrastructure more green. Noonan admits that cutting through the noise of all kinds of vendors talking about power management is a challenge.

“Getting people to understand the power of a network-based energy management system will be one of our challenges, and we have engineering challenges, too,” Noonan said. “The biggest network we’re on now is 350,000 devices. I want us to see 700,000 devices — I want to see how high we can scale this thing. I don’t think we’ve reached our limit yet but that will be a challenge.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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