image Hi and welcome to our new Out of Band Management support team blog!  If you've been following our Configuration Manager support team blog then you've probably already seen a couple posts on AMT and OOB but due to the increasing popularity of this subject we've decided to branch off and start a new blog dedicated solely to using OOB/AMT in SCCM 2007 SP1 and later.  Look for a lot of new stuff on AMT and OOB right here very soon.

Now first off, if you're not familiar with AMT and OOB then you're probably wondering what all the fuss is about so let me give a brief overview of what this is.  I can't take all of the credit for what follows since I stole most of it from our TechNet site but why try to improve upon the great job they've already done?

Out of band management in Configuration Manager 2007 provides powerful management control for computers that have the Intel vPro chip set and a version of the Intel Active Management Technology (Intel AMT) that is supported by Configuration Manager. For more information about supported AMT versions, see Configuration Manager 2007 SP1 Supported Configurations and Configuration Manager 2007 SP2 Supported Configurations.

Note: The information here applies only to Configuration Manager 2007 SP1 and later.

Out of band management allows an administrator to connect to a computer's management controller when the computer is turned off, in sleep or hibernate modes, or otherwise unresponsive through the operating system. By way of contrast, in-band management is the classic approach used by Configuration Manager and its predecessors whereby an agent runs in the full operating system on the managed computer and the management controller accomplishes tasks by communicating with the management agent.

Out of band management supplements in-band management. While in-band management supports a wider range of operations because its environment is the full operating system, in-band management might not be functional if the operating system is not present or is not operational. In these situations, the supplementary capabilities of out of band management allow administrators to manage these computers without requiring local access to the computer.

Out of band management tasks include the following:

  • Powering on one or many computers (for example, for maintenance on computers outside business hours).
  • Powering off one or many computers (for example, the operating system stops responding).
  • Restarting a nonfunctioning computer or booting from a locally connected device or known good boot image file.
  • Re-imaging a computer by booting from a boot image file that is located on the network or by using a PXE server.
  • Reconfiguring the BIOS settings on a selected computer (and bypassing the BIOS password if this is supported by the BIOS manufacturer).
  • Booting to a command-based operating system to run commands, repair utilities, or diagnostic applications (for example, upgrading the firmware or running a disk repair utility).
  • Configuring scheduled software update deployments and advertisements to wake up computers prior to running.

If you are using Configuration Manager 2007 SP1, these out of band management tasks are natively supported on an unauthenticated, wired connection. However, with Configuration Manager 2007 SP2 and later, they are also supported on an authenticated 802.1X wired connection and wireless connection. Configuration Manager 2007 SP2 also has the following additional features:

  • Auditing for selected AMT features.
  • Support for different power states, to help conserve power consumption and adherence to IT policy.
  • Data storage in AMT, where up to 4096 bytes in ASCII characters can be saved in the nonvolatile random access memory (NVRAM) of the management controller.

For example scenarios of how out of band management can be used, see Example Scenarios for Using Out of Band Management.

Some of the preceding tasks are performed from the Configuration Manager console, while others require running the out of band management console that is supplied with Configuration Manager 2007 SP1 and later. Out of band management uses Windows remote management technology (WS-MAN) to connect to the management controller on a computer.

Note: Out of band management is not supported for clients that are managed over the Internet with Internet-based client management. Additionally, Configuration Manager clients that are blocked by a Configuration Manager 2007 SP1 site continue to accept out of band management communication. Configuration Manager clients that are blocked by a Configuration Manager 2007 SP2 site cannot be managed out of band.

For more in-depth information about using Out of Band management in Configuration Manager 2007 SP1 and later, see the following TechNet documentation:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc161963.aspx

Again, welcome to our new site.  I hope you find the things we discuss helpful and if you have any requests just let us know.

J.C. Hornbeck | System Center Knowledge Engineer