Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft

Intel's Wired for Management - Part II

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Date:          Mon, 1 Feb 1999 18:32:10 -0600
From:          "Richard Hornbeck" <>
Subject:       Intel's Wired for Management - Part II
To:            <>

The following are excerpts from Intel's marketing material on its
Wired for Management program Web site, According to its Case
Study page, WfM technology has already been piloted in several large
organizations in the U.S. and Japan, such as Prudential HealthCare.


You don't have to tell IT managers what they already know. Managing
PCs is a complex business-in most cases, too complex. Industry
analysts tag the average annual cost to maintain and operate a
PC-called total cost of ownership or TCO-between $2,000 and $10,000.
While proprietary management tools work well in homogeneous
environments, the hodge-podge of systems in most businesses defies
management. Even if IT shops are able to enforce disciplined
client-server purchasing, it can take years to flush non-compliant
hardware out of the inventory. In the meantime, businesses face
spiraling costs as IT departments struggle with incomplete or
incompatible solutions and labor-intensive procedures.

How do you avoid management snarls in such an environment? If you're
Intel, you work on crafting open industry specifications to ensure
interoperability between clients and management applications-the Wired
for Management (WfM) baseline specification. Equipped with WfM-based
solutions, organizations can reduce the considerable cost of
continuously managing, upgrading and repairing today's sophisticated
servers, desktop computers and mobile PCs.

What Is WfM? Wired for Management can be defined by its four key
capabilities: (1) instrumentation; (2) Universal Network Boot (also
known as Preboot Execution Environment (PXE)); (3) remote wake-up; and
(4) power management. These capabilities are implemented via
technologies that reside in the computer's hardware, non-volatile
memory, disk drive and network interface card (NIC).

Understanding where these four capabilities reside can be important to
anyone who purchases, manages or services WfM-enabled computers. If
you replace a component that provides WfM support (such as a network
interface card, power supply, or hard drive) with one that lacks WfM
capability, you may inadvertently disable the Wired for Management
functionality in the system.

Instrumentation is the software code that reports on hardware and
software components of a system and its management features and
capabilities. The Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) technology makes
it possible to configure or reconfigure a system remotely, even with a
blank hard disk drive. The computer system has a universal service
agent loaded locally in the BIOS. This agent allows the system to
interact with a remote server to dynamically retrieve the requested
boot image across the network, making it possible to install the
operating system and user configuration of a new system without a
technician  present. As a result, an organization's IT department can
save on human labor,  the most expensive element of support costs, and
get new or transferred  employees set up and productive more quickly.
The protected Preboot Execution Environment specified by the Wired for
Management Baseline 2.0 adds tamper resistance to the basic PXE
feature set, as well as providing explicit support for the more
dynamic, mobile environment of CardBus.

Cast a Broad Net

Clearly no one company can walk in and solve the thorny TCO problem.
Rather, it has taken the sustained efforts of hundreds of vendors to
create the resources to affordably manage networked PCs. Hardware and
software vendors are delivering these resources, offering everything
from hardware-level instrumentation to a wide range of management
software. Taken together, these WfM-based products and services offer
an end-to-end solution that helps IT managers contain PC support costs
while serving users better.

The Wired for Management baseline specification provides a common
target for software and hardware developers. The specification covers
the range of personal computing platforms, from network and Web
servers to desktop and notebook clients.

>From an IT perspective, WfM's centralized management scheme has broad
appeal. Network managers are able to remotely collect system information, perform off-hours software distribution, and simplify new system setup. That means no more schlepping around the office with a handful of CD-ROMs during weekends and evenings, conducting physical installations and inventory. Software upgrades can be broadcast over the network overnight, for example, or client-side inventories can be conducted automatically once a week without human intervention.

To realize these benefits, IT managers must specify WfM-enabled hardware and WfM-compatible software for their enterprise. Software developers such as Computer Associates, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, ON Technology, PLATINUM technology and Tivoli Systems have updated their management applications to take advantage of WfM technologies. On the hardware side, OEMs such as Compaq, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Toshiba are using the WfM foundation to engineer hardware-level manageability features into their products. Best of all, WfM solutions are interoperable, so you can match the hardware with the management applications you want. Already, many WfM-enabled desktop and mobile systems based on Pentium(r) II processors are available, offering a full spectrum of performance.

Wired for Management offers a clear benefit for IT professionals struggling to remotely manage systems on the network. Remote configuration via PXE and remote wake-up capability means less technician overtime for off-hours upgrades. At the same time, the ability of IT departments to track and manage resources is vastly enhanced by the reporting functions of WfM instrumentation working hand-in-hand with DMI 2.0 technology. The result: IT professionals spend more time managing and less time walking from station to station.