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Intel leverages AMT for out-of-band system controls

Intel's new active management technology (ATM) looks to become a key enabler of so-called out-of-band (OOB) management.

Unveiled at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) this past fall, AMT is a platform-resident hardware-firmware combination designed to enable IT managers to access networked computing systems remotely, even systems that are powered down, the OS has locked up, or the hard drive has crashed.

AMT features an OOB link that is independent of the operating system and uses an alternative route to the network infrastructure. This OOB link is what allows managers to access a system even when the OS is inoperative, providing what Intel calls an "any platform state." And it focuses on things like hardware failures, low-level configuration problems, and OS troubles, instead of applications.

A number of vendors have signed on to support Intel's AMT, including Computer Associates, Altiris, BMC Software, LANDesk, and Check Point Software Technologies. All of these vendors showcased early solutions based on the technology at the IDF, focusing on remote management, security, diagnostic, and inventory. Out-of-band vendors, such as Cyclades, Avocent, and Raritan, are expected to use AMT to support their product offerings.

AMT is part of a set of product enhancements called Digital Office that is aimed at addressing the needs of business end-users. The Digital Office solutions group includes a security application (codenamed LaGrande Technology or LT) and a virtualization app (codenamed Vanderpool Technology or VT).

"Business customers, from the large enterprise to the startup, have complex needs that cannot be remedied with a single new feature," said Bill Siu, VP and GM  of Intel's desktop platforms group in a statement. "That's why Intel is taking a broader approach involving standards, products and technologies. Intel Active Management Technology is a significant first step in Intel's vision for the Digital Office. Intel has exciting plans for solutions that will make platforms more aware, more connected, more intuitive and more responsive. This is just the beginning."

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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