4/10/02 5:29 PM Page 1 ASF: Standards-based Systems Management Providing remote access and manageability in OS-absent environments 4/10/02 5:29 PM Page 2 ASF: Standards-based Systems Management Contents Executive Summary The Promise of Systems Management Historical Perspective ASF Technology Overview Usage Scenarios System Health Monitoring Asset Management Remote Control Importance of Standardization Value to Users and IT Conclusion For More Information 3 3 3 4 5 5 5 6 6 6 7 7 2 4/10/02 5:29 PM Page 3 ASF: Standards-based Systems Management Executive Summary One of the last, big pieces of the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) puzzle is currently falling into place with the ASF (Alert Standard Format) specification. Developed by the Pre-OS Working Group under DMTF (Distributed Management Task Force), ASF helps deliver on the cost-reduction promise of systems management through capabilities such as system health monitoring, asset protection and remote control. Even though network management solutions have been widely available and deployed for years, many IT departments are not fully utilizing these solutions because of systems management gaps in low-power and OS-absent states. Now ASF is helping to close those gaps and reduce IT costs by defining interfaces that provide access and manageability in OS-absent environments. This paper provides a detailed overview of ASF including a variety of usage scenarios. The Promise of Systems Management IT managers have a dream: they want to reduce the time and money spent on routine “help desk” inquiries, enabling them to spend more time on higher- level tasks and strategic planning. They want to look at the big picture – developing and providing different classes of user services instead of just putting out fires. Software management solutions, available since the 1990s, promise to bring this dream closer to reality while also ensuring maximum end-user system uptime. These solutions give the IT manager remote access to local computing systems and provide regular health and inventory data for the remote user systems. Management console applications focused on this level of systems management facilitate tasks ranging from inventory, maintenance and troubleshooting to more complex debugging capabilities. With such management tools, enterprise IT departments should be able to reduce the number of on-site visits to distant systems, resulting in a corresponding decrease in support staff costs and system TCO. However, a barrier to fully realizing these benefits has been the inability of these software- based solutions to provide remote management in low-power and OS- absent states such as: � System sleeping � System powered off � Operating System (OS) hung � Booting up Previous technologies have not provided a complete solution. For example, Wake on LAN (WoL) technology is designed to bring remote systems out of sleep mode for off-hours maintenance and then allow them to go back to sleep until regular work hours. But WoL doesn’t work when the OS is hung. In fact, a problem with software- based management in general is that it depends on a healthy OS and application to keep working. When the OS or application becomes unavailable or unstable, Read the full ASF_WP.qxd.