I’m a bit new here, well new to blogging, not new to Intel (I’m coming up on 13 years). I’ve spent the last year working with Intel AMT 6.0 and I wanted to write up a quick article on some of the new features that are included with AMT 6.0.
Every new platform has an array of different features. Our 2010 platforms are no exception with newer video, fancy CPU’s. AMT is my domain. If there is enough interest I’ll write up some more detailed articles on these different features. But enough jibber jabber, let’s get to the features!
New for AMT 6.0 is support for IPv6. If you just said to yourself “IPv –what??” then I’d recommend checking out the IPv6 page on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPv6). In a nutshell the world is running out of IPv4 address (most of the internet currently running on IPv4) and IPv6 helps to solve this issue by moving from 32bit to 128bit address.
“Why do I care?”, well I’m glad you asked. IPv6 isn’t very wide spread right now. Microsoft has started to include IPv6 support in their OS’s that enabled by default (Vista and Win7 support it out of the box, Windows XP can support it) and there are many Linux distributions that support IPv6. In order to use AMT with IPv6 you’ll need an IPv6 compatible network and a remote management console that supports IPv6. Unfortunately these are few and far between right now. The good news is that as more IPv6 support becomes available and more management console vendors start implementing IPv6 AMT will be ready! I like to look at it as future-proofing (hmm... I probably can’t actually say “future-proofing” with our lawyers, let me rephrase that to “future-resilient”).
Fast Call for Help over wireless
I don’t have too much to say on this, basically if you’ve used Fast Call for Help (also known as CIRA in some circles) you’ve been limited to wired only connects. This has been updated to work over the wireless interface as well!
While it sounds simple to add in this functionality there is a lot of work that goes into the backend to make this happen. The big difference is now Intel PROSet (our wireless management software) can push wireless profiles down to the Manageability Engine. The advantage you get here is that Fast Call for Help can work from, say, your wireless access point at home (without the need to manually enter all your wireless settings into AMT).
I like the analogy here. You set an alarm and your computer wakes up. In short that is the feature! I can probably explain this better with examples. Let’s say that you run a call center or a school. You have employees and/or students that arrive at 8:00am in the morning to start using their computers. With alarm clock, you can configure those PC to power on at a specific time (in this example we’ll set them for 7:55am). People arrive and their PCs are ready! Another method could be remote patching. You could schedule a wake up every day at 2:00am that checks for SW updates then shuts back down.
KVM Remote Control
Ok, I’ve saved the best for last. As I said above, I’ve been working with AMT 6.0 for the last year. KVM Remote Control is my favorite feature. Raise your hand if you’ve used remote control software before (Remote Desktop, VNC, etc...). Everyone?!?! Wow!
Now for the trick question; how many people have done a reboot, editing some BIOS settings, and booted back up to the OS all remotely and all using a remote control solution? (I’ve noticed everyone that doesn’t have an expensive hardware solution has put their hands down). Better yet, how many IT folks have gotten a call from a user complaining that their PC has a blue screen AND THEN could connect to the machine and see the blue screen remotely? Intel’s KVM Remote Control will let me do just that! It’s a HW based implementation that doesn’t require any interaction (or drivers) in the OS to function. Not only that, but the protocol that we use is the Remote Frame Buffer protocol (this also commonly known as VNC). Since this is an open and widely used standard there are viewers available for TONS of platforms (while I haven’t tried it, there are even viewers for the iPhone).
“But what about my privacy?!?!”, well I’m glad you asked. KVM Remote Control has a few features that help to protect your privacy. The first is what we call the user consent screen. KVM Remote Control can be configured to pop up a screen with a random 6 digit number. This number must be given to the IT person before they can see anything on the screen. Oh, and since this is a hardware based product (remember, I said no OS drivers are required) the user consent screen is inserted into the video buffer in hardware. This makes it invisible to user OS (and any malware that may be running on the system). Another feature (also using the video buffer) is that during a remote control session, the user will see a 1 pixel red board around the screen and a small blinking icon in the upper right corner of the screen. This is to let them know that someone is controlling the system.
If you’re interested in more KVM details I’m planning on writing up another article that goes in more depth on KVM (look for that soon).
These are some of the new features that are available in AMT 6.0. Be sure to check back for additional articles on AMT and new (or old) features.