By Scott Ferguson  |  Posted 2007-08-25 Print this article Print

(Just before the vPro launch this week, a spokesperson for Symantec admitted that its Virtual Security Solution for vPro, which integrates the companys NIPS (Network Intrusion Prevention Security) engine with Intels virtualization technology, does not yet have an official shipping date.)

"From Intels perspective, they dont want to get into the application side of it," Kay said. "They want to get the application vendors to come in and let them work on top of the platform … Security is a layered concept."
In a demonstration for journalists and analysts, Bryant said part of the purpose of vPro is to provide the hardware hooks for third-party vendors and ISVs to build applications for a host of issues, such as security and enterprise-wide PC management.
In addition to the other security features, Intel is offering what it calls TXT or Trusted Execution Technology in the updated vPro platform. Those who have followed Intels technology developments will recognize TXT as the final realization of its "LaGrande" initiative. TXT works with TPMs (Trusted Platform Modules) 1.2 and performs several different functions. One of these is to allow software to boot into a known, trusted state. With the help of virtualization, TXT can also isolate applications within a memory partition and isolate that application within the hardware. This feature means that no additional hardware or software can access a particular application. TXT will also remove data from the cache when the virtual machine shuts down, which ensures an additional defense against snooping software. Besides TXT, Intel has also included a new virtualization feature dubbed Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O, which will help reinforce the isolation between virtual machines on the desktop by restricting memory access. At the same demonstration where Bryant spoke, representatives with General Dynamics, one of the countrys largest defense contractors, showed off a workstation running the Microsoft Windows operating system in two separate virtual environments within the same machine. The hardening between the partitions was strong enough for government workers to run applications using classified and unclassified data on the same machine, said Mike Maschino, a security architect with General Dynamics. In addition to the security features, Intel executives are touting the additional performance of the new vPro platform, specifically a 30 percent boost with the addition of the Core 2 Duo E6550 processor compared to the older Core 2 Duo E6300 chip. The E6550 is clocked at 2.33GHz and has 4MB of L2 cache and a 1333MHz FSB (front side bus). Intel is also offering two other processors with even faster clock speeds, the E6750, which has a clock speed of 2.66GHz and the E6850, which runs at 3GHz. Click here to read more about Intel and WiMax. By next year, Intel plans to introduce several quad-core processors for the vPro platform as well. In terms of power, the processor being used with the vPro platform use the same 65-watt TDP—an Intel term that refers to how much heat a chip has to dissipate—as the older platform. One of the drawbacks to vPro is that all the new features are hardware-based and users will have to buy new PCs to take advantage of the platform and its updated capabilities. At least three of the larger PC vendors will be offering new systems that support vPro right away. Dell will roll out a new desktop, the Optiplex 755, which will offer the vPro platform as well as several other Intel-based options, including just the use of Intels latest AMT. The Round Rock, Texas, PC vendor had previously offered the vPro platform in its Optiplex 745c desktop. In addition, Hewlett-Packard will include the new version of vPro when the company refreshes its Compaq dc7000 line of high-end, enterprise desktops in the next few months. Finally, Lenovo will offer the 2007 version of vPro with its ThinkCenter M57P desktop, which will eventually replace the M55P, a desktop that used the original vPro platform. Lenovo is now also offering the vPro platform with its ThinkPad T61 laptop, which uses the Centrino Platform. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing.


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