Is DASH Enough? Identifying the Real Needs of PC Fleet Management

How the Intel vPro® platform goes beyond DASH to keep your fleet up and costs down

Imagine the fleet of PCs your IT team now manages. Perhaps it’s a fleet scattered across a corporate campus, across town, across the country, or even across the globe. Now think about an employee with a home office a few hours away from headquarters who can’t access their work because their PC operating system has gone down. If you don’t have local support available, this might mean asking them to pack up their PC and mail it to you or driving several hours to pick it up yourself for troubleshooting. In the time it takes to mail or travel and repair, both the employee and your team have lost valuable work time, sending productivity way down. On the IT side of things, your team also needs to be able to efficiently manage devices regardless of each device’s location or state, to proactively push updates, deliver preventative maintenance, and deploy security as needed. And when global health concerns mandate that people work from home, remote management tools can be a saving grace that encourages employee health across your organization.

Scenarios like this one are commonplace in organizations that don’t have the capabilities to manage their fleets remotely—especially on a level that goes deeper than the OS. And it’s a growing problem. On average, 70 percent of PC devices are employer provisioned, leaving businesses to manage and maintain over 9,000 individual devices.[1] And that doesn’t include BYOD devices. IT is also facing a rapidly growing number of IoT devices to manage as the number of connected devices is predicted to reach 125 billion by 2030.[2]

With 80 percent of a computer’s total cost of ownership (TCO) attributed to maintenance and tech support, your bottom line takes a hit every time IT gets a distress call.[3] That’s why DASH standards were developed. DASH, which stands for Desktop and mobile Architecture for System Hardware, is a set of industry standards for the remote management of desktop and mobile systems—independent of machine state, operating platform, or vendor. The aim of DASH standards is to provide IT teams with ways to remotely manage their fleets without worrying about hardware and software incompatibilities.

At Intel, we’re always looking for ways to help teams work more efficiently and strategically. That’s why we played a key role in developing DASH standards, which aim to increase the efficiency of working with disparate IT systems. Not only that, but we’re also a founding member and sit on the board of the Distributed Management Taskforce (DMTF)—the consortium that created the DASH standards.

However, although DASH lays the foundation for remote management, it can only take you so far. According to research by Concrete, “DASH only defines a minimal set of capabilities for client PCs.”[4] In this article, we’ll dispel some of the misconceptions around DASH and explore what your IT team really needs to cut down on costly deskside visits and free up resources to focus on more strategic work.

Why DASH is only the beginning

According to DMTF, the latest DASH standards guide secure out-of-band and remote management of desktops and laptops. Out-of-band machines are those that are shut down or don’t have the OS available. In contrast, in-band machines do have the OS up and running. However, while DASH provides the foundation for out-of-band management, it doesn’t go far enough.

For example, current DASH standards don’t support out-of-band device management over Wi-Fi. That means if a device that only conforms to DASH standards isn’t connected via Ethernet, it can’t be remotely managed. For a desktop, this isn’t an issue. But for laptops and other mobile devices, it can be a showstopper.

All Intel vPro® platform-based devices are DASH compliant, including those with Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT) enabled. Intel AMT allows IT to manage and repair devices remotely. However, Intel goes above and beyond with the Intel vPro® platform, which exceeds DASH requirements and empowers you to manage devices both at the hardware and software levels while reducing support costs.[5]

Rev Up Remote Manageability
The Intel vPro® platform builds on the DASH framework to provide you with advanced remote management capabilities that are scalable, easy to deploy, and seamlessly integrate with industry standard tools.
A better way to manage your fleet

Whether connected by LAN or Wi-Fi, across the street or across the world, when devices are down, they need to get back up and running fast. Here are three ways Intel helps you more effectively manage your PC fleet for today’s mobile workforce.

(1) Manage remotely Out of band, and over Wi-Fi

Only 36 percent of IT decision-makers believe their current computing environment enables employee productivity.[1] So even a small loss in productivity is a big deal.

Remember the scenario at the start of the article? If a member of your IT team is unable to travel to a client site to troubleshoot a device with an OS issue, you don’t have many options if you’re only using in-band management. That’s because in-band management requires a software agent to run on the OS of the endpoint. So when the OS is off or malfunctioning, your team can’t interact with the device from afar, leaving workers without the devices they need to be productive.

Here’s where out-of-band management comes in. This method interacts with the hardware below the OS, allowing you to control devices even if they’re off, or if the OS isn’t working properly. You can use Intel AMT power commands or the Alarm Clock feature to remotely turn on your clients, so they can accept software or firmware updates without ever leaving your own PC – and even without access to the client's OS. This helps reduce cost, minimize user distractions, cut down on IT support calls, and lower work interruptions.

But what happens when devices are connected via Wi-Fi? DASH standards don’t require out-of-band management over Wi-Fi.[6] And when multitudes of employees work outside the office due to global health concerns, that leaves a lot of devices to be managed remotely. For example, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Intel IT transitioned to support more than 100,000 remote workers in a single weekend, nearly doubling their VPN capacity, to keep pace with the pandemic.[7][8] Increasingly, businesses need to be prepared for events such as these. The Intel vPro platform goes further than DASH to ensure best-in-class fleet management by supporting out-of-band KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) or remote control diagnosis and management, even over Wi-Fi.

Out-of-band support over Wi-Fi is built into Intel AMT. A part of the Intel vPro platform, Intel AMT helps you remotely manage devices on the hardware level, providing your team with more flexibility to keep your fleet up and running. According to Forrester, 77 percent of IT managers surveyed found new Intel vPro platform-based devices running Windows 10 to be easier to manage than previous devices.[5]

(2) Remediate beyond firewalls via cloud

From desktops and laptops to digital signage and ATMs, IT teams are responsible for managing a growing variety of endpoints that lie beyond the firewall. And every time a new endpoint is added, the cost and complexity of support go up. That’s why IT teams need the ability to remotely and securely manage all of these devices from one central location via the cloud.

With Intel® Endpoint Management Assistant (Intel® EMA), IT can connect to Intel AMT devices via the cloud, both inside and outside the corporate firewall. This allows teams to integrate Intel AMT access into clients that are not on the intranet, such as custom or third-party consoles.

Here’s an example: An employee has suffered a ransomware attack that keeps her from accessing her computer. After configuring Intel AMT with Intel EMA, the IT team is able to remediate her computer remotely via the cloud—even though it’s only accessible over a known network and behind a corporate firewall. Since the remote device is based on the Intel vPro platform, the IT team can connect to it and deploy an updated operating system.[9]

With Intel EMA, you can choose the most appropriate deployment for your business, including on-premises, private cloud, beyond the firewall, or hybrid cloud. And if you have some Windows-based devices that are not powered by the Intel vPro platform, you still have the flexibility to use Intel EMA on those devices for software-level remote management.

(3) Supercharge security and efficiency

With Intel AMT and Intel EMA—a part of the Intel vPro platform—you can improve responsiveness, increase customer satisfaction and reduce support costs.

Using the Intel vPro platform, organizations can gain the following benefits:

  • Fewer security issues: Annual reduction of 7,680 security support hours with Intel vPro platform-based devices, resulting in $1.2 million in risk-adjusted savings over three years as estimated using a composite organization modeled by Forrester Consulting in an Intel-commissioned Total Economic Impact (TEI) study. Read the full study at Intel.com/vProPlatformTEI.[5]
  • Higher employee efficiency: 28,160 hours saved in improved employee efficiency with the Intel vPro platform through better device security and management, resulting in cost savings of $1.3 million over three years as estimated using a composite organization modeled by the same TEI study.[5]
  • Stronger device and data security: Apart from time saved with security remediation, the Intel vPro platform keeps company data safe and reduces the risk of breach through hardware-based security and manageability.
  • Faster patch deployments: 832 hours saved with automatic patch deployments enhanced by Intel AMT, resulting in risk-adjusted cost savings of $81,000 over three years as estimated using a composite organization modeled by the above-referenced TEI study.[5]

Remote management can also be used for service asset and configuration management, incident management, and release and deployment management.

Make the move to modern manageability

By choosing the Intel vPro platform, not only are you DASH compliant, but you have modern management capabilities covered as well. Remotely diagnosing and repairing systems using the Intel vPro platform with Intel AMT can help your team better reach remote workforces and devices. You can also lower IT costs and increase worker satisfaction by reducing on-site repairs, increasing device uptime, and decreasing disruption caused by updates. In addition, Intel AMT provides APIs for integration with third-party consoles and custom scripts.[4]

Learn more about how the Intel vPro platform, including Intel Active Management Technology and Intel Endpoint Management Assistant, can help you make the shift to modern manageability.

[1] How PCs Will Drive the Future of Work, Forrester, 2020.
[2] “Number of IoT Devices Will Surge to 125 Billion by 2030, HIS Markit Says,” IHS Markit, October 2017.
[3] Beacon Consulting, 2017.
[4] INTEL vPro® vs. AMD® Pro Out-of-Band Management, Concrete, March 2020.
[5] The Total Economic Impact™ of the Intel vPro® Platform, Forrester, December 2018. Commissioned by Intel and conducted by Forrester Consulting. 256 IT managers surveyed at midsized organizations (100 to 1,000 employees) using Intel vPro® platforms in US, UK, Germany, Japan, and China. 77 percent either “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that computers with Intel vPro platform and running Windows 10 are easier to manage. ROI that other organizations will receive will vary based on a variety of factors including size and baseline level of security, manageability, and productivity before the business switched to the Intel vPro platform. Savings that other organizations will receive will vary based on a variety of factors including size and baseline level of security, manageability, and productivity before the business switched to the Intel vPro platform. Consult other sources and use information specific to your organization to determine benefits for your organization. Your costs and results may vary. Read the study at Intel.com/vProPlatformTEI.
[6] INTEL vPro® vs. AMD® Pro Out-of-Band Management, Concrete, March 2020.
[7] “How Intel IT transitioned to supporting 100,000 remote workers,” CIO.com, April 2020.
[8] “Insight TechTalk | The Future of Work.” YouTube video, 11:01. June 2020.https://youtu.be/nrtNkuVAfGU?t=139.
[9] Newer Client Devices Powered by 8th Generation Intel® Core™ vPro™ Processors Deliver Big Benefits, Prowess, 2020.
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Your costs and results may vary.

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Published on Categories IT Leadership, IT Management, PC Upgrade, ProductivityTags ,
Dan Brunton

About Dan Brunton

Dan Brunton is a Systems Engineer in the Business Client Platforms (BCP) at the Intel Corporation. He is responsible for helping drive adoption of the capabilities in the Intel vPro® platform. He has worked with client manageability solutions for thirteen years, with a focus on Intel® Active Management Technology. Dan joined Intel in 2000 as part of the Information Technology group where he supported automation for factories in the Technology Manufacturing Group (TMG). In 2007, Dan joined the Business Client Platforms team where he continues to work today.