I had the pleasure of sitting in on a presentation that Josh Hilliker and Todd Christ for some clients this last week about vPro. As I was sitting there, it dawned on me I didn't realize how good the maintenance is. It really came to me because of Josh's passion and Todd's Knowledge drove it home during this presentation.
The chipset has a lot to do with it. Active Management Technology (AMT) is the featured product. I know I have mentioned a lot about AMT but I never really dove into this subject. It is such a vital part of vPro. This little chipset makes sure that the Operating System (OS) is not jeopardized by outside sources. No matter what state the OS is in, AMT will go in and protect it. AMT would tell the server that its needs help then IT would "cut" most of the connection to only enough to communicate remotely between the server and the client. To make this user friendly on the sever side IDE-Redirection (IDE-R) and Serial over LAN (SOL) are there to help the operator with remotely diagnosing and repairing client systems. To go further on how it has been done Brad Lund did a blog called Using SOL/IDE-R to Diagnose and Repair vPro Clients on the vPro expert center site.
AMT is a force of nature in the chip world. Not only does it help with the protection of the hardware it also makes sure the hardware is up to date, nothing is wrong with it, if there was a problem with it then it would let the server know about it. All of the points are below which tells its main benefits. The name and link is Intel® Active Management Technology.
Features and Benefits
Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT)
Out-of-band system access
Discover. With built-in manageability, Intel AMT allows IT to discover assets even while PCs are powered off.¹ Plus, remote consoles don't rely on local software agents, helping to avoid accidental data loss.
Remote trouble-shooting and recovery
Diagnose. Providing out-of-band management capabilities, Intel AMT allows IT to remotely isolate and recover systems after OS failures while alerting and event logging helps reduce downtime.
Hardware-based agent presence checking
Verify. Ensuring better protection for your enterprise, hardware-based agent presence checking proactively detects that software agents are running while missing agents are automatically detected and alerts are sent to the management console.
Isolate. Proactively blocking incoming threats, Intel AMT System Defense contains infected clients before they impact the network while alerting IT when critical software agents are removed.
Remote hardware and software asset tracking
Update. Helping to keep software and virus protection up-to-date across the enterprise, Intel AMT also enable third-party software to store version numbers or policy data in non-volatile memory for off-hours retrieval or updates.
For a business, this is solid reasoning to insure that your information isn't going to be destroyed. That could cost a company millions in time and money if the information is gone. Think for a moment that I was sitting here, writing on a blog and suddenly my computer caught a virus. With out this featured product to protect my computer from hazards then all my work would be gone. That would make for a very unhappy intern. Computers just might fly through the air. Ahhh, but the pleasure of having such a luxury like vPro makes life so much better. I wouldn't have to worry about my work being gone. And I wouldn't feel bad because I wouldn't get anybody else infected with that pesky virus.
There was another thought in all of this, I am really bad at keeping up to date on my hardware and software. Even if it give me the sign saying that I need to update my items, I tend to either ignore them or I just plain forget them (of course I check all the time on my work computer, J). It would be even better for employees and me to have our computers update while we are not at our computers. While the employees are gone, IT can set up a script for vPro to check all of the points and update the licenses, then shut down the computer once again (or restart the computers; however, the company would like to do it). When the employees come back, everything would be as if they never left. That would save companies a lot alone because they are getting more productivity time.
This little piece of equipment is so vital to the pulse of vPro. The three words that come best that I found through my research is that AMT "Discovers, heals, and protects".