Altiris engineers are always working with technology leaders to make sure our products take full advantage of the newest and most innovative technologies as they are released.
Here's some info on "Out of Band Management", a technology that's quickly coming of age and will surely impact the future of IT systems management.
Altiris has a many 'solutions' that help a customer through the IT systems 'lifecycle' of a computer. Everything from bare metal deployment, imaging, configuration, software/hardware inventory, software packaging/delivery, patching, disaster backup and recovery, security audits, asset tracking, license harvesting, etc
These different solutions plug into a Notification Server (the NS) and all share a SQL based CMDB (configuration management database). Extensive reports and 'notification policies' are prepackaged with the solutions and can easily be added to meet the users' needs.
Most of these solutions require that an agent exist on the managed system and be in-band, meaning that the OS be running properly. Many of these solutions support multiple operating systems including Windows, Lunix, Unix and MAC. Some Altiris solutions allow for 'agentless' abilities using standard in-band technologies like WMI.
Out of Band Management
Out of Band Management (OOB) abilities are only possible when a system comes with support from the 'hardware' that the Altiris management console can directly communicate with; examples include a Intel or Broadcom NIC (network interface card) that support ASF. Capabilities that have traditionally been seen in servers (out of band) are then capable on client systems like doing a power management command, or receiving a heartbeat from the system even when it is turned off.
Over the last few years Intel has been architecting technologies that provide a number of 'advanced' abilities beyond what ASF provides. These 'hardware' level technologies are all part of a new platform called Intel vPro technology that is releasing into the market in September 2006. All of the major OEM's are supporting the new Intel platform and will be releasing systems with 'vPro' support.
Altiris Solutions with ASF/AMT support
A number of Altiris solutions are starting to take advantage of these out of band capabilities to help bring extra value to customers. Going forward there will continue to be additional solutions that will take advantage of OOB management.
The following is a list of the Altiris solutions that currently have OOB management support and a short description of what the OOB feature provides.
- Network Discovery Component – Network Discovery has the ability to discovery ASF and AMT provisioned systems given the correct credentials. On discovery of the systems, they are added into the Altiris CMDB and if the system is AMT a hardware inventory is retrieved from the NVRAM (Non-Volatile Memory)
- Out of Band Management Component – This component ships with the Altiris hardware management solutions; HP Client Manager, Dell Client Manager and Fujitsu Siemens Computers’ Deskview. It will also be made available for download as a stand alone 'free' component. Functionality includes collection based ASF/AMT alerting, configuration and power management. It also includes AMT hardware management and includes a number of ASF/AMT reports. This component is dependent on the SNMP Connector to receive the OOB alerts and the Task Server in order to do the OOB 'features' mentioned above.
- Real Time System Manager – RTSM is a Servicedesk incident management solution that allows for a number of in-band and out-of-band abilities. OOB abilities include alerts (ASF/AMT), event log (AMT), hardware inventory (AMT), NVRAM data (AMT), power management (ASF/AMT), Remote Diagnosis and Repair (AMT SOL and IDER), System Defense (AMT) and Agent Presence (AMT).