Technology – Wired for Management

An important initiative is several years old now, Intel’s WfM (Wired for Management) main priority was to raise the level of management capabilities for all sorts of platforms including mobile, desktop and servers.  It should be noted that it was actually designed to complement not replace the Microsoft ZAWS (Zero Administration for Windows) initiative which was primarily to help administrators manage applications and operating systems.   Together the two strategies offered a complete environment and structure for deploying, planning and managing complex distributed computing environments.

Intel created WfM to define something that had long been missing for hardware management the creation of a baseline for managing requirements for instrumentation, power management, upgrades and service boot capability.   It enables the ability to centralize system management for things like audits, remote fixes, configuration and diagnostics.  It also meant that lots of these simple but essential tasks could be carried out remotely and importantly out of hours which is a major factor in minimizing downtime.

WfM also includes support for the Desktop Management INterface (DMI) which allows technical staff to diagnose, upgrade or repair a remote computer systems whilst it is being used.    This is a much more efficient method to support remote hardware than using custom remote access systems or even dialing in with residential VPN services such as this.   You can also use the system using something like WSUS to update clients remotely even when they have been powered off for the evening,

Configuration management has becoming increasingly important for a variety of reasons.   One of the most important is that the majority of most corporate networks are now directly connected to the internet.   This means that each client and piece of hardware is potentially a gateway in that network for cyber attacks, hackers and other unwanted connections.  Zero day exploits are often quickly put in to practice and networks frequently find themselves the target of huge automated attacks.

Updating clients and servers used to be a significant task and one that required a huge amount of resources.  Firstly extensive testing was needed before updates were cleared for deployment and then support staff would have to visit each client to install from a DVD or a network share.   This could take a significant amount of time for each machine and of course another employee was left inactive too whilst this work was taking place particularly if their role relied on the computer.

Further Reading