The Economy and MSPs


Many companies in the US are reacting negatively to the current economic conditions; defending their position in the market and tightening budgets. The savvy MSP is turning this environment to their benefit by capitalizing on the efficiency of scale. SMBs can reduce the cost of managing their IT assets by hiring an MSP who spreads the cost over many smaller companies. Then, as the economy swings back, MSPs can organically increase their revenue by adding new and greater levels of service offerings, as their SMB customers grow.

Intel® vPro™ Technology and the MSP


With Intel® vPro™ Technology, MSPs can monitor, manage and repair computers anytime; even if a computer is powered off (laptops must be plugged into AC), the OS is inoperable, management agents are missing, or hardware (such as a hard drive) has failed.  When integrated into a third-party management solution, computers with Intel vPro Technology let service providers spend less time managing and maintaining computers, driving down cost and increasing the SLA with your customers. Usages include:

1.   Green IT – Saving energy is becoming a key driver for selling managed services. Even though users are asked turn off their computers, many are left on after work hours. You can schedule a task in your 3rd party management console that checks for computers that are left on, and perform a graceful OS shutdown. Now, energy saving policies set by your customer can be enforced, and a scheduled Intel vPro Technology power-up command, before normal working hours, saves their employees time at the start of the day.

2.   Maintenance off-hours – Disk defrag, cleaning up temp files, SW updates, AV updates, back-ups; these are all maintenance tasks you can perform to keep systems running at peak performance, and as secure as possible. However, performing these tasks during the day can be annoying and disruptive to your customer’s employees. By scheduling an off-hours power on and maintenance task, ensures you have a higher SLA, while not interrupting employees during working hours.

3.   Deeper hardware inventory – Intel vPro Technology provides the next level of detail on HW inventory; providing data that is not currently available by standard operating systems.. Intel vPro Technology displays the list of components reported by the BIOS; with accurate manufacturer, model and specifications. This allows you to identify replacement parts, and more accurately track changes to the computer, without having to visit the PC.

Intel vPro Technology can also help repair systems remotely and more quickly than OS level tools. If the OS is down, the only option without Intel vPro Technology is to roll a truck. A remote terminal application that supports serial-over-LAN and IDE-redirect (both Intel vPro Technologies) allows:

1.   OS repair remotely – Typically, when an OS is disabled or severely corrupted, the only option is to roll a truck with your trusty CD of diagnostic tools. With Intel vPro Technology you can remotely boot up a computer using a Pre-boot Environment OS and toolset pre-staged on a share drive in your customers’ network. Remotely repairing the NTLoader.dll or a Master Boot Record are examples of how Intel vPro Technology eliminates the need for a truck roll, saving your customer time and improving your bottom line.

2.   Catastrophic hard disk failure – When a hard disk fails, it normally takes 2 truck rolls to remediate; one to identify the failure and another to repair. By remotely booting to a Pre-boot Environment OS and toolset, you can validate the failure and get accurate replacement part specifications, eliminating the first truck roll. If you have a recent image of that system, you could even ship the part directly to the customer with that image, or re-image remotely once the customer has replaced the part. For urgent requests, you have saved both truck rolls, and expedited getting your customer back in business!

Buying and Configuring Intel vPro Technology


Many of the tools you have to remotely monitor and manage your customer’s networks, have Intel vPro Technology integration. Check with your Remote Monitoring and Management or Network Management software vendor to determine which of the above use-cases they support. This link will take you to the Intel resource page for MSPs:

Many manufacturers have PCs and Laptops with Intel vPro Technology; follow this link for model numbers. Refresh your customer client infrastructure with vPro-based PCs now so you will be able to reap increased margins and expand your business growth potential, tomorrow!: Order an Intel® vPro™ technology "Activation-Ready" PC

There are several methods to configure Intel vPro Technology with the appropriate security, network, and operational parameters before a third-party management application can access the system. This link will help you determine which method is best suited for your environment, and provides implementation  guides for each method at the Intel vPro Expert Center: Intel® vPro™ Technology SMB & MSP Provisioning Method Selection Guide