Activate Today! Realize ROI with Intel® vPro Technology and Symantec Altiris is now available for on-demand viewing!
We are hosting a series of ROI and activation webinars on Tech Republic; each one is focused on a specific management console - Symantec Altiris, Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, and LANDesk.
This webcast features special guest speakers from Intel Corporation, Jeff Marek, Director of End User Platform Engineering, Digital Office, and Jeff Torello, Staff Architect, Digital Office and Lee Bender, Sr. Technical Manager of Strategic Alliances, Symantec. They discuss the ROI possible with Intel vPro technology usage models activated, a review of the primary usage models supported by Altiris, and an overview of the activation process using Altiris.
In addition, Kelsey captured the questions and answers from this session (Thanks Kelsey!!).
Have questions that aren't covered here? Please post them in the Ask An Expert forum and we'll get them answered for you.
Q1: Are there other vendors/products that take advantage of the vPro technology, or is Symantec exclusively doing the management for the vPro technology?
A1: Yes, there are others. In fact, we have many ISV partners that support vPro Technology in their client management solutions. Other than Symantec, Microsoft supports vPro in their Configuration Manager (aka SCCM) product in the Out-of-Band Manager component. LANDesk also support vPro Technology, as well as others.
Q2: Cleveland Clinic: How much do you pay to purchase desktop from HP? Any minimum purchase?
A2: We buy over 5000 new pc's a year on our lifecycle process. We have built into this process the imaging and vpro setup. The cost is volume based, but anyone can buy a PC from HP with VPRO enablement on a one off basis.
Q3: How could you boot a remote system from a network ISO if the OS is down? ie no vpn client? Thanks!
A3: With the Intel vPro technology, a boot redirection can be initiated. This allows a bootable ISO to be presented to the system. There are online demonstrations at Intel vPro Expert Center and Symantec Connect. This is the power of Intel vPro technology and out-of-band management. Regardless of the host operating system state, Intel vPro technology communications can connect to, power on\off, present a bootable ISO, and other items over the network. The bootable ISO can be located at any accessible UNC share. There are online demonstrations at Intel vPro Expert Center and Symantec Connect. Example article.
Q4A: What specific kinds of problems can be fixed remotely, if the OS isn't operating?
A4: Software problems. By booting to an ISO located somewhere on the network, the technician has the ability to run diagnostic tools or repair corrupt files on the local hard drive. So, specifically, a tech could fix OS problems, perform hardware or low-level scans, boot into the BIOS to review and change BIOS settings, etc. This ability to redirect the boot process allows the tech to access common diagnostic tools, even if the OS won't boot! But obviously, bad hardware cannot be fixed remotely and will require a desk-side visit.
Q4B: OK, so maybe this is obvious, but to implement this, I need all new hardware, right?
A4: You may already have systems supporting Intel Active Management Technology, within the Intel vPro Technology platform. The technology has been in systems for over 3 years now. There are tools and articles on Intel vPro Expert Center and Symantec Connect explaining how to find systems. One example is here. Intel vPro Technology is a platform (analogous to Centrino) that consist of: CPU, chipset, and network adapter(s). I am not aware of any computer manufacturers that offer FRU (field replaceable unit) upgrades for motherboards/systems to convert a non-vPro PC to vPro. So, yes, the short answer is, unless you have existing PC's that support vPro, as companies refresh their fleet, they can opt for vPro Technology in their new PC purchases. We maintain a list of PCs featuring vPro Technology on the vPro Expert Center here.
Q5: How long of a time frame from investigation of vPro to actually having machines up and working?
A5: [Cleveland Clinic] It’s a process to start this. You really need to engage the product your using and vPro together. We were very early adopters in this process, and really took us about 6-7 months. Once we got through all those initial hurdles, we were able to move very quickly. We have a lifecycle process now and also pushed that back to our manufacturer. In terms of new deployment, I think it would be much quicker.
Q6: Were all of your employees behind moving to vPro? Were they all believers at first?
A6: It’s having a positive impact and is lowering the workload for people responsible for managing these systems.
Q7: How could you boot a remote system from a network ISO if the OS is down or maybe if you don’t have a VPN client?
A7: Intel vPro technology is contained in the hardware, so the OS itself is irrelevant to the functionality of vPro. The way this would typically work is that the chipset manages the network stack and so it’s still on the network with same IP/hostname. You can connect with the Symantec tool and tell it to grab this network based image (ISO) of our repair utility that we put together inside our company. That machine will reboot and load that image across the network. Now, if there’s no VPN client, you can provide the user a CD to cause the computer to be rebooted, or a USB image and have that capability still be performed.
Q8: What are the typical types of problems that customers are fixing remotely?
A8: It’s the ability to reach out and repair and recover the machine from a variety of bad scenarios. You can go down the wire to figure out if your inventory isn’t up to date and what kind of hardware it is. Once you have the ability to boot to an ISO – you can jump into the BIOS you can help the end user walk through it, low level scans, copy over possibly corrupted files. We have seen people reboot dead hardware to do even just limited functionality. Once you can fix something remotely you can repair things that you usually couldn’t.
Q9: Are there other software tools that can be used to manage vPro PCs?
There are about 60 different programs that support vPro capabilities. On the vPro Expert Center there is a list of the programs that support vPro. Some examples are Microsoft Systems Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) and LANDesk.