At a small event here in rainy San Francisco, Intel executives showed off the 2010 version of the company's vPro platform, designed to add user benefits to vPro's traditional management and security features.
At a small event here in rainy San Francisco, Intel executives showed off the 2010 version of the company's vPro platform, designed to add user benefits to vPro's traditional management and security features.The new vPro capabilities, built into some of Intel's new Core i5 and Core i7 processors and associated chip sets, include AES-NI (Advanced Encryption Standard - New Instructions), KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) remote control, Anti-theft technology 2.0, and Aternity Frontline Performance Management.
According to Brian Tucker, Intel's director of marketing for business client platforms, which includes businesses of all sizes, many of these new features will be enabled by software companies and managed service providers (MSPs) for easy adoption by SMBs.
Intel's demo of AES-NI compared encryption performance on a 3-year-old Lenovo T60- laptop (coincidentally, the very same model we use here at InformationWeek SMB world headquarters) with a brand new Lenovo T410 with a vPro-equipped Core i5 chip. The six "new instructions" that AES-NI puts on the chip instead of in software made encrypting an 800MB file about twice as fast on the machine (15 seconds vs. 30 seconds). As encryption becomes increasingly common, Tucker said, AES-NI "helps mitigate the encryption overhead" so the user experience doesn't suffer in the name of security.
KVM remote control brings a "deeper" remote control capability to vPro, which doesn't require an operating system to take over a remote PC. That means it can help recover from "blue screen of death" crashes and maintain control during multiple reboots -- even if the hard drive fails. IT personnel can use KVM remote control reboot using any boot image they like.
This machine remained under remote control even after rebooting from a blue screen of death.
In addition, KVM remote control can use Aternity Frontline Performance Intelligence (FPI) platform to analyze and manage the performance of the remote PC, not just fix broken machines.
Using vPro, IT personnel can remotely analyze and manage performance.
Anti-theft tecnhology 2.0 -- or "anti-theft as a service" -- improves on vPro's previous ability to send a "kill pill" to shut down and lock up a stolen laptop by making it possible to recover the data if the machine is recovered.
Intel's Turbo technology, meanwhile, isn't strictly part of vPro, but is designed to boost performance by shutting down unused cores in the chip to "borrow it's thermal capacity" and speed up the first core. In the demo, a 2.57 GHz approached 3.0 GHz on typical business tasks using single-threaded software.
This machine is using Turbo Boost to run at faster-than-listed processor speeds.
Machines using vPro 2010 are just hitting the streets now, Tucker said, adding that Intel plans to release more details of the new vPro platform in early February.
According to Tucker, vPro adds $15 - $20 to the street price cost of a computer, but easily earns back that sum in lowered total cost of ownership via easier management and improved security. He said that vPro-equipped desktops start at around $600, while laptops being at about $1,000.
Tucker couldn't give figure on SMB adoption of vPro, but claimed that smaller companies are buying vPro machines in signficant numbers.
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