Intel vPro; Good & Bad?

vPro is a technology that allows servers or laptops to be powered on or off remotely, allows boot media to be attached so a OS can be loaded remotely, an administrator can see the boot process and change the bios settings remotely.

This is a good idea as it allows admintrators to do more remotely and spend less time traveling, and get problems fixed faster.

This is not the best implementation as it uses the VNC protocol which has had authentication bypass problems in the past and limits passwords to 8 characters. Intel had to make some compromises and chose VNC as it was already established and they needed something that would work on inexpensive hardware.

Products like TeamViewer can provide part of this funtionality; remote control works well, supports reverse connections through firewalls and it keeps a nice inventory of remote devices. But Teamviewer runs on top of the OS so you can’t view a Bluescreen, load an OS or access the BIOS. I expect companies focused on easy-to-use solutions to opt for this as it solves some inventory and visibility problems.

VPro provides more functionality but you need to provide your own routing, usually supplied by VPN and DHCP/DNS but there are still holes around road warriors.

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