Having the latest and greatest, as well as the fastest processor is of little value if your IT department cannot manage its infrastructure effectively.
Intel is no longer merely focusing on extracting the maximum number of GHz from its processors without overheating, but is intent on adding more value to its processors through different means. One way in which the company is doing this is via its active management technology (AMT).
Instead of having to send support teams to each desktop when something goes wrong, AMT can remotely discover, heal and protect networked computing assets using new platform capabilities and third-party management and security applications.
According to Joubert De Lange, Intel SA's market development manager, Intel's AMT stores hardware and software information in non-volatile memory and allows IT departments to discover the assets, even while PCs are powered off (as long as the power and LAN are plugged in) - without relying on local software agents.
If a problem is discovered, AMT provides "out-of-band management capabilities to allow IT staff to remotely heal systems even after an operating system failure. It also helps protect the network by making it easier to keep software and virus protection consistent and up-to-date across the enterprise."
Intel's proof-of-concept testing has shown that its own IT organisation can save an estimated $24 million annually. De Lange provides the following list of value-adding features of AMT:
1. Asset discovery: Discover all powered-up and all powered-down Intel AMT-enabled platforms on the LAN.
2. Software Inventory: List the software inventory of all the Intel AMT enabled platforms on the LAN, including their assigned unique asset IDs.
3. Hardware inventory: List the hardware inventory of all the AMT enabled platforms on the LAN, including their assigned unique asset IDs.
4. Remote diagnosis, remote repair: Using SoL and IDE-R, remotely reboot an Intel AMT enabled platform with a failed operating system, from a known good operating system with hardware diagnostics installed, located on a remote platform. Remotely troubleshoot the problem, determine the cause, initiate a DTW repair and reboot the formerly failed platform back to its now operational native operating system.
5. Remote diagnosis, local repair: Using SoL and IDE-R, remotely reboot an Intel AMT enabled platform with failed hardware from a known good operating system with hardware diagnostics installed, located on a remote platform. Remotely troubleshoot the problem to determine the root cause of the failure. Using the platform's hardware inventory, determine the correct replacement hardware. Send a technician to the failed platform with the correct part to replace the defective hardware. Return the platform to operational status.
6. Protect: Using the software inventory, discover obsolete software or missing patches on remote Intel AMT enabled platforms. Wake up those platforms and, using existing in-band tools, update them to achieve currency. Reset platforms to their pre-update state (on, off, standby, or hibernate), as appropriate.