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Developing innovative manageability applications for Intel® vPro™ Processor Technology and Intel® Centrino® Pro Processor Technology

, 15 Oct 2007
How software developers can take advantage of development tools/APIs provided by Intel to support the software development efforts for Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT), a component of Intel® vPro™ Processor Technology and Intel® Centrino® Pro Processor Technology

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Introduction

Today, a large percentage of all IT spending is directed at operational expenses, many associated with trying to keep pace with challenges such as reduced downtime, increased malicious attacks, accurate inventories, etc. IT managers rely primarily on software-only solutions to provide the functionality necessary to manage their desktop PC fleet in hopes of driving down these operational costs. Yet these software-only solutions have limitations. Most notably, these solutions require the operating system to be up and running, resulting in significant limitations to the effectiveness of these solutions.

Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT), a key component of Intel® vPro™ Processor Technology and Intel® Centrino® Pro Processor Technology introduces hardware- and software-based capabilities to the Intel platforms to address the above limitations.

Intel AMT is a silicon-resident management mechanism for remote discovery, healing and protection of computing systems. It provides the basis for software solutions to address key manageability issues, improving the efficiency of remote management and asset inventory functionality in third-party management software, safeguarding functionality of critical agents from operating-system (OS) failure, power loss, and intentional or inadvertent client removal. With Intel AMT, end users get the benefits of better manageability and security through:

  • Management of all hardware and software computing assets
  • More accurate and easier inventories
  • Less costly and easier remote repairs
  • Creating a More Secure environment
  • Quicker detection and containment of virus activity
  • Faster and less intrusive out-of-band security patches
  • More tamper-resistant virus protection

Developing System Management, Security Applications That Take Advantage of Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT)

Intel provides software developers with excellent support to take advantage of the next-generation manageability capabilities of Intel AMT.

Intel AMT SDK: Software Development Kit – This kit provides sample code and all the APIs needed for implementing Intel AMT. The SDK contains all the low-level programming capabilities and documentations to enable developers to build manageability applications that take full advantage of Intel AMT. Intel AMT DTK uses the APIs provided in the SDK. Use the most recent release of the SDK to integrate Intel AMT into your application.

Intel AMT DTK: Developer's Tool Kit - This is a "solution" written in C# on Windows. Since the Source Code is also available, it can also be used as "example code." Use this to get a great idea of how Intel AMT works. It can also be used it to verify Intel AMT features.

Intel AMT SCS: Setup and Configuration Service automates the task of populating Intel AMT platforms with credentials and parameters that enable them to be administered remotely.

This article provides an overview of each of these tool sets, including its value in the development process, a high-level description of what is included, and where to go to learn more.

SDK Supports Low-Level Intel AMT Programming Functionality

The Intel AMT SDK provides application programming interfaces (APIs) and sample code that enable developers to implement Intel AMT functionality in solutions built to run on either Microsoft Windows* or Linux*. This combination allows software developers to rapidly become familiar with the requirements of programming for Intel AMT, as well as to bring robust next-generation network-management solutions to market.

The SDK's libraries and APIs provide abstraction of calls to the nonvolatile storage that houses Intel AMT data, as well as enabling remote management of Intel AMT devices by means of Serial-over-LAN and IDE-Redirection sessions. This abstraction allows developers to easily implement key Intel AMT functionality without having to create it from scratch. Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)-based Intel AMT network interfaces are provided in the SDK in the form of Web Services Description Language (WSDL) files. Sample code is also included that helps guide software developers in writing their own Intel AMT applications. The SDK can be implemented in any language that includes a SOAP stack.

SCS Connects Intel AMT Devices into Enterprise Infrastructure

Intel AMT SCS provides the means for IT organizations to connect Intel AMT devices to the managed enterprise. Software makers can readily implement this functionality within their products using tools provided by Intel SCS to add value to their customers, thereby potentially gaining a competitive advantage for their products.

Core functionality of Intel SCS is provided by a Windows service that communicates with Intel AMT devices by means of a SOAP API. It populates them with passwords and other credentials that enable them to communicate with management applications. It uses a SQL Server* database (which must be installed separately from Intel SCS) to store configuration data, stored procedures, and logs associated with system operations. A sample console application is also provided, including full source code that can be freely modified by software companies in their products. This console application provides developers both with a reference application for use in creating their own consoles or as a base application that they can use to add value-added features.

Intel AMT Developer Tool Kit (DTK)

The Intel AMT DTK complements the SDK with three interrelated components. The first of these, the Commander Console Tool, is a sample Intel AMT console to discover and manage business PCs. The second component, the Outpost Agent Tool, is a sample software agent that runs on an Intel AMT-enabled business PC. The third component, the Network Status Tool, can determine whether a selected network interface is up or down, which is useful for demonstrations of network policies and filters.

The DTK is written in C# for use on machines running Windows. It is actively maintained by Intel to add new features on a regular basis, as well as to support the latest capabilities of Intel AMT as they are introduced. The source code is freely available, providing a head start for developers to incorporate Intel AMT functionality into their applications. It also provides a readily accessible means of seeing how new Intel AMT features work from the developer's perspective.

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About the Author

Ajay Mungara

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Ajay Mungara is the Manageability Developer Community Manager in the Software Solutions Group at Intel. He joined Intel in 1998 and has held various technical architecture, management and leadership positions across Intel's business. He likes to make sense of complex technology and make it easy to solve real business problems. He has earned an engineering degree in computer science and an M.S degree in Management. Ajay is a constant learner, cyclist, hiker, chef, rookie investor, avid reader, and a wine drinking party guy.

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