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Intel announces VPro brand

Intel announces the details of its new desktop brand, which will combine its virtualisation and active management technologies.

Intel has announced the details of its new desktop brand, which will combine its virtualisation and active management technologies.

Named ‘VPro’ and based around the Conroe 64-bit dual-core processor, the desktop is aimed at the high end of the market and will be introduced in the second half of the year.

The desktop utilises Intel’s Active Management Technology (AMT), which allows IT managers to isolate, repair and restore PCs to the network remotely, as well as its Virtualisation Technology (VT). Intel VT will be integrated into the dual-core processor while the next-generation Intel AMT will be integrated into the new platform chipset.

David Rogers, digital office and professional platform marketing manager for Intel in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said: “What you’re getting with VPro, and VPro offers to these organisations, is an opportunity to reduce the manpower overhead of maintaining these IT networks and enabling that resource to be used for network innovation.

“There are companies in the Middle East with already highly constrained resources and probably barely able to keep up with the maintenance of the infrastructure they’ve got already.”

Alternatively, he added: “You may very well have customers in the region who say ‘We’ve got the money, we don’t want to invest in the IT management ourselves, let’s give it to an outsourcer.’.”

“AMT allows a PC, whether on or off, to be audited, repaired and for the IT manager to securely wake and update systems,” said Pat Gelsinger, senior VP, general manager, digital enterprise group Intel.

“We can now put filters directly into the PC to detect anomalous behaviour in that PC. As soon as it’s identified, it says, ‘Take me off the network’. Using out of band network you can deal with it and reconnect to the network without an expensive deskside visit.”

VT enables IT managers to create partitions on the network to restrict access to different areas to particular users. For example, an IT manager could arrange for announcements on security updates to occur in a partition administered by them, so that users would not have to worry about installing them. Partitions could also be used to give a user access only to the applications they need to carry out their job and withhold access from any applications that could damage the business if used improperly.

“It basically provides you user space,” said Rogers. “You do your stuff, but IT management have an environment which you as the user can’t access.”

He added that the partitions would also run independently of each other. For example, if one partition were to be used to administer VOIP calls, a call made using it would be uninterrupted even if the user’s PC were to crash.

Speaking at the launch event, Brian Gammage, VP and distinguished analyst, client computing, Gartner said that PC manufacturers needed to do something to resolve the conflict between the needs of users, who may want to use their own applications on their desktops, and the needs of an organisation.

“In your personal life, IT is empowering you to do things you’ve never done before,” he said. “But the IT department relies on standardisation and fixed configurations.”

Gammage suggested that virtualisation, which can create partitions within a network, might be the way to solve this. “It’s important to be able to draw a line between what’s yours and what’s theirs,” he said.

He added that virtualisation would be very memory-intensive and developers had not yet agreed on how the licensing model would work.

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