Installing Multiple Intel SCS components for a large Notification Server environment

Some Notification Servers carry huge loads of managed systems. I've seen Notification Servers managing 10,000, 15,000, and even 20,000 plus systems. For Out of Band Management with the Intel SCS Component, a multiple-service install may be required to handle large loads of provisioning or maintenance requests into the Intel SCS Component. This article covers how to setup such an environment.

 

Introduction

Normally in a simple Notification Server environment when the install for Out of Band Management is initiated, all the necessary pieces, including the Intel SCS Component, install automatically and silently. In more complex environments the automatic install of the SCS Component often throws an exception and provides a message indicating the install should be conducted manually. This manual process is what will be used when installing the components on the subordinate servers who will share the load for the Intel SCS Component.

 

Installing Out of Band Management

The first step is to install Out of Band Management and the primary Intel SCS Component on the Notification Server. This will setup the IntelAMT database that will be used with every install of the Intel SCS Component. The following process details the install methods for Out of Band and the Intel SCS Component.

 

Simple NS environment

For a simple NS environment where the Application Identity for Notification Server has full rights to both the Notification Server system and SQL Server, the initial install is simple. Note that this process should be used for Simple and Complex environments to lay down the essential components on the NS.

 

  1. In the Altiris Console, browse View > Configuration > Install/Upgrade additional solutions.

  2. Under available solutions, click the ‘Segments' button.

  3. Expand the Partner Solutions section and locate the Altiris Manageability Toolkit for Intel vPro Technology.
    !SolCtrvPro.jpg!

  4. Click the link to launch the install.

  5. NOTE: This will install the following primary components, all of which tie into aspects of Out of Band Management and Real-Time System Manager:

    1. Task Server and supporting installs

    2. Real-Time System Manager

    3. Real-Time Console Infrastructure

    4. Out of Band Management Solution

    5. Our of Band Setup and Configuration (AKA the Intel SCS Component)

    6. Network Discovery

  6. The install will commence. Note that if the Intel SCS Component is unable to be successfully installed you will receive a message indicating it needs to be installed manually. If this is the case, see the next section entitled ‘Complex NS Environment'.

  7. If no errors are shown, the Intel SCS Component with the IntelAMT database should have been installed and created successfully.

Complex NS Environment

Despite the name of this section, sometimes the steps here need because of a minor security issue when the automatic install was attempted. The following steps detail the process of install the Intel SCS Component manually.

 

  1. Run through the install as detailed under the ‘Simple NS Environment' section above. This will put all the typical components in place, and likely the automatic install of Intel SCS will fail, requiring the next series of steps to be completed.

  2. It's recommended to log into the Notification Server as the Application Identity user.

  3. Browse to the following path on the NS: install_path\Program Files\Altiris\Notification Server\NSCap\Bin\Win32\X86\OOB\IntelSCS\

  4. Launch the EXE AMTConfServer.exe.

  5. Click ‘Next' on the Welcome screen and accept the license agreement and click ‘Next'.

  6. Choose ‘Complete' as the type of setup and click ‘Next'.

  7. In the User name and Password fields put in the Application Identity for the NS.

  8. Check the Web details.

  9. Leave ‘Force Secure Connections (HTTPS)' checked if you will use TLS to encrypt AMT traffic, or uncheck it if you will not be using TLS. Click ‘Next'.

  10. Under ‘Database Server' select the database name and instance (if applicable) to use. It is recommended to use Windows Authentication, but if the SQL setup requires a SQL account, choose that option. Click ‘Next'.

  11. The next details should be left as is. Click ‘Next'.

  12. Click the ‘Install' button to proceed with the install using the parameters set.

  13. At the Complete screen, leave the ‘Start Intel® AMT Config Service' checked and click ‘Finish'.

Subsequent SCS Installs

Now that NS has all the required components, and the IntelAMT database has been created, the following details cover how to install a subordinate install of the Intel SCS Component. Note the following prerequisites for this type of install:

 

  • Windows 2000 Server, Windows 2003 Server

  • Internet Information Services (IIS)

  • Microsoft .NET 2.0

 

Run through the following steps to install Intel SCS.

 

  1. Log onto the system as the Application Identity user for Notification Server.

  2. Browse to the following path on the NS:
    <NS_Name>\NSCap\Bin\Win32\X86\OOB\IntelSCS\

  3. Launch the EXE AMTConfServer.exe.

  4. Click ‘Next' on the Welcome screen and accept the license agreement and click ‘Next'.

  5. Choose ‘Complete' as the type of setup and click ‘Next'.

  6. In the User name and Password fields put in the Application Identity for the NS. If this is not possible the user should have full access to the SQL Server. This will also be the user set on the Service AMTConfig.

  7. Check the Web details.

  8. Leave ‘Force Secure Connections (HTTPS)' checked if you will use TLS to encrypt AMT traffic, or uncheck it if you will not be using TLS. Click ‘Next'.

  9. Under ‘Database Server' select the database name and instance (if applicable) to use. This should be the SQL Server used to install the IntelAMT database in previous steps.

  10. The database details . Click ‘Next'.

  11. Click the ‘Install' button to proceed with the install using the parameters set.

  12. You'll receive a notice saying that the database IntelAMT already exists. Make sure to click ‘Yes' so it uses the existing one.

  13. At the Complete screen, leave the ‘Start Intel® AMT Config Service' checked and click ‘Finish'

  14. From the Notification Server, at this location: , copy the file oobprov.exe to the same path on the subordinate install (default will be C:\Program Files\Altiris\OOBSC\).

  15. NOTE! You must use the same path that it used on the Notification Server, this is a limitation of this implementation.

  16. Copy to the same folder the attached file Interop.AeXClient.dll.
    !RemoteSCS.JPG!

  17. Normally the script (oobprov.exe) is properly registered to the correct path, but if it is not, we must manually change it.

  18. Open SQL Query Analyzer or SQL Enterprise Manager. Run the following query:

    1. USE IntelAMT
                SELECT Props_script_path, use_props_script
                FROM csti_Configuration

  19. Check the path and make sure it matches the remote and local Intel SCS install. Also verify that the use_props_script is set to 1, which means ‘True' (0 means ‘False'). Now run the following query if they need to be updated, but take note to change the path to match your environment:

    1. UPDATE csti_configuration
                SET props_script_path = ‘C:\Program Files\Altiris\OOBSC\oobprov.exe'
                SET use_props_script = 1
                WHERE configuration_id = 1

  20. Everything should now be in place for both the primary and secondary Intel SCS install to work with systems being Provisioned, including subsequent maintenance or reconfiguration functions, sharing the load.

Confirm Registration

The next step is to confirm that the install has successfully registered in the IntelAMT database and is running. Use the following steps to make the checks:

 

  1. First, let's check that the Secondary SCS Server has properly registered in the IntelAMT database. On the SQL Server where the IntelAMT database is housed, open SQL Query Analyzer or SQL Enterprise Manager. Run the following query:

    1. USE IntelAMT
                SELECT * FROM csto_servers

  2. You should have one entry for every Intel SCS install you've completed.

  3. On the secondary Intel SCS Server, go to Start > Administrative Tools > and click on ‘Services'.

  4. Locate the Service ‘AMTConfig'. Ensure the following settings:

    • Status = Started

    • Startup Type = Automatic

    • Log On As = NS Application ID

Adjust Queue Settings

The last part is to adjust the general settings to account for the added resources.

 

  1. In the Altiris Console browse to View > Solutions > Out of Band Management > Configuration > Provisioning > and click on ‘General'.

  2. Look under the ‘Service Maintenance' section. See the screenshot, followed by the recommended settings:
    !OOBGenSettings.jpg!

    • Max queue size: 2000 for one instance, add 1000 per secondary server

    • Worker threads: 10 for one instance, add 5 per secondary server. Same for the Slow worker threads

  3. The above values are recommendations. Since thorough testing has not been performed, it is recommended to change these in small increments if performance is a problem.

  4. Make sure to ‘Apply' the changes once they've been made. This should allow the SCS infrastructure to handle larger loads of incoming requests.

Conclusion

The subordinate Intel SCS install process should be repeated for each Intel SCS install desired in the environment. This will help distribute the load of incoming requests from Intel AMT vPro systems. Moving forward Symantec and Intel will be testing this scenario further. In the interim this article can be used to increase the resource power of the SCS infrastructure.