Intel® vPro™ technology puts powerful manageability in your hands, but there are intricacies involved. To get the full value and all the benefits, you’ll need some guidance now and then. Fortunately, there’s help available from Intel® Developer Zone, including answers to your questions from Gael Holmes Hofemeier, an Intel® Black Belt developer.
Gael has been an application engineer with Intel since 2000, and her specific focus for the past several years has been on platform enabling for Intel vPro technologies, with a focus on Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT). As she engages directly with developers, IT professionals, and others through the Intel communities and forums, certain questions are often on peoples’ minds. The top five are described below; if you don’t see what you’re looking for, you can always post to the Intel vPro technology forum.
The keyboard-video-mouse (KVM) feature of Intel AMT provides full remote control of client systems from the management console. Like other features of Intel AMT, the KVM functionality is enabled at the hardware level, so it’s available regardless of client system state. In other words, with Intel AMT KVM, you can remote-control a PC even if it is powered-down, has a damaged OS, or even hasn’t been imaged yet.
While configuring this capability is relatively straightforward, there are a number of things you must take into account. Assuming the system supports KVM, for example, Intel AMT must be enabled, the right port assignments must be configured, authentication must be set up properly, and so on. For details about getting KVM up and running, check out the following entries in Gael’s blog:
Managing Intel vPro technology client PCs through the browser-based Web UI is a convenient option. It allows a simple, intuitive way to view information such as logs and system details, as well as to perform functions such as rebooting PCs and configuring network connectivity, power options, and Intel AMT account details.
Early versions of Intel AMT only allowed remote connection to the Web UI, but beginning with Intel AMT 6.1, users with Administrator rights can connect to the Web UI locally. The following blog entry covers this topic in more detail, including specific procedures for various Intel AMT configurations and links to videos that will help you get up to speed on this topic:
To get full use out of the documentation, discussions, and articles related to manageability of business PCs based on Intel vPro technology, it is important first to understand the vocabulary. Intel vPro technology is an umbrella term for Intel’s flagship business PC platform architecture, which includes manageability based on Intel AMT. All of the manageability technology is included in Intel AMT, part of which is the server-side technology used to manage individual business PCs.
The Intel® Manageability Engine (Intel® ME) is the set of hardware features including processing mechanisms and non-volatile memory, operating below the OS level, that underlie Intel AMT. Its functionality is exposed using a set of BIOS extensions, and it communicates with the rest of the network over a logically isolated interface that operates over the same physical interface as regular LAN traffic. The following blog entries discuss the Intel ME and some related components in more detail:
Software running on the local client communicates with the Intel ME by means of the Intel Manageability Engine Interface (MEI) driver, also known as the Host Embedded Controller Interface (HECI) driver. That communication is needed for both Intel AMT and Intel® Anti-Theft Technology (Intel® AT Technology). If the communication is unsuccessful for some reason, the system will generate an error.
If you run into a communication error related to Intel AMT or Intel AT, the first step in correcting the issue is to verify that the Intel ME and Intel AMT and/or Intel AT Technology are enabled in BIOS. Beyond that, a number of tools are available to help identify the root cause of the error and correct it. For a description of procedures and tools to help you troubleshoot this type of error, as well as where to get a valid driver for various systems if you need to, read the following blog entry:
Working with business PCs based on Intel vPro technology involves having two passwords: one for Intel AMT and one for the Intel ME. The former is used with a management console or the Web UI, and it can be changed using APIs that are described in the Intel® AMT Network Interface Guide. The latter is used when you enter CTRL-P and access the Intel ME, and it can only be changed by logging directly into the Intel ME or through a provisioning server.
If you lose one or both passwords, the resolution is to restore the passwords to factory defaults, rather than actually recovering the password(s). The procedure for doing so depends on the specific system, and it may be as simple as removing the battery for 15 seconds, or it may be more complicated. The following blog entries describe Intel AMT and Intel ME passwords in more detail, including how to reset them to their factory defaults and requirements for the strong passwords required by Intel AMT and Intel ME:
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