Citrix XenClient is undergoing testing as I write this. It is a Type 1 Hypervisor that will load on your desktop or laptop before any other software is loaded on your machine. This includes your Operating System, such as Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows7. Once loaded, OS's can run on top of XenClient in a virtualized container.

 

Can you run more than 1 Virtual Container at a time? The short answer is yes, the longer answer is "it depends". Depending upon the amount of memory you have in the client machine and depending upon how much memeory you have allocated for each Virtual Container, will determine if you can run more than 1 virtual machine or not. As time gets closer to the Public Launch of XenClient, we will receive more information as to recommended hardware. Once we have that information we will pass it along to you as quickly as possible. We do know however, that XenClient takes advantage of Intel's Vt-d technology found in vPro systems. So if this is a technology that you are looking to implement, vPro systems are the way to go.

 

Now I could spend more time describing to you the details of XenClient, but as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. So I invite you now to click on the following url's, to see for yourself, a few of the features and benefits XenClient will offer to you. The following url's will take you to the Citrix website. The videos are only 2-3 minutes long, so if you can spare some time. Please view them now.

 

http://www.citrix.com/tv/#videos/1430

 

http://www.citrix.com/tv/#videos/1431

 

http://www.citrix.com/tv/#videos/1432

 

http://www.citrix.com/tv/#videos/1437

We hosted a webinar today for manageability service providers, in order to introduce the Intel vPro Technology Alliance program. If you are a solution provider and are interested in integrating the innovative security, manageability and cost-saving features of Intel vPro technology in your service offerings, then be sure to view the online recording.

 

Resources

 

 

here's the latest system tray icon you will see shortly and the respective screens.  There are a few changes, check it out.

Spiceworks IT Desktop for SMB IT Professionals

Small to medium sized companies are proliferated with technically savvy one man shops, that are burdened with slim budgets and no-one to fall back on when faced with new problems or technology. Over the years they have learned to just buckle down and figure it out the hard way; wading through technology manuals, slogging through articles and blogs on the internet, or find a peer to share information and BKMs.

We recently started working with an ISV that has a new economy twist to help this under-served group of hard-working professionals. The Spiceworks IT Desktop is a “free” application suite that will automatically inventory, monitor, troubleshoot, report on and run a help desk for their IT networks. The application is connected to a professional online community where users can share ideas on best practices; collaborate on IT projects, rate and review products, and form groups around particular areas of interest with companies like them. Of course, nothing is REALLY free, over 150 advertising sponsors (including Intel) support the cost of developing the tool, and you must agree to providing anonymous data about the inventory in your network; kind of like that company that records what you watch on your television (like how I got around permission to use their name?). This is not a cloud based solution, like a newsgroup or a search engine. You download the application onto a single desktop and run it from there; the ads are pulled down from the Spiceworks servers, statistical data is forwarded back, and you have a direct link to the community

Maintenance Plug-in sponsored by Intel

The new plug-in released late December, and builds in the capability of the Power Manager Plug-in I blogged about last month. This new plug-in allows you to run scheduled maintenance tasks on entire inventory groups. It will wake computers before and hibernate them after a scheduled maintenance tasks.


What it requires:

  • Spiceworks 4.5.45710
  • Scanned computers in Inventory organized into Inventory groups

How it works:
Choose from 3 pre-defined tasks, or write your own scripts to run.
Select an Inventory group and select the day and time that you'd like your script to run.

For Windows machines you can:
a) run any executable or batch file that you would otherwise start from the Start->Run field
b) send user defined commands by pre-appending cmd.  For example:
    cmd /C "echo test > C:\test.txt"

Note that commands will be run as the user used for the network scan.

For OS X & Linux/Unix, any commands you send will be run in the default shell.

Future Plug-ins

Currently, the Spiceworks IT Desktop supports Discovery of PCs that may have Intel® vPro™ Technology installed, and/or provisioned, and Power. More functionality will be added to the list, including a Scheduled Maintenance Plug-in, Hardware Inventory and a remote control console for connecting to a PC, but below the OS; see the POST messages, edit the BIOS, boot to a text-based diagnostic image. Look for blogs over the next few months.

About Spiceworks

Since 2006, the Spiceworks IT Desktop user base has grown to 830,000+ IT professionals in 196 countries worldwide. This includes 77,500 Managed Service Providers (MSPs) who rely on the software to manage and support client networks. Together these organizations use Spiceworks to support 28 million employees and manage 45 million computers and devices.

http://www.spiceworks.com

Microsoft has just recently announced that they are accepting TAP applications for the System Center Configuration Manager vNext.  To submit your application to participate, you will need to fill out the nomination survey.  For more detail, please visit Jeff Wettlaufer's Blog

 

Link to Nomination Survey is here.
More information about the Microsoft TAP program can be found here.
System Center product information can be found here.

 

--Matt Royer

This issue of the newsletter summarizes the blogs from the last month, as well as points to a couple of success stories about customers who have implemented Intel® vPro™ technology. The Known Issues, Best Practices, and Workarounds wiki was reviewed by our engineering team and articles were updated and published this month.

 

Click here to check out the newsletter.

Intel® vPro™ Technology Alliance Program: Briefing for Microsoft System Center Service Providers

 

Join us for a Webinar on January 26

 

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/358925115

 

Join us to learn more about the new "Intel vPro Technology Alliance". This exciting program is for manageability service providers.  By integrating the innovative security, manageability and cost-saving features of Intel vPro technology in your service offerings, can help your business offer new value added services and create additional business opportunities with new and existing accounts.

 

Title:Intel® vPro™ Technology Alliance Program: Briefing for Microsoft System Center Service Providers
Date:Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Time:10:00 AM - 11:00 AM PST

 

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

 

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 2000, XP Home, XP Pro, 2003 Server, Vista

 

Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.4 (Tiger®) or newer

Interested in learning more about how CIOs value Intel vPro technology?

 

Gerry Weaver, CIO of the State of Indiana, and Diane Bryant, CIO of Intel, talk about how Intel vPro technology helps address end-user and IT efficiencies in their environments. The CIOs discuss real ROI numbers from Intel vPro technology already realized in their environments, including savings of $1 million or more per year.

 

 

To learn more about the specifics of Intel vPro technology in these two organizations, read the following:

     - State of Indiana:

          - ROI analysis

          - Case study

     - Intel

          - Implementing Intel vPro technology into Intel's IT environment

 

Within an Intel SCS 3.x environment, if you're experiencing repeated w3wp or amtconfserver service failures - the following may be of interest.

 

There are newer versions of Intel SCS available at http://software.intel.com/en-us/articles/download-the-latest-version-of-intel-amt-setup-and-configuration-service-scs/ - the latest production version as of Jan 2009 is 5.2, and beta versions for 5.3 and 6.0 are coming soon.   Each successive version provides new features, fixes, etc.

 

But - if you're using Intel SCS in combination with a management console - it's best to stay in compliance with the latest certified version of that console.

 

For example - Altiris 6.x environments use Intel SCS 3.x.   There is an option to use Intel SCS in a standalone mode - and some customers have taken a unique customized approach of using SCS 5.x in an Altiris 6.x environment.... but, the preference is to stay in compliance with the released version.

 

Another approach is to isolate the environment in which Intel SCS is running - thus preventing a fault by Intel SCS from affecting other w3wp processes.   One approach in doing this is stated at the following link - http://www.symantec.com/connect/articles/w3wp-and-amtconfserver-processes-keep-failing

 

If other insights\ideas from the community - please state.

Watch as Josh and I sneak into the lab and try to preview the 2010 platforms - and KVM remote control!

 

 

Our partner at Microsoft, Buz Brodin, shows how to setup SCCM environment to support vPro systems.  This includes details in the MEBx, AMTScan, WSman Translator, and provisioning certificates as well....nice job Buz!

 

Check it out: http://bit.ly/6W5hnR

In my last postI described the basics on accessing AMT remotely from a command line using WinRM. However, i didn't demonstrate anything incredibly useful. This time I hope to build on the previous post by showing one useful thing you can do. This article assumes you are familiar with "the basics" so if you're not, please read the previous post first.

 

So, here's the situation. You have many AMT systems. As such, you have used an off-the-shelf setup and config server such as Intel AMT SCS to setup and configure your AMT systems remotely (ENT mode). Now you wish to deploy a tool such as Radmin to your help desk so they make use of AMT's SOL & IDE Redirection features. Radmin (or your tool of choice) only officially supports SMB mode, however this shouldn't be an issue since you're not using TLS, right? Well, not exactly. Unless your setup and config server specifically enabled AMT to listen for SOL/IDER connections (which SCS does not), tools that are built for SMB mode will fail. This is because the "Redirection Listener" is enabled by default in SMB mode. However, in ENT mode, it is disabled by default, waiting for a console to enable it.

 

This article describes the issue in detail and work around. However the work around entails connecting to each system one by one with Manageability Commander to enable the listener. We can do better. By using WinRM in a batch file this process can be automated. Assuming you have already configured WinRM and know your AMT's IP and Admin password (read this to get started), this command will enable the redirection listener:

 

winrm put http://intel.com/wbem/wscim/1/amt-schema/1/AMT_RedirectionService @{ListenerEnabled="true"} -remote:%YOUR_AMT_IP%:16992/wsman -u:admin -p:%YOUR_AMT_ADMIN_PASSWORD% -a:Digest -encoding:utf-8

 

Hopefully the parameters make sense. What's new from last time is now we're doing a "put" command, which is telling AMT that we wish to put in a new setting. We are also accessing a different method...AMT_Redirection Service. Look in the AMT SDK docs to see all the possible methods, fields, and values for this service. BTW - you can also call the "enumerate" method on this service to see the current field's values. Finally, we specify the field and the new value with @{ListenerEnabled="true"}.

 

From here I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader. You could use sqlcmd.exe to query the SCS database for a list of AMT systems and their admin passwords. Then, loop through the list, using the command line above to enable the redirection listener on all your AMT systems.

 

I also want to point out one other trick. The AMT SDK includes a few command line apps as samples for developers which can be actually quite useful for end users as well. For example, let's say you don't want to use WinRM, but have the issue mentioned above. No problem, download the SDK and look for RedirectionConfig.exe. This tool does exactly what the above WinRM command does, only in fewer key strokes and no need for WinRM.

 

Hopefully this proves that WinRM can be useful when working with Intel AMT and helped you make more sence of putting the SDK documentation into practice. Stay tuned. I hope to post some other AMT + WinRM tricks soon and to begin exploring some of the useful command line tools included with the AMT SDK.

This latest ROI Analysis paper shows how California University of Pennsylvania began to see strong benefits after deploying PCs with Intel® vPro™ technology and using Microsoft Configuration Manager to start using Intel vPro capabilities. Cal U's goal is to improve IT efficiency and reduce costs. In particular, the university wants to conduct remote patching even when PCs are powered off, and enable power management through the remote power up/down feature built into the new PCs.

 

Key findings from this analysis include projected net benefits of over $150,000 across 5 years, from improved power management and from reduced deskside visits traditionally required for BIOS updates, patch resolution, and software problem mediation. Their projected ROI is 193% over 5 years, with break-even point in Year 3.

A 5 part article series for configuring Active Directory Integration and Kerberos authentication in a Symantec Management Platform (i.e. Altiris 7) environment has been posted on Symantec Connect.   The series covers the background on why these settings should be used, steps through the configuration settings, addresses common troubleshooting items, and provides brief insights to interoperability such as a Microsoft SCCM and Altiris 7 mixed environment

 

Links and titles to the article series are noted below.   The information comes from multiple documentation sources and experiences.

 

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