AMD pushes automated IT management

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has released a software tool that could allow hardware and software vendors to meet a new industry standard for IT management and security.

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Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has released a software tool that could allow hardware and software vendors to meet a new industry standard for IT management and security.

Technology vendors can use AMD's SIMFIRE to test whether their products meet a standard called DASH, for desktop and mobile architecture for system hardware. The Distributed Management Task Force unveiled the new DASH specification last week as a replacement for the four-year-old Alert Standard Format (ASF).

This jumble of acronyms is important to IT managers because the new standard will allow them to manage a diverse pool of corporate computing equipment even if it includes desktops and notebooks made by multiple vendors, said Margaret Lewis, director of commercial solutions at AMD.

And SIMFIRE is important to AMD because it allows the company to keep up with rival Intel's vPro platform, a bundle of hardware and software that allows PC vendors to build computers that can automatically handle many IT management and security tasks.

Intel recently announced it would release a new generation of vPro code-named "Weybridge" that adds embedded security and virtualisation to its bundle of Core 2 Duo processors, firmware and chipsets. Hewlett-Packard (HP) is expected to be the first vendor to build Weybridge PCs by the second half of 2007, followed by Dell Inc. and others.

One difference between the AMD and Intel offerings is that SIMFIRE is not proprietary to AMD's chips, and is a royalty-free, open-source product for any industry user. AMD expects SIMFIRE tools to be used by PC vendors like HP and Dell, and by chipset makers, semiconductor makers like Broadcom and IT management software companies like Altiris and LANDesk Group.

AMD announced the tool at the Microsoft Management Summit 2007, a trade show where many IT vendors are set to show compliance with the Distributed Management Task Force's specification upgrade, called Open Web Services for Management, or WS-Man.

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