Storage Informer
Storage Informer

based tools?

by on May.20, 2009, under Storage

Intel® AMT Remote Diagnosis/Re-Imaging. Are we stuck with text-based tools?

The answer is "No." 

One of the more common topics on our Manageability Forum is SOL/IDE-R (Serial-Over-LAN and IDE-Redirect.)  SOL and IDE-R are features that are normally used in the "Diagnosis and Repair" Use Cases in order to remotely load an OS with a diagnostic utility onto an Intel AMT client that is in need of repair.

There are two options for diagnosis tools/methods that can be used depending on how a Software Vendor wishes to implement this Use Case:

  1. An implementation using both SOL and IDE-R
  2. An implementation using only IDE-R

For the method using SOL along with IDER, one must keep in mind that the diagnostic tool must be text based, as SOL does not support graphics and so if the image that is being used to load the OS and the Diagnostic Utility has a graphical interface, the information will not appear on the SOL terminal screen.  So an implementation using option 1 must be text-based .  The rest of this blog will focus on Option 2 and what is needed to bypass the text-based solution.

Since Diagnostic Utilities that have a graphical interface tend to have more options than text-based tools, a Software Vendor might wish to bypass SOL and just use the IDE-R feature.   If this is the case we must use IDE-R to load a diagnostic OS which includes a graphics based tool for remote control.  VNC, which is an open-source remote terminal application, seems to be a pretty good method.

Bart&aposs PE builder is a tool that has been discovered by many IT shops because it has great utilities and a VNC plug-in for remote control in Pre-installation Environment (PE) OS&aposs; Bart&aposs PE builderprovides guidance on building a "Bart PE" boot-able Windows image from a Windows XP setup CD.  

  • Another option is to  build an image based solution for Windows PE but this would require getting an alternative VNC plug-in. The vPro Expert Center has a link describing this process.  

Finally, once the BartPE based ISO image is loaded using IDE-R and the AMT client is remotely connected to it via a VNC client, a Diagnostic Utility with a graphical interface  can be used or if re-imaging the main hard disk is what is necessary,  an imaging tool can be used for that purpose. The most common imaging tools are Ghost and Win PE (which uses an imaging application called ImageX).   Include one of those imaging applications in the PE image, if re-imaging is necessary.  Re-imaging the hard disk does require  a standardized OS image pre-staged for all PCs in your network; heavy interactions with PCs cannot be done over the internet.  Alternatively, there could be an image pre-staged in the network for each PC – the IT administrator would need to know which one goes with which PC.

A note for Notebook devices: the above options only work on the wired interface, the wireless interface will not work in this case.


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