ASF and Intel AMT - Spot the differences (part 1)

Hello again!

After my suggestion of a "comparison between different manageability products" in my previous post, I was actually asked to do so - it seems to answer a widespread question.

We'll start by focusing in the differences/similarities between ASF and Intel AMT, trying to explain features as well as technical differences.

First, my very own ASF background: Before validating Intel AMT technologies, I worked for about two years validating ASF technologies, both in workstation and in server platform. That's why I hope to be able to address the technical differences of both manageability solutions.

Part one: The history (covers widespread OOB technologies only).

  • In the beginning, there was confusion... :)

    The IT managers of the world had no way to manage computers remotely...

  • That's until Wake on LAN (WoL) appeared. WoL came in the middle of the 90's (1997), developed by Intel and IBM engineers, and it let administrators to remotely turn computers on. The technology was bundled (under the Wired for Management name) with a protocol called PXE, which gave the option of booting from a remote disk.

    But that was it -- all you could do was turn on a machine and hope everything was working fine until the OS could load some software-based solution.

  • An attempt of improving these technologies was made at 1999, when Intel and IBM defined "Alert-on-LAN-2." This set of technologies presented very important features (alerting in addition to remote control and remote boot), but the technology didn't became so popular or widespread...

  • Thus, in 2001 ASF was a welcomed evolution, as it added necessary features like event alerts and remote control commands (the ability to turn off or reset a computer, not only turning it on). ASF is an open standard by the DMTF, and the last revision of it (where security protocols were added) was in 2003.

  • The next major progress in OOB manageability was Intel AMT. This was a much needed revision of the ASF standard, adding many features requested by the market. In fact, it is so literally an evolution that many of the persons involved in designing/programming the Intel AMT features were before designers/programmers of ASF :) (pay attention to the active role of Intel in designing and spreading these remote management solutions).

In the next parts we'll discuss/compare the different features and the technology used in the features that are common between Intel AMT and ASF.

Stay tuned!

Posts in the series:

- ASF and Intel AMT - Spot the differences (part 1)

- ASF vs. Intel AMT part 2 - Technology differences

- More technology distinctions - Intel AMT vs. ASF, part 3

- Between Intel AMT and ASF, part 4

- Feature Advantages - Intel AMT and ASF part 5

PS> It would be great to know whether some of you already had/have any experience with ASF manageability, and how do you compare it with Intel AMT. In this way, we'll be able to better focus our conversation.

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gunjan-rawal (Intel)'s picture

Nice post :-) looking forward to the next post!

Arvind Kumar (Intel)'s picture

Shmuel, great post!!

You may want to clarify that you are talking about manageability of 'client' platforms, and you are talking about 'out-of-band' platform manageability.

The field of manageability is so broad, that the history you outlined is specific to a part of it. For example, SNMP based 'remote' manageability of OS and applications has existed for over 25 years. And servers have done platform manageability for a long time with remote management cards on servers.

But nevertheless, for client OOB manageability, your comments are accurate.


Shmuel Gershon (Intel)'s picture

While the post says that it "covers widespread OOB technologies only", I really missed to point out that it does not cover OOB solutions commonly used for servers.

Maybe this can be another series of posts, when we finnish the ASF comparison -- comparing Intel AMT with other famous OOB solutions...

's picture

שמואל! :)

מה קורה גבר?

סחתיין על הפוסטים. מזכיר לי את הימים באינטל.

שמור על עצמך ותשלח לי את הגרסא הבאה של אובונטו :)

Shmuel Gershon (Intel)'s picture

Thanks for the hebrew greetings Roy :)
Hope all is well with you too :)