While I believe any ISV would claim they have the best Agent, I encourage you to look at Altiris' Manageability Toolkit for Intel vPro technology.
With our Toolkit you can leverage all the functions you mention without the need of an Agent installed on the local vPro system. The server-based applications make direct connections through the secure vPro channels to manage the systems.
You can get more basic information here: http://www.altiris.com/Products/ManageabilityToolkitForIntelvPro.aspx.
I'd also recommend referencing the content Intel and Altiris has posted here: http://juice.altiris.com/intel.
You can evaluate the full Toolkit for 30 days (requires evaluation registration on our site; 7 days without eval registration), and many of the Solutions do not require a license even after the evaluation period.
If you have any questions, please let me know.
Great question Patrick! There are many solutions out there to manage vPro but very few take full advantage of all of the vPro features. One solution you can take a look at is LANDesk Management Suite 8.7. LDMS 8.7 was released in July 2006 with full vPro functionality before the official launch of vPro. Since that time LANDesk has taken the next step in vPro functionality by allowing the administrator to use vPro features together for a more robust solution.
For example, and administrator can use the 8.7 product to isolate a system from the network if a vPro System Defense policy is violated. They can also use vPro Agent Presence to be notified if a critical process on the client is disabled. Now, in LANDesk 8.7 SP3, an administrator can use Agent Presence and System Defense together to create a more robust solution. The administrator can configure the management console to isolate a client system from the network (using System Defense) when an Agent Presence alert is received. Imagine a user, or a piece of malware, stopping the virus detection software on the client. If vPro Agent Presence is monitoring the virus checker on the client it will see that the virus detection software has been stopped and notify the LANDesk Core server. The Core server will then isolate the client system from the network using vPro System Defense to prevent other systems from being affected. The client is isolated but LANDesk and vPro management traffic are still allowed to the client to aid in the vulnerability scan and remediation of the client.
This ability, in addition to all of the other vPro features (Power Options, Reboot to BIOS, Reboot with IDE-Redirection, etc), is what makes a vPro system such a powerful tool when combined with LANDesk 8.7. It is a great way to reduce costs and client-side visits while improving security.
Check out our 45-day trail versions at http://www.landesk.com/Tools/Trial
Have fun with vPro.
I was considering LANDesk. However, I was looking at a white paper that indicated that the server component was not compatible with 64 bit servers. My environments are typically 64 Bit servers and Vista clients. Has that been updated in the most current release that you referenced? Let me know.
Thanks for your reply.
Hi again everyone. I want to fine tune my VPro query a little bit. I mispoke by saying "Best". I want a COMPLETE VPro agent that takes full advantage of all that VPro has to offer. I want an package that runs on 64 Bit servers/Vista clients. It should also take advantage of ALL other VPro goodies like IDE Redirect, power-on/off, remote re-imaging, etc., etc., etc. Oh yeah, it should take advantage of all of the Centrino Pro features, as well. Am I dreaming or does someone have this jewel and they just aren't sharing it with the rest of the channel?
So. Have any of the ISVs managed that yet? I have a lab ready to test the COMPLETE solution and will readily share my experience with the rest of you.
Thanks again for your replies.
What's the minimum installation for a manageability toolkit like this and can I manage more than one client with the same toolkit remotely?. I manage a number of small installation bases (50 PCs on average) across a wide geography in Northen California. They are not running vPro but I would consider refreshing with vPro if I manage them with one instance of a toolkit?
And if this can be done is there strong encryption in place to protect data between the office networks?
You are correct. Currently, our Management Server is not supported in 64-bit environments. However, we do all of the vPro functions on the client in addition to fulll Centrino Pro support. With a 32-bit server you can have it all, but just not with a 64-bit server at this time.
I hope this helps,
Thanks for your reply. I haven't deployed your agent yet. I am planning on doing it over the weekend. Can the server component be installed on a 64 bit server? Please send me SKUs for the production product to email@example.com. If I like the demo, I have a client that I want to roll this out to.
Sounds like a Managed Service Provider (MSP) environment.
For Altiris, LANDesk, or other ISV specific licensing agreement of setup for MSP environment - may be best to contact them directly or check out a related site such as Altiris Juice (http://juice.altiris.com/intel) and so forth. (I reference that site since I'm familiar with - fully suspect that other ISVs have similar sites, resources, or ability to respond and assist on your question)
Hope that helps
Patrick - Appreciate participation and the question on this. As vPro becomes more familiar - you may see additional value-add capabilities or key enablements by each of the ISVs. In meeting personnally with Brett, Joel, and others - have seen some very cool ideas and enablements among various ISVs.
If you view vPro as a tool to enterprise client management and security - the respective software implementations for enterprise client manageability have extended their reach and capability for out-of-band access and enhanced functionality\capability. In essence - you're already "future proofing" your customer's environments.
From a development\enablement perspective - a lot of innovative ideas also stem from the Developer Toolkit (DTK) posted here - http://softwarecommunity.intel.com/articles/eng/1034.htm. Ylian Saint-Hilaire has strived to show the innovative capability and flexibility - whether in the enterprise, managed service providers, or in the home\residential. Check out the site and the associated videos and so forth. The DTK is a common download and reference for software vendors and others with an interest to enable and further their respective solutions and so forth. The DTK is not an Intel supported product for production implementation - yet a useful tool\resource to demonstrate what's possible. PLUS - there's source code at the site for download, application enablement, embedding in routers, etc.
Vista (or for that matter - any OS specific) items may also be dependent upon the OEM's lastest firmware and AMT driver download\support. It may also be a matter of operating system support - I'm still receiving a lot of individual patches\updates for Vista test systems (generally speaking). The good news is that vPro and Centrino Pro systems are hardware capable\compliant for Vista. On a side note - have successfully tested\demonstrated Vista with vPro and main ISVs - was using 32-bit version though.
On the driver side - there is MEI (Management Engine Interface), LMS (Local Management Service), SoL (Serial over LAN), and UNS (User Notification Service - AMT 3.0 and later). The OEMs receive release code from Intel on these drivers and associated firmware - and they decide what to support, when to release and so forth... similar in concept to the APIs and enabling packages provided to the software vendors.
Lastly - in regards to an ISV's client agent supporting a particular operating system version - good question for the ISV. vPro does not require a client agent - although some functionality or usage may depend on or work better if the client agent is present. (e.g. Remote Configuration, graceful shutdown of the operating system, agent presence, etc).
Hope all this helps as you strive to further "future proof" or customers.
Thanks for your comments and insights on VPro agents. I'm just going to keep looking around and talking with vendors. And yes, I'm going at VPro in an MSP environment. However, I want to resale it to big IT departments that need better tools to manage their systems. I am very picky about the solutions I offer my clients. Good tools/partners equate to fewer phone calls and increased profits. And that's what I'm using that same methodology in choosing my VPro platfrom. I know VPro has only been out there for around a year and everyone is still fine tuning their tools. I know several vendors are having a hard time with the power features and remote capabilities on Vista machines. I know noone has a tool that takes advantages of all that VPro can offer; however, I want to choose the solution that comes close. My customers always get the best.
I am glad Intel has put this forum out there. A lot of you guys have different experiences from myself and I think this will be helpful to us all.
Again, thank you and all the other I.T. pros that have weighed in on my discussion.
The Altiris Server component does not currently support 64bit Operating Systems, but this support is coming in the next full version.
As Intel moves forward with vPro, I'm excited for the capabilities both currently available and those coming down the pipeline. You can look forward to a supported framework for your environment in the future.
You may have seen that Microsoft is integrating vPro support in the Configuration Manager 2007 SP1 release (due out by end of May, 2008). Many of the features you've asked about are included in the product. Specifically, ConfigMgr supports, zero touch remote configuration, zero touch agent-initiated remote configuration, IDE Redirection, Serial over LAN, Boot Control, Power On / Off (interactive), Power On (scheduled), System Restart, BIOS password bypass, Keyboard lock, AMT Event Log, and viewing the AMT IDE-R Log. Also, TLS, Kerberos & Active Directory integration are non-vPro features that are part of the overall solution in ConfigMgr. If you would like to futher discuss how ConfigMgr can be used in your MSP environment, please contact me offline.
Program Manager, Microsoft Management & Services Division