Hands-On With Small Business Advantage's Features, Continued
Data Backup and Restore makes it easy to schedule backups through Microsoft's Windows Backup utility. In our example here, we used a local Windows Home Server share as our target.
You can quickly check the status of Data Backup and Restore from the SBA dashboard.
The PC Health Center facilitates configuration of Windows Update, disk defragmentation, and the persistence of browser history files. You can have it delete your temporary Internet files and cookies every night, if you so desire, and even if you've already shut the system down.
SBA's dashboard displays the schedule for each PC Health Center task you configure.
As discussed, Energy Saver's function is really pretty simple: the module turns your PC on and off at set intervals, cutting power when you go home for the night and making sure it's ready to go when you arrive in the morning. The schedule is easy to set up and worked as advertised.
Again, the SBA dashboard is your window in to Energy Saver's status.
One other nice feature of SBA is its event viewer. If you do have to troubleshoot a machine, you can diagnose any of the behaviors that SBA monitors through its log.
Maybe the editors will read it before they remove this post. It's not a terribly well-written article. That's where you can help, Tom's.
For laptops you may have to take a bit more time defining your typical usage area of course; you could even let the laptop track your typical usage location patterns so it can make recommendations for the best setup.
If the systems is outside the area either request a special password or some other form of identification to unlock the machine either for one time or for inclusions of the current location into the allowed area.
Damn, I should get that patented :-)
Customer has a blue screen? No problem, you can KVM right in and see the issue.
Workstation hung after remotely applying patches - calling the user and saying "Can you go over and hold the power button for me?" is no longer necessary. Simply shutdown the machine via vPro and power it back on. Even remotely re-imagine a machine from backup is possible.
However, my favorite use case is the instant back to work use case. End user hard drive fails - obviously a truck roll is needed, but the most important thing is to get the user productive again. Leverage vPro's ability to redirect IDE (IDEr) to a network Live Linux CD at least gets the user in to Web Outlook, if not 100% back in business.
How about power savings? Schedule machines to auto shutdown at night, and for your patch window, use vPro to power up the workstations, apply the patches, power down (from windows) and if a machine hangs on shutdown use the vPro power off command. Allows for nightly maintenance and keeps costs savings maximized.
Rolling out vPro can be a bit of work using native tools, but there are solutions available (shameless plug) like LabTech Software (http://www.labtechsoftware.com) which can remotely provision and manage vPro along with any other IT management function you can think of.
Full disclosure: Having ran an MSP and worked with many enterprises, out of band management tools were critical in every mature organization I worked with. As a co-founder of LabTech Software, I have engaged Intel and we are working closely to build out solutions that vPro truly solves for.