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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Intel Releases New Generation of vPro

Intel Releases New Generation of vPro

Intel's vPro platform is part of the company's quest to offer products that are differentiated by features other than raw performance, said Mark Margevicius, research director at Gartner. Margevicius said he expects wider acceptance of this version of vPro because the previous version of vPro was "not opened to the standards bodies."

Emphasizing security and enterprise management, Intel released a new version of its vPro technology. The company said that the latest vPro, which was formerly codenamed Weybridge, will "add better protection against hacking, viruses, and other threats" and help improve large-scale enterprise administration and power management.
For instance, Intel's newest version of its Active Management Technology lets a supervisor repair vPro PCs "out of band" by talking directly to the hardware , even if the PC is off, the hard drive is dead, and the OS has crashed.

In addition, the new version of vPro gives I.T. admins the ability to increase power savings by remotely turning off machines. Intel maintains that the systems can achieve a 30 percent greater performance at lower power levels than the previous vPro generation.

TXT, 'Embedded Trust Agent'

To address different kinds of security threats associated with virtualization, vPro technology includes Intel's TXT, or Trusted Execution Technology. Formerly codenamed LaGrande, TXT is designed to help secure data by ensuring "that virtual machine monitors are less vulnerable to attacks that cannot be detected by today's conventional software -security solutions."

In particular, TXT is designed to keep data in one OS secure from attacks coming from another OS. Additionally, vPro has what the Santa Clara, California-based company said amounts to improved system defense filters to identify a wide variety of threats.

One of the new features, an "embedded trust agent," has been developed in conjunction with Cisco to provide what Intel called "the industry's only 802.1x compatible manageability solution not dependent on OS-availability." It enables Cisco customers to manage their systems, even if off or with the OS down, without reducing security.

Other Than Performance

The vPro platform is part of Intel's quest to offer products that are differentiated by features other than raw performance, said Mark Margevicius, research director at Gartner . He pointed out that the differentiators highlighted by vPro include power savings, better management capabilities, and better security.

Margevicius said he expects a wider acceptance of this second generation of vPro than the first because the previous version was "not opened to the standards bodies." Proprietary is "not necessarily bad," he said, but customers have become used to at least some open standards in PCs. It was a primary reason that Dell did not introduce products using first-generation vPro, he added.

This new release, he noted, is designed to comply with DASH 1.0 draft interoperability specifications from a standards body, the Distributed Management Task Force, and Dell is now releasing vPro-based products. Customers want to "simplify I.T.," Dell vice president Vivek Mohindra said in a statement. With the vPro processor technology, he said, "I.T. professionals can focus on innovation rather than system maintenance."

In addition to Dell jumping on board, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo are releasing vPro PCs.

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