Introducing the Intel® vPro™ Platform Solution Manager

Welcome to my blog about the Intel vPro Platform Solution Manager (PSM). This tool is available for download on the Intel Developer Zone and is applicable to managing Intel AMT clients that have already been enabled. It comes with a set of Intel AMT feature-based plugins as well as source code.

Description:

The Intel® vPro™ Platform Solution Manager (PSM) is a framework application that allows you to launch plug-in applications to remotely manage your Intel vPro technology based PC clients. The available plugins perform tasks such as Alarm Clock, Asset Inventory, Event Log, IDE-Redirection, KVM Remote Control, Power Management, and Serial Over Lan.

Documentation:

Folder/Main Page: VSPM/Source Code/Doc/ Intel_vPro_Platform_Solution_Manager.htm

Requirements:

  • vPRO PSM console OS: Windows 7 (English) 
  • vPRO PSM console: .NET Framework 3.5 or newer 
  • Intel AMT Client: Intel AMT 2.5 or newer 
  • Wired or Wireless connection
  • Browser Requirements for HTML Documentation: Cannot be viewed using Chrome – Internet Explorer works

The Main Screen

The image to the right shows what the main screen looks like when you run the Intel vPRO PSM executable. (The image  below comes from the documentation referenced above.)

Key:

  1. This is a display that shows which AMT clients you have added and wish to manage.
  2. This is the system you are currently connected to.
  3. These are the categories of the available plug-ins.
  4. This is the Plug-in pane.  For the Intel AMT category, this shows all the feature plug-ins that are available.
  5. Settings:  You can specify saving machine list on exit, automatically connecting to machines in list, ability to save the log data on exit and you can view the log file.
  6. When you select a plug-in, you will get another window pertaining to the plug-in you selected.

Before you can manage your AMT Client, you must connect to it. 

Connecting to an Intel AMT Client

From item 2, above you can connect to Intel AMT Clients. Click on the down arrow in the menu box and select settings.

If you are already connected to your AMT Client, the box will say "Disconnect", otherwise it will say "Connect."

 

  1. Enter either the IP address or the FQDN of the AMT Client you wish to connect to.
  2. You will need to specify the credentials for accessing AMT on the system.  Enter them in the Credentials section.
  3. Next specify the security level for which the AMT Client was provisioned. (with or without TLS)
  4. You can then specify whether or not to automatically connect to the AMT Client.
  5. When you are finished, click on Save.

Once you have connected to your Intel AMT Client, you can manage your system via the Intel AMT Plugins.

Alarm Clock: 

The Alarm Clock plug-in will let you set up an alarm on your AMT Client. The Alarm feature is used to wake up an AMT Client at a specific time and recurrence so it can have work done on it, such as applying patches during times when the User is typically not going to be trying to get work done.

  1. Select the Alarm Clock Plug-in and click on "Add" on the menu in the Alarm Clock settings window.  Enter the Date and recurrence information and save it. 
  2. You can give the alarm a name as well.  You can always select an existing alarm and edit its information.

Asset Inventory:

The Asset Inventory Plug-in simply returns the AMT Client's Hardware Asset Inventory information.  

The Asset Inventory Plug-in brings up expandable sections and the information can be saved to a file.

Event Log:

Like the Asset Inventory Plug-in, the Event Log Plug-in just displays information from the Event Log.  

You may save this information to a file.

Serial-Over-LAN:

The Serial Over Lan plug-in allows you to connect to the managed client and interact with it below the operating system level.  For example, you can remotely connect to a rebooted client via Serial Over LAN and interact with the BIOS screens remotely.  

In order to successfully configure your SOL session, you will need to do the following:

  • Go into the IDE-r menu, select a boot option and actually start an IDER session.
  • Click on "Connect" at the bottom of the window.
  • Go into the "Pwr mgmt" menu, Select BIOS
  • Select Reboot

The screen-shot below is the SOL console.  I expanded it from its smaller size.  The IDE-r menu that you need to edit is within the SOL Plug-in.

Booting to BIOS using Serial-Over-LAN:

  • After you have rebooted your managed client (to BIOS) you will be able to see the screen as it is booting.
  • After it has successfully booted to BIOS, you can interact with the BIOS using keyboard entry.

Shown here, is what the SOL console looks like once you are in a successful SOL session after booting to BIOS.

Power Management:

The Power Management Plug-in is used to perform power operations on your AMT Client.

  • You can do a normal reboot and you can turn the system on/off from using the basic options.  Note that if you boot to BIOS, you cannot view the BIOS or make changes unless you do a KVM Session or a SOL session.
  • As described below (IDE-r Plug-in), if you wish to do an IDE-Redirection session, this is also where you need to do so as well. 

IDE-Redirection:

The Intel vPro PSM also has an IDE-r Plug-in.  While you can specify paths to your ISO or Floppy images here, the only thing that seems to "stick" is the Start/Stop IDER button.

  • In order to successfully perform an IDE-r session you will need to go to the Power Management Plug-in and set it up (again) from there.

Using Power Management Plug-in for IDE-Redirection:

  1. Go into the Power Management Plug-in
  2. Select IDE-r
  3. Select Boot Source
  4. Start your IDE-r session
  5. Select Reboot

KVM Remote Control:

Below is what the KVM Remote Control Plug-in looks like.  The KVM feature allows you to have desk-top access to your managed system.  You can watch it boot, boot to BIOS (and change the settings), and you can also have an IDE-r session using the KVM plug-in.  Currently the KVM plug-in uses the Redirection Ports (not the KVM standard IANA port 5900.)  For that reason, you will not need to specify an RFB password.

  • Note that this version of the software uses the "free" version of Real VNC and because of that you will notice there is a splash screen that does not go away.  You will need to purchase the licensed version of Real VNC in order to get rid of the splash screen.
  • IDE-r works the same way with KVM as it does outside of a KVM Session. Set it up and start it from the "Pwr mgmt" menu.
  • A note about SOL vs KVM:  Since SOL sessions only show text based output, it is often more desireable to have a KVM Session instead of a SOL session for the purpose of being able to watch the desktop as the client is booting and to edit the BIOS.

The MISC Plug-in Category

This category only has one available plug-in:  The Quick Launcher.  Here you can add the capability to quickly launch your own applications from within the vPro PSM.  

  1. Select the "Quick Launcher" icon and you will get a Quick Launcher settings windowl on the right side of the screen. 
  2. An editor will come up where you can edit the name of the button, the color and specify the executable to run.
  3. When you are finished, click on "Save"
This pretty much covers the Intel vPro Platform Solution Manager tool.  Go ahead and download it from the link above in the introduction and try it out.


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