2 Nov 2009

2 Nov 2009

Intel’s Active Management Technology {AMT} provides KVM access & console access eliminating the need for external KVMs or console servers?

By:

Category: Uncategorized

There has been a lot of talk in the industry on how Intels new onboard AMT could replace service processors, such as; ILO, DRAC, RSA & ILOM.

http://sof​tware.inte​l.com/en-u​s/blogs/20​09/10/18/i​ntel-kvm-t​his-is-you​r-sol-on-s​teroids/

According to the Blog the local user has to allow the remote user in so I’m not sure this is a valid KVM or ILO replacement as much as a replacement for desktop tools like PCAnywhere & GoToMyPC?

If Intel does have a strategy to lead server remote access & control with AMT, I don’t believe it will work. 1st of all, I’d like to point out AMT is an Intel product so it isn’t an open standard for a management console. What about those who are buying AMD Opteron processors and/or Sun UltraSparc?

Secondly an open standard for server managment is already well underway from 1998 with IPMI & I think we need to look at what has transpired with IPMI to see what if any support will be given to AMT at the server level. IPMI was originally proposed in 1998 and driven by market leaders Intel, Dell, HP and NEC. Since then IPMI has been adopted by more than 150 other companies, including IBM, Sun, and every major server platform vendor. IPMI is now on its third major release. A significant percentage of rackoptimized servers and most blade computing platforms now include some form of built-in server processor technology that can work with IPMI. Obviously, IPMI data from across the enterprise can only be useful if management teams can view it from a common console. Otherwise, it would offer no advantages over a fragmented, vendor-specific management architecture. Thus, to take full advantage of IPMI, management teams need a solution that 1) delivers aggregated IPMI data to a single application, and 2) supports the IPMI implementations of different vendors.

This second point is critical. While most server vendors include the IPMI protocol in their platforms, they often hide it behind proprietary software/firmware extensions and/or bundled management solutions. An effective server management solution must be able to handle these variations in IPMI implementation in order to provide a unified view into the computing environment. My point is if AMT is to be successful like IPMI the Server OEM’s are going to build their own management tools around it to differentiate themselves. Then there will also be 3rd party vendors that build central management tools to centralize access to the different Server OEM’s tools that leverage AMT just as there was for IPMI. However, I’m not sure I see all of this happening for AMT because it is proprietary to Intel. IPMI is already included on most systems for these system mangement & diagnostic purposes. The Server OEM’s have invested heavily in tools like ILO, DRAC, RSA & ILOM to take advantage of the IPMI chipset. Unlike AMT, IPMI is independent of the CPU and thus independent of a CPU chip failure and can be run on most systems out of band on a separate NIC. Although a few years old. Here is a good whitepaper that covers the development of IPMI and what has occured with its development.

http://www.avocent.de/web/de.nsf/AttachmentsByTitle/IPMI+WP_5+Reasons+to+Cap_0406.pdf/$FILE/IPMI+WP_5+Reasons+to+Cap_0406.pdf