Intel AMT Alarm Clock

 

Have you ever been working and had a patch come down from your IT department that you had to install now. Or how about a virus scan that brought your machine to a crawl in the middle of your work. If so, you may wish your IT department would use AMT Alarm Clock, a feature released in the 5.1 version of Intel Active Management Technology (AMT).

This feature provides the ability for a remote management console to schedule clients to wake themselves up from any sleep state (even off) at a specific date/time or on a recurring basis. And the wake can occur even if the system does not have network connectivity (which distinguishes this feature from WOL or AMT's existing remote power control).

The original implementation provided a single alarm, but starting in AMT 8.0 five new alarms were added for greater flexibility. Multiple alarms allow a single user to schedule different activities or allow multiple users to utilize the feature. It is important to note that the original single alarm uses a different API from the additional five alarms; please refer to the documentation.

With this new feature you can:

  • Allow autonomous tasks to run at scheduled times
  • Improve productivity and compliance by scheduling compute intensive tasks for off normal working hours
  • Save network bandwidth when waking many machines

Once the system is awake a local agent can perform a scheduled task. The tasks to perform can be communicated to the agent in advance, or can be written to the 3rd Party Data Store for reading when the system is powered up by the Alarm Clock.

When the AMT Alarm Clock wakes the system it writes an entry to the event log stating that the system was powered up by AMT and indicates the prior sleep state of the system. The local agent can read this entry to find out which sleep state to return the system when it is finished with its tasks. Also added in AMT 8.0 was the Reason For Last Boot call which will tell if the system was booted due to the AMT Alarm Clock, an AMT Power Control, or other. If it is 'other', the User may have booted the system, in which case you should consider if the planned actions will interfere with work they may be doing.

Keep in mind that the AMT Management Engine (ME) must have a power policy set that will make it be On when the alarm is supposed to run. For example, if the ME is only configured to be On in S3 it won't be available to wake the system from S5.

To find out more please check out the samples and documentation in the AMT SDK.
 

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15 comments

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Lance A. (Intel)'s picture

Hi Jed,
By OEM I meant someone that makes the system like Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc.
But the same applies to motehrboard manufacurers. They create the BIOS updates for their hardware and get to decide what to put in them. AMT firmware is distributed as part of BIOS updates and Intel provides the updates to the h/w makers. They can choose to include the update if they want it or not.

I do not know about specific features that they can choose or exclude.

Jeff202's picture

By OEM you mean a major motherboard manufacturer like Asus, Gigabyte etc?
So they would release a BIOS revision around the same time Intel does which will include AMT 5.1?

Do these OEM's typically exclude some of the features defined in these data-sheets?
http://www.intel.com/Assets/PDF/datasheet/319970.pdf
http://www.intel.com/assets/pdf/datasheet/319973.pdf
Or are they considered base features which they cannot remove & therefore only "add" their own features?

Thank for your help Lance!

Cheers,
Jed

Lance A. (Intel)'s picture

Hi Jed,
Sorry I missed your initial comment.

The change does require a firmware update that includes AMT 5.1. For OEM systems you will need to get the update from the OEM. If you purchased an Intel board you can get a BIOS update from the download center here: http://downloadcenter.intel.com/
The Release notes should state that the ME version is 8.5.1.

Hope that helps.

Jeff202's picture

Hi Lance, did you end-up receiving my earlier post? (above)
If so I don't suppose you could take a minute to respond?
T'would be greatly appreciated! :-P

all the best,
Jed

anonymous's picture

G'day,

This sounds like a sweet augmentation!..

would it be available to 4 series chip-sets (specifically q45) when its ready?
Or is it a firmware level thing that's not allowed to be updated remotely :-(

Cheers,
Jed

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