The latest version of Intel's vPro technology for desktops, formerly code-named McCreary, adds new management and security features that should make it easier for IT managers to fix and monitor a fleet of corporate desktops. Intel is also enhancing vPro with a new feature called Dynamic Virtual Client, which will allow various virtualization technologies to work with and take advantage of Intel's vPro features.
is sprucing up its vPro management and security technology
desktops by adding new features, including allowing PCs to "call" an
IT administrator for help. Intel
is also working with partners and ISVs to
improve the ability to create a virtual desktop infrastructure by using vPro
announced the latest enhancements to its vPro Technology platform
Sept. 22 event. The latest version of Intel's vPro Technology-formerly code-named
McCreary-includes support for Intel's
newer dual- and quad-core Core 2 desktop processors.
There is also a new
chip set-the Intel Q45 Express-and the 82567LM Gigabit Network Connection.
technology, which Intel first introduced for desktops in 2006 and
then for laptops in 2007, is essentially a chip bundle designed to make it
easier for IT departments to manage and secure a large corporate fleet of PCs.
Intel has been partnering with companies such as Symantec and LANDesk to
provide the security and desktop management software.
updates Intel announced around vPro represent another incremental step as the
chip giant looks to convince more of its customers
to begin using the
technology that has been included with their corporate desktops. Roger Kay, an
analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates, said he believes that
enterprises will need about 25 percent of the fleet to have Intel vPro installed
on the desktops before it makes economic sense to invest in the management
"My sense now is that there are a slightly higher proportion of
enterprises that have met the [vPro] criteria and Intel is starting to get some
adoption," Kay said.
At the same time, Intel is hoping that by adding more features it can entice
its customers to look at and invest in the vPro Technology platform.
The features that Intel introduced Sept. 22 include the ability for the IT
department to connect with and fix a PC whether the desktop or notebook is
inside or outside the corporate firewall. The new set of technologies also
allows an administrator to contact the PC whether the machine is fully
functioning or if it has been damaged and the operating system is no longer
working or has been crippled.
Within this out-of-band technology, Intel has added two features. The first
is Remote Alert, which allows a PC to call the IT department on its own without
notifying the user first. The second is Remote Scheduled Maintenance, which
allows the IT manager to schedule maintenances checkups automatically.
In addition, Intel has added a tool called Access Monitor, which keeps a log
of activities within an individual PC and can also identify and stop a virus or
malware. Intel is also adding support for Microsoft's NAP
(Network Access Protection), which helps determine the health of PC attached to
the network. vPro also supports Cisco Systems' NAC (Network Admission Control).
The fact that Intel is offering its own desktop and laptops management does
not mean that it's the only choice IT departments have if they decide they need
this level of protection. For its part, Advanced
Micro Devices, which just released its first complete desktop platform earlier in
2008, is supporting and pushing DASH
(desktop and mobile architecture for
system hardware) standards as a better and more open way to secure PCs.
While Intel's vPro is proprietary, the company also supports DASH as well.
However, Intel is looking ahead toward a future where more and more
companies might decide to create and invest in a virtual desktop
of the companies that are pushing the VDI model include VMware, Citrix Systems and
To that end, Intel also introduced a program called Dynamic Virtual Client.
This allows Intel to work with ISVs and other virtualization providers to offer
a way for a VDI environment to work with and take advantage of vPro Technology
features such as Active Management Technology and Trusted Execution Technology.
The Dynamic Virtual Client technology works as an application delivery
system. The technology creates a secure container that can deliver the
operating system and application to a client, while allowing the IT department to
control the data from a central location.
For example, Intel vPro will work with Microsoft's Application
Virtualization v4.5-formerly SoftGrid-to allow for remote waking and updating
of a client with the virtual application cached within the client's drive. This
allows IT to push an update without notifying the user and saves power by
allowing for a central way to wake up and shut down PCs.
"The world is rapidly turning into a mix of real and virtual systems,"
Kay said. "One adaptation of vPro is to handle the virtual world better.
When vPro was first introduced two years ago, virtualization for the desktop
was still pretty rare. In order to adapt, Intel has to work with the virtual
versions of things. With whatever client session is going on, some subset of
vPro has to work with this [VDI] and allow it to come up on a console."
Finally, Intel is also moving toward making vPro
available for small and midsize businesses with 25 or fewer PCs. For SMBs,
Intel is providing Remote PC Assist Technology, which helps a business connect
with a service provider that will use the out-of-band technology to monitor and
update that business' desktop and notebooks.