As a network administrator for a small local government agency, I have been tasked to deploy Intel's Active Management Technology (AMT) into our network environment. Having sold our IT management on the benefits of vPro technology and how it can revolutionize our system management capabilities, I am ready to move forward and get AMT installed . In addition, today I learned that we will begin receiving brand spanking new HP systems in January that will have the latest greatest vPro technology aboard. I've got a few months to become an AMT expert and be ready for the new systems. Life is good!
Where To Start
The first thing I did after learning about vPro and AMT was to visit the Intel vPro Expert Center web site. There I found a great variety of resources to help me with my deployment. This is a good site to get help and guidance. The only problem I have with the site is that there's no link to download the AMT docs or software. You'll want to get your hands on the Intel Active Management Technology Setup and Configuration Service (SCS) - Installation and User Manual. You can get this document as well as the software from http://softwarecommunity.intel.com/articles/eng/1025.htm. Since SCS is the foundation and support structure of everything that goes on in the AMT and vPro world, this was the most logical place to start.
In addition, since I plan on integrating SCS with my existing SMS 2003 infrastructure, I also downloaded the Intel Active Management Technology Add-on for Microsoft SMS 2003 - Installation and User's Guide. Getting this was a bit of a challenge so stay with me on this one. I had to navigate to another good link you'll want to keep and refer to, The Intel Management Developer Community. From here I searched for "SMS 2003" and found the link to the SMS 2003 Add-on document. For non-developers like me, this site can appear to be not exactly what we do everyday, but hang in there, this site has a lot of info too. Now I had the documents I needed. They created the basis on which I would start to plan and deploy AMT into my network.
Read, read, read
The first thing I did after printing the documents was to read them over several times so I could get the gist of just how all the pieces played together. Then I read them again. After the first pass, it all looked pretty daunting and difficult, but after reading many of the sections over, it all started to come together and make sense. Read. Read. Read.
Time to lay things out
Ok, now I had a pretty good idea of what everything did and why, it was time to make sure I had everything I needed to make the pieces work together. I began to try and lay out what I needed to have to make AMT work.
Servers - I need to decide where to install SCS. I had a recently rebuilt Windows 2003 R2 server available that also had SQL 2005 on it. Plenty of disk space and horsepower. This was good. We were using this server to host our Help Desk application and it didn't appear to be over taxed in any way. The hardware and base OS part was taken care of. The server happened to be in our central office which was also a benefit. Our office is put together in a spoke and wheel configuration with all outer offices connecting to the central office over fast network connections. This would be good when we start to provision systems from outer office locations.
Active Directory - SCS / AMT relies on and utilizes Active Directory quite a bit. Our Active Directory is at Windows 2003 R2 level so I'm good to go. Also, as a Domain Admin, I have the ability to make any changes necessary to Active Directory.
Security - AMT supports Transport Layer Security (TLS) for secure communications between AMT devices and management console applications. TLS is optional for AMT, however we wanted to make all our communications as secure as possible so we're going for a full TLS implementation. This requires certificates and fortunately we have a Microsoft Certificate Authority server in our network that will make things easy to manage.
Database - SCS stores all its information in a database. We're going to use the existing SQL 2005 database on the server we're going to install SCS on.
AMT Device Location - Where were the new systems coming into and who was handling them? In the past when new systems came in, our Help Desk techs were very efficient in imaging them and deploying them right out the door. I need to make sure that everyone in our Help Desk group was tuned into what we were trying to do. We'll need to have a meeting to discuss what's going to happen after they plug in a system to the network for the first time.
Now that I've gotten my infrastructure laid out, it's time to start installing software. Yeah!
Next time I'll detail the steps I took in actually installing SCS into my network. As always, any comments and suggestions are warmly welcomed.