OpenMDTK - Update v0.76

From time to time I update the open source Management Developer Tools Kit (Open MDTK). It's a set of tools for trying out, developing and learning about Intel AMT. I just released an update today (v0.76) with a few fixed, one of the biggest changes to this version is the removal of the SwitchBox feature since it's been superseded by the work on Mesh. I want to take this opportunity to talk about what Switchbox was, and how Mesh is much more powerful. In a way, Switchbox was the lead up to the mesh work.

It's always been interesting to look at being able to manage your computers from anywhere... Many years ago, a co-worker (Sandeep) and I worked on the idea of a light-weight "presence server". I small application that you could run on a PC or even on a Linksys router or embedded Linux device. This small server would be always on, reliable and provide continuous network presence. It would monitor Intel AMT computers, even when sleeping and allow outside-in management. You would have to punch a port in your router for inbound traffic, but that single port would give you access to Switchbox and with it, management access to all your PC's. Well, it was a good idea. In general, having a presence server for monitoring sleeping PC's and helping in tasks like IDE-R redirection, etc. is great. But setting it all up with a big problem. You needed a dedicated device, you needed to change your router settings, etc. Just too much work for most.

Enter the work on Mesh. Basically, it's the same thing but every node is a presence server when it's on. Each active node monitors a bunch of other nodes and you create a monitoring web. Another thing that was not present a few years back and is not pretty big, it the power of the web and we sure make use of it. With the mesh work and, you just install the mesh agent on a few PC's on a network and you don't ever have to worry about anything else. You go to the web site or log in from anywhere using Commander and you manage your PC's.

With this OpenMDTK, I have mesh support into the Commander tool. You can automatically discover your PC's on the local network (takes a few seconds at most), have a distributed password repository or you can remotely manage your PC's over the Internet. People who run Commander Mesh Edition should get the notice for the new version and are one click away from full automatic update.




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