Diversity of Innovation at OpenStack with an Open Source and an Open Mind


While at the 2016 OpenStack summit in Austin, TX, I came upon a creative artwork titled the Diversity of Innovation. Marveling at the colorful graphic, I was intrigued by its powerful message that gave me pause.  Open Source, by design is a fertile ground for innovation as an environment that continuously brings complementing perspectives to bear on forward thinking technological concepts.  But, as the graphic implies, add a healthy dose of diversity to it and magic happens – an ecosystem already primed for innovation is injected with the diversity of the practitioners with varying characteristics and backgrounds.  Diversity met Innovation in an environment of Open Source at the OpenStack Summit – a conference where Intel VP Imad Sousou punctuated his keynote with the phrase —Open Stack Open Source Open Mind !!


ImadSouSou Intel.jpg

Little did I know that I would really live the experience of SouSou’s message during the conference.  There were two distinct encounters with a couple of attendees at this summit that characterized this message culminating in the poster on display on the last day of the conference.  Diversity can be manifested through varied representation from different countries, cultures, professions and other demographics.  But, there are ways that we can be diverse ourselves as individuals — as my two open encounters reinforced at this conference.

I attended a panel session on Open Stack in the Enterprise — Are we Doing Enough? This panel, moderated by one of the industry analysts had representation from multiple vendors as well as The OpenDaylight Project — represented by its Executive Director, Neela Jacques


Many of the thoughts that Neela shared about the need for an Open Platform in the Telco world during his panel session resonated with me.  Over lunch, Neela was very cogent and articulate in his passionate thoughts around Open Culture and Open Source making me wonder if this white Caucasian looking guy I just met was born with Open Source in his bloodstream.  I was almost right! 


Neela explained that he spent many years in an Ashram in India where he had seen his mother lead a group of volunteers who always came together to collaborate and do goodness.  People who did this driven by their passion took it upon themselves to drive the community forward.  Based upon their skills and abilities, some of them emerged as experts in different domains. Meritocracy. The environment Neela grew up in exuded a culture that was flat by nature where titles did not mean much.  Sound familiar?


Hello Open Source !!


No wonder Neela was able to articulate his thoughts around Open Source concepts so clearly.  And then, he said that he was originally from France.  Talk about diverse backgrounds !  Remember, the cup of innovation served with a shot of Open Culture at Costa Coffee in downtown Raleigh, NC?


My encounter was with Nithya Ruff, Open Source Strategist at Sandisk.  Nithya shared her background from the state of Karnataka in India and various activities she is engaged with in the Silicon Valley for different causes.  Having exchanged some ideas with her on Social Media, I had a good feel for where she stood on Open Source (hello! Check out her role!) but I was pleasantly surprised to note that she is also a passionate advocate of Diversity.  She was one of the moderators of a discussion at this summit that focused on the vision of a world where the OpenStack community is truly and completely blind to meaningless differences in gender, color, creed and culture. Hello Diversity !! Checkout Nithya’s quote in the graphic displayed at the conference: “A Company’s Diversity can strengthen the core workforce” !!


People like Nithya and Neela have diversity in their upbringing which is very likely to influence their thought processes. Diversity in representation across color, sex, gender and race within a community is a good first step.  But, there is a lot to be said about the diversity within us which represents our own true mindset. 


Real diversity comes from within.


The OpenStack Summit had 7,500 attendees in 2016 compared to the 75 that it had in 2010.  The community has come a long way with representation from several countries around the world.  I heard so many different languages in the elevators and hallways that it did not quite feel like being in Austin, TX once you entered the Austin Convention Center. 


I am sure the OpenStack community has several individuals like Neela and Nithya from all parts of the world with diversity ingrained in their mindsets.


Which is why it will grow. Because it is such individuals who continuously give shape and form to the culture of Open Source — one person at a time.


Like somebody I know very well recently said: Culture and Technology can drive the future of OpenStack.


Let the diverse minds prevail.


What say you?

Read more >

How DCIM tools improve PUE, reduce costs and help mitigate your carbon footprint

According to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), data  center electricity consumption is projected to increase to approximately 140  billion kilowatt-hours annually by 2020, the equivalent annual output of 50  power plants. The cost to American businesses? A tidy $13 billion annually.


Make no mistake, many enterprises and data center providers are  striving to reduce their carbon footprint. Switch recently announced that, as  of the first of this year, all of its SUPERNAP data centers are powered by 100%  renewable energy through its new solar facilities operating in Nevada.   Across the pond, Apple is developing two new 100% renewable energy data centers  in Ireland and Denmark.  And Facebook just launched a massive new data  center in Lulea, a town located in a remote corner of northern Sweden, that  requires 70% less mechanical cooling capacity than the average data center  because of the cool climate.


But what if your data center is located in Houston or Rio de  Janeiro? Fortunately there exists a viable solution to achieve improved Power  Usage Effectiveness (PUE), and reduce costs associated with cooling and power  while mitigating a facility’s carbon footprint. Data Center Infrastructure  Management (DCIM) are software and technology products that converge IT and  building facilities functions to provide engineers and administrators with a  holistic view of a data center’s performance to ensure that energy, equipment  and floor space are used as efficiently as possible.

In large data centers, where electrical energy billing comprises  a large portion of the cost of operation, the insight these software platforms  provide into power and thermal management accrue directly to an organization’s  bottom line.

In order to take appropriate actions, data center managers need  accurate intel concerning power consumption, thermals, airflow and utilization.  One wouldn’t think this is the realm of MS Excel spreadsheets and Stanley tape  measures. However, a recent study by Intel DCM and Redshift Research found that  four in 10 data center managers in 200 facilities surveyed in the U.S. and the  UK still rely on these Dark Age tools to initiate expansion or layout changes.

The good news is that DCIM provides increased levels of  automated control that empowers data center managers to receive timely information  to manage capacity planning and allocations, as well as cooling efficiency. By  deploying thermal-management middleware, for example, improvements in airflow  management can reduce energy consumption by 40%. Data center managers can  also drive a stake through the problem of zombie servers by consolidating  servers to reduce energy consumption from 10% to 40%.

Modern data centers maintain a stable operating environment for  servers by implementing stringent temperature controls, which, paradoxically,  also makes it possible to apply various energy-saving and eco-friendly measures  in a centralized manner. A DCIM system that offers simulations integrating  real-time monitoring information to allow for continuous improvements and  validation of cooling strategy and air handling choices can have a direct  impact on the bottom line.

Somewhat counter-intuitively, raising internal temperatures in  data centers can save annually upwards of 100K per temperature degree  without degrading service levels or reducing hardware lifespan. And by  deploying various other innovative cooling technologies, facilities can expend  up to 95% less energy.

Utilizing DCIM real-time data analysis tools, along with  maintaining an active server refresh schedule, can effectively combat runaway  energy consumption. The combination of processor improvement with feature rich  intuitive dashboards that recognize imbalances in cooling and identify  underutilized servers, can sometimes reveal a profligate energy consumer right  under an administrator’s nose.

Replacing an older server with today’s advanced technology and  using DCIM to identify underutilized systems can reduce energy need by 30%.  Considering the four-year life expectancy of a server, this will save up to  $480. While that figure might not seem too significant, the numbers get  significant if you have thousands of servers.

Read more >

Intel at SAP SAPPHIRE NOW: It’s Time to Plan Your Schedule

SAP SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG (America’s SAP Users’ Group)  Annual Conference is coming to Orlando on May 17–19—and Intel will be there  too, adding to the festivities with keynote addresses, tech talks, demos and  plenty of presentations from our OEM and technology partners.

SAPPHIRE is SAP’s premier annual event, with an anticipated 20,000  people in attendance and an additional 80,000 tuning in online. SAPPHIRE attracts  CIOs and line-of-business managers who want to meet with SAP experts and  industry partners to learn the latest in Internet of Things (IoT) technologies,  in-memory computing, and data center and cloud strategies.


The conference starts off with a bang on Tuesday morning,  May 17 when Intel CEO Brian Krzanich joins SAP chief executive Bill McDermott  on stage for a discussion of the latest innovations across the industry. Be  sure to be in your seat as BK shares information about advances to the joint Intel-SAP  IoT platform, and our next-generation Intel processors. In addition, you won’t  want to miss news of innovations in memory technologies that promise both to boost  performance and cut cost of memory for cloud and data center platforms. BK will  also share highlights of Intel IT’s successful conversion to SAP HANA* to run  Intel’s internal financial and enterprise resource planning (ERP) & Supply  Chain Management (SCM) systems (for more information on this proof-of-concept  deployment, view  the solution brief).


Intel is also showcasing two demos in the Intel Booth #625of  the joint SAP and Intel IoT platform, find out more:

  • The  Connected Worker: Industrial Wearables for Worker Safety (Demo in Intel  Booth #625 also highlighted in mini-session 10:30am-10:50am, Tues. May 17,  PS602 presented by Jeff Jackson). Learn about the Intel and SAP reference  platform for industrial safety and compliance, and experience how wearables can  help detect unsafe conditions and create automated alerts in real-time, for  both workers and supervisors.

  • Real-Time  Inventory Management (Demo in Intel  booth #625)Learn how to delight customers and minimize  out-of-stock-issues in this retail jeans store scenario that features SAP  Merchandising* applications and the Intel® Retail Sensor Platform to send  real-time alerts for inventory management and cycle count automation.


A Rich History of  Collaboration

Intel and SAP have worked together closely for over two  decades, with SAP software specifically engineered to take advantage of the  performance, reliability and security built into Intel processors. Today, the  rich co-engineering relationship is stronger than ever, with new joint IoT  solutions that extend analytical processing and security from the data center  to the network edge, and breakthrough business solutions that draw on the power  of SAP HANA*, the revolutionary in-memory database that’s optimized to run on  Intel® Xeon® processors. SAP HANA and Intel processors stand behind new  solutions such as SAP Business ByDesign*, a cloud-based ERP service that brings  powerful business management tools to the device of your choice; and the SAP  Digital Boardroom*, which draws on the power of SAP HANA and Intel processors  to provide C-Suite executives a real-time visualization of business performance  and reporting across the entire enterprise with SAP’s Digital Boardroom.


Intel and SAP’s collaboration doesn’t end there: We also  share a rich ecosystem of OEM partners who offer over 600 computing appliances that  feature SAP software pre-integrated onto Intel-based platforms for simple, out-of-the-box  functionality. A dozen of our OEM partners, including VMware, HP, Dell, Cisco,  and SGI, will be at SAP SAPPHIRE. Stop by their booths to check out their  latest innovations, and join us at Intel booth #625 where we will host over 30  tech talks by Intel partner experts.


Of particular interest are a series of in-booth  presentations by Dr. Matthieu-P. Schapranow, program manager in E-Health and  Life Sciences at SAP’s Hasso Plattner Institute. Schapranow’s presentations  (12:30pm on Tues. May 17 and Wed. May 18, and 11:30am on Thurs. May 19) address  the topic of analyzing genomes using  in-memory databases and the advent of real-time analysis of medical big data.


Intel is once again a proud sponsor of the SAP HANA® Innovation Awards, which recognize  customers and enterprises who have found innovative ways to use SAP HANA to  drive business value. Kudos to each of the over 150 entrants who competed this  year, and a special congratulation in advance to the five finalists to be named  in a special ceremony on Monday evening.


Stop by the Intel booth #625 to say hello, and watch me shoot man-on-the-street videos for viewing on Periscope.


Follow me @TimIntel  and #TechTim for the latest news on Intel and SAP.

Read more >

Improve Your Healthcare IQ

Healthcare is undergoing massive changes. As a result of these changes many of those that work in the healthcare industry are finding that they need new skills and knowledge. A great way to go about this is participating in a massive open online course (MOOC).


The term MOOC was first used by Dave Cormier of the University of Prince Edward Island in 2008. MOOCs are online courses that are built for open and collaborative participation. MOOC courses are often delivered as a pre-recorded series of video lectures with corresponding assignments to test knowledge. Courses are typically self-paced which makes it easy to schedule around work and family commitments. Mobile applications are available for some platforms which makes learning on the go easy (and much more productive than gaming!). Several MOOC platforms have implemented paid certification programs that focus on in-demand skill sets like data science. In addition to the education, most MOOC platforms provide community forums which can be great ways to connect with other individuals around the world with a shared passion for the subject matter.


A variety of healthcare related courses are available on various MOOC platforms. A useful tool for selecting courses across platforms is Mooc List. Three of the more common platforms that come up in healthcare related searches are Coursera, edX, and FutureLearn. Each of these platforms has a slightly different focus in terms of course content and geographic distribution of educators. Coursera seems to have the most diverse set of healthcare curriculum today, but interesting course can be found on all three. Below are some of the sample courses available:



Interprofessional Healthcare Informatics

We will explore perspectives of clinicians like dentists, physical therapists, nurses, and physicians in all sorts of practice settings worldwide. Emerging technologies, telehealth, gaming, simulations, and eScience are just some of the topics that we will consider.


Big Data Analytics for Healthcare

We introduce the characteristics and related analytic challenges on dealing with clinical data from electronic health records. Many of those insights come from medical informatics community and data mining/machine learning community. There are three thrusts in this course: Application, Algorithm and System



Entrepreneurship and Healthcare in Emerging Economies

Explore how entrepreneurship and innovation tackle complex health problems in emerging economies.


Practical Improvement Science in Health Care: A Roadmap for Getting Results

Course will provide learners with the valuable skills and simple, well-tested tools they need to translate promising innovations or evidence into practice. A group of expert faculty will explore a scientific approach to improvement — a practical, rigorous methodology that includes a theory of change, measurable aims, and iterative, incremental small tests of change to determine if improvement concepts can be implemented effectively in practice.



Inside Cancer: How Genes Influence Cancer Development

In this free online course, you’ll learn about the fundamental biological concepts that inform our current understanding of cancer development, the molecular genetics behind it and its spread within the body.


Bioprinting: 3D Printing Body Parts

This free online course tells the story of this revolution, introducing you to commonly used biomaterials, including metals, ceramics and polymers, and how bioprinting techniques, such as selective laser melting, hot-melt extrusion and inkjet printing, work. Through case studies – ranging from hip implants to facial transplants to lab-grown organs – we’ll answer questions such as: What is 3D printing and how did it come about? Is it really possible to print structures that incorporate both living and artificial components? How long before we can print whole body organs for transplants? What is possible right now, and what will be possible in 20 and 50 years’ time?

So whatever your reason, take some time to participate in an MOOC. It’s a fantastic way to stimulate new ideas and connect with like-minded individuals around the world.


What questions do you have?

Read more >

Designing Healthcare IoT Systems

The “Internet of Things” (IoT) has exciting near-term prospects in healthcare.  But what does that mean, and how can we most efficiently realize its potential?


Healthcare IoT can take many forms.  Here, we’re referring to sensors deployed onto or inside a human body, that send their data readings to the cloud, which then communicates processed data to clinicians for action.


It sounds straightforward, especially if you’re a technologist, because most of the words in the previous sentence are technology words: “sensor,” “data,” “cloud,” “communicate,” and “process.”


But notice that other word: “action.”  It’s the last word because it’s the system’s entire reason for being.  If you’re designing your IoT system, and you aren’t clear idea what the actions are, how well they work, and, crucially, how the data are tied to the actions, then pause.


What’s Being Tried?


Let’s take an example: the recently published BEAT-HF study of heart failure patients.  All patients got their usual care, but half were randomly selected to additionally get coaching telephone calls plus an IoT solution that acquired daily blood pressure, weight, and oxygen saturation – exactly the parameters cardiologists follow in their heart failure patients.


Unfortunately, the trial showed no benefit of the IoT solution.  Compared to the control group, the IoT patients died just as often, and they came into the hospital just as often.  This is not the first trial to show such failures, and it is fortunate that BEAT-HF did not harm the subjects by wasting physician time and distracting them from interventions that could actually benefit patients.


A Better Mouse-Trap


But now let’s look at a different system, also aimed at heart failure patients.  Here, a small Bluetooth-enabled pressure sensor is placed into the pulmonary artery via catheter.  (Pressure in the pulmonary artery is a key indicator of heart failure.)  Once a day the patients lies quietly in bed, near a Bluetooth receiver, and the sensor’s measurements of pulmonary artery pressure are sent to the cloud, and then to the cardiologist’s office.


In a randomized study of 550 patients, the patients who received the pressure sensor had their medications changed by the cardiologist 250% more times than the control group.  That is not a typo – 250% — a remarkable change in the “action” step. But did all that extra “action” help? Yes!  Patients with the pressure system experienced 43% fewer deaths, and 57% fewer heart failure hospital admissions.  The word “spectacular” underestimates this accomplishment, especially given the statistics that, among fee-for-service Medicare enrollees, heart failure is responsible for 39% of all deaths, and for 42% of all hospital admissions.




If you are designing an IoT system for healthcare, what lessons can you draw?


  • (1) Sensor choice matters.  A lot. Try to obtain data from the core of the disease process, not peripheral or indirect indicators.
  • (2) Merely increasing the data collection frequency, as BEAT-HF tried, may not be beneficial. “Big data” is not a panacea.  Data quantity may not make up for only marginal improvements in data quality.
  • (3) Patient choice matters.  BEAT-HF failed in its general population of heart failure patients, but might have succeeded with certain subgroups of patients.  For example, patients having both heart failure and depression might disproportionally benefit from the Hawthorne effect (increased attention) that telemonitoring can provide.
  • (4) Test your system with a randomized trial.  It is increasingly clear that other study designs are unreliable when evaluating tele-health systems.


Although technology terms may dominate the definition of a healthcare IoT system, the single clinical word dominates its success.

Read more >

Bringing the Internet of Things to Life

I’ve been in IT a long time, and I can say unequivocally that in all those years I’ve never seen a more exciting array of new technology with so many opportunities to integrate and benefit. The Internet of Things (IoT)—sensors, intelligent gateways and edge processing, cloud and big data analytics, real-time synergy between disparate systems—the possibilities are almost dizzying. Smart factories. Smart data centers. Smart buildings. Smart parking garages and stadiums. Smart cities.


But how do we get from where we are—a tantalizing vision—to reality? How do we merge so many points of view into a cohesive whole that is practical to implement? In other words, how do we bring the Internet of Things to life? In my role as product development chief of staff for Intel IT, I’ve started at the ground floor of the IoT and have had an excellent opportunity to observe and experience both its benefits and its growth pains.


Fig1.pngEvery Thing Needs Interoperability

I propose that interoperability is the key to making the IoT mainstream. For the IoT to really work, “things” need to talk to each other. Facility things need to talk to IT things. IT things need to talk to manufacturing things and vice versa. And if we want interoperability, we need data standards. At Intel, we are working to “break the barriers” between IoT and IT. This work includes projects with our own IT and facilities teams, and with the industry as a whole, to help establish IoT data standards. You can read about some of our early work in our recent white paper, IoT Data Standards Provide the Foundation for Smart Buildings.


And it isn’t just things that need to talk to other things. People, too, need to change how they communicate. There can no longer be “the facility team” and “the IT team” and the “corporate services team.” For the IoT to reach its potential, these historically separate knowledge domains need to collaborate.


Here at Intel, we are making great strides in these areas. For example, we’re investing in a gateway service network and are closing gaps in wireless connectivity—important preparatory work before our factories and buildings can take full advantage of the IoT. In many ways, this early work is like clearing land for a construction project—we’re planning, removing obstacles, and clearing the path so all of Intel has the necessary tools and infrastructure.


Let me tell you about some of the projects at Intel that are building on this work.

  • In our factories, we are conducting proactive vibration analysis—sensors gather vibration data and analysts use that data to make sure silicon wafers aren’t damaged in processing. If the sensors determine that vibrations are outside an acceptable range, an alert is sent to the line manager. This prevents damaged wafers and saves Intel money.
  • In some conference rooms, we have installed sensors that know when someone enters the room and can automatically boot up the Mini PC running the Intel® Unite™ solution (a wireless collaboration tool), turn up the heat, and turn on the lights. These sensors are also connected to an online tool that employees can use to find an unoccupied conference room—boosting productivity and user experience. In the future, we hope to combine the IoT with our “know me/sense me/free me” initiative, so that users can set their personal preferences for heat and light settings, and when they enter a room, these settings are automatically configured.


Intel IT is working closely with Intel’s Corporate Services group—which is responsible for setting design standards for smart buildings. They have asked Intel IT to write the IoT dashboards for their projects, and are working with us to implement data standards. In this way, we can emulate Intel’s factories, which use a Copy Exactly methodology—each factory adheres to a strict, well-defined set of standards, which result in cost savings and high reliability.


In another example, the Intel Smart Building and Venue Experience Center was built on the Intel® IoT Platform and recently implemented in Chandler, Arizona, and is a showcase for the IoT. This center standardized more than a dozen smart stadium capabilities to increase operational efficiency, enhance the fan experience, and provide better security. The center has helped us create a blueprint of the necessary IoT technologies.


So far, we’ve brought about 42 groups through the center (just a few examples are representatives from Arizona State University, Michigan State University, and SAS Institute). When the facility teams saw the IoT in action and how data standards could integrate HVAC, lighting, digital signage—even towel dispensers in the bathrooms—it was like a lightbulb going off over their heads. Their next question is always: So how do we make this happen in our world?


Recipe for IoT Success

In my opinion, the following ingredients are pivotal to implementing IoT solutions on any kind of scale. We are implementing all of these at Intel, even as I write this.

  • Go slow to go fast. If you just start implementing changes rapidly without appropriate planning, you will end up with many legacy systems, some in the cloud, some not, some that will talk to each other, and some that won’t. It’s critical to first consider all implications so that you don’t just create a technological mess. Take the necessary time to plan properly and lay out the proper architecture and infrastructure to support current and future states. Starting with a common set of standards and desired end states can yield results much faster than randomly implementing solutions. The goal is to focus on common use cases, achieve the benefits of data reuse, and remove the majority of interoperability issues with systems that need to talk to each other. Plan the future, then build a foundation for that.
  • Build the right platform. You need a reusable, extensible platform to build on. Start it now. Ask yourself, as you choose projects—“Am I thinking for the future or am I just putting in more things that I will just have to pull out in three years?” For the IoT to be real, solutions need to be as Plug and Play as the ubiquitous USB devices are today. The foundation you build will keep operational expenses under control and will help ensure privacy, security, and manageability. It will support many uses cases and not just the occasional one-off project you’re currently working on.
  • Choose the right projects. Identify the high-priority personas or uses that will make your organization more efficient and that can integrate later with new use cases.
  • Make sure the network is ready. Think of the network as a sensor that can support analytics and manageability.
  • Address the culture challenges. IT departments are used to being autonomous. So are operations teams. But for the IoT to work well, you need to establish a culture of collaboration. We’re using cross-team meetings and other collaboration exercises to bring everyone together to reach a common goal.


Here at Intel, we’re starting with data and aligning that with our enterprise strategic goals. I’m envisioning the future state and goal, then working backwards to figure out how to create a single interoperable system that can make it real.


What Are You Doing to Make It Real?

The IoT can be intimidating. Data standards are still evolving. There’s a lot to be done. But at Intel, we’re already using the IoT to drive efficiency and support business growth. We believe there’s significant value to be gained by using the power of the IoT.


I’d be interested in hearing what other IT professionals are working on in the area of the IoT—what have been your challenges? Share your successes! I encourage you to join the conversation by leaving a comment below.

Read more >

Who Loves Passwords? Nobody.


No one likes passwords, but the reality is we need some form of identification and authentication to protect our digital reputation and information as well as facilitate customized online experiences.  As we celebrate World Password Day 2016, it is time to make passwords both strong and easy to use.


Another year passes by and passwords still remain.  At some point, someone told you passwords were going away.  They lied.  Passwords are here to stay, in one shape or another.  Although unwieldly, they are still the most prevalent means to validate a user. 


The key to reduce the frustration is to streamline their use while still benefitting from the protection they provide.  But there is an inherent conundrum: if you don’t use them correctly, they don’t provide much protection.  If you do use them properly, they are horribly difficult to manage and adversely slow down our digital experiences. 


I may be an anomaly, but the number of login accounts I have now number well over one hundred.  Most I only use sporadically, but I do need them.  As a security advocate, I know better than to reuse passwords or simply increment them in a simple way.  That would be insecure.  To be honest, I don’t have much trust in some of the domains I sign-up for.  I suspect some admins might take a peek at user’s credentials or even worse, their security practices are insufficient and my password may eventually get breached by a malicious hacker.  Either way, I expect several of my passwords to be exposed eventually.  Attackers then like to try those passwords on other accounts and look for easy patterns that the victim might be using to facilitate their ease of use.  If the threats figure it out, it is bad news.  Like dominoes falling, your accounts too will tumble and be in the hands of attackers.  They can login, steal your data, and impersonate you if they wish.  The damage can be serious enough for anyone to regret employing simple shortcuts to save time.


Don’t despair, there is hope.  It is time to take the sting out of password management.


Password Day 2016.jpg

Passwords are only protective if you use them correctly, but they don’t have to be hard to live with.  Get organized, let technology do the work for you, and follow these 4 simple rules:

1. Use strong passwords or even better, a passphrase.

Passwords are useless if they can be guessed or easily succumb to brute-force attacks.  So, make them challenging.  Additionally, when in doubt, change them.  Top web services look for suspicious patterns of activity and will notify users of a possible account breach.  Don’t ignore these warnings!  Change your passwords immediately by opening a new browser window and navigating to the site to change your password (never click on links in emails to do this).

2. Make them unique.

Never reuse the same password across different sites.  That makes it simple for attackers to compromise your entire digital life.  Furthermore, don’t make simple increments when changing passwords.  Moving from Password1 to Password2 is just asking for trouble.

3. Use a password manager.

Retire the post-it notes or spreadsheet file.  Using a reputable password manager is a huge time saver and will actually add more security into the mix.  Integrated password managers can automatically log users into websites and applications, which is tremendously convenient.  They facilitate the use of insanely strong and unique passwords, and make dreaded expiration notices a snap to deal with.  No more trying to navigate and interpret the obscure hieroglyphs as part of your secret code.  Password managers can generate ridiculously complex passwords that you never need to type in.  They can handle the brunt of all the work.  There are secure solutions out there that help take pain out of the process, like True Key by Intel Security.

4. Biometrics and multifactor authentication is better!

Biometrics can greatly reduce the frustration of logging in.  Fingerprint readers are great on phones and facial recognition on PC’s to speed up access.  Such systems are also emerging which can detect when you walk away and then lock the device.  Next generation solutions will take it a step further and unlock it automatically as you return.  Multifactor authentication schemes should be employed in high value situations, where if your password is compromised, the attacker still needs another form of authentication to proceed.  This thwarts all but the most elite types of attack and is well worth the extra effort for financial accounts and very private communications. 


Passwords don’t have to be hard to live with.  Get organized and let technology do the work for you.  Passwords aren’t going away anytime soon.  Reduce the loathing and inconvenience while maintain good security.  Remain vigilant and your passwords can save you from your worst digital day.



Interested in more?  Follow me on Twitter (@Matt_Rosenquist) and LinkedIn to hear insights and what is going on in cybersecurity.  Also be sure to visit the Intel Security blog for the latest security news.

Read more >

The New Way To Work


With the rise of today’s increasingly mobile workforce, we’re seeing a shift away from antiquated office environments. Technology advancements are evolving the traditional cubicle into mobile work stations where employees use their device of choice while no longer being chained to their desk. This has been a contributing factor to a massive wave of innovation we are seeing with some of the most well-designed business devices that eliminate physical work barriers of the past.


One of the latest and greatest examples of this is the recently introduced HP Chromebook 13 powered by the 6th Generation Intel® Core™ m processor. Customers considering Chromebooks get a range of productivity and mobility they need to work more efficiently for today’s office environment. A couple of things to highlight from a mobility perspective: with our 6th Generation Intel Core m processor inside, it means that employees can enjoy a long battery life, up to 10 hours, if they’re working on the go. It also means that they can have a great experience multitasking moving quickly across apps and browsing. HP and Google also achieved a first as this the thinnest and lightest Chromebook on the market measuring in at 12.9 mm when closed and weighing 2.86 pounds.


On the heels of our recent launch, businesses of all sizes are reacting positively to our portfolio of businesses solutions—from Intel Unite for conference room collaboration, to Intel Core and Intel Core vPro for business, these solutions are facilitating a new and better way to work. The HP Chromebook 13 is a great example of the continued innovation we’re driving with our partners.


Check out HP’s announcement and Google’s blog to learn more.



Read more >

SCCM Right Click Menu for AMT Out of Band Functions

While working with the new SCCM version, I noticed that I was missing some Intel AMT Integration that I used to have, and decided to look into it and made a right click menu to get back some of the functionality. After building this plugin, options for restarting, power onoff, and KVM should show under a vPro Tab on the right click menu.


Installation of PowerShell AMT 1:1 Reboots from SCCM Console

  1. Close SCCM Console
  2. Download and install vPro Powershell Module on SCCM Server (Download Intel® vPro™ Technology module for Windows* PowerShell) 1.PNG
  3. On SCCM Server go to C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft Configuration ManagerAdminConsoleXmlStorageExtensionsActions2.PNG
    1. Create folder 3fd01cd1-9e01-461e-92cd-94866b8d1f39

      This folder title is a GUID that translates to where the menu will pop up (there are different GUIDs for other locations)

    2. Inside Folder create xml file – IntelvProExt.xml
    3. Edit file to include following



                DisplayName=”Intel vPro”

                MnemonicDisplayName=”Intel vPro”

                Description=”Contains commands for Intel vPro hardware”>








                                                DisplayName=”PowerShell Reboot”

                                                MnemonicDisplayName=”PowerShell Reboot”

                                                Description=”Sends a forced PowerShell Reboot”









                                                                <Parameters>Invoke-AMTForceBoot -tls -operation reset -device harddrive</Parameters>






  1. d. Save and Close File
  2. e. Restart SCCM Console
  3. Right click menu will now have Intel vPro menu with PowerShell Reboot Options


From here we have a basic powershell reboot for AMT systems. should look something like this




After having reboots taken care of I figured I would expand this menu a bit and get some more functionality baked in.


  1. To Add KVM options with RealVNC Viewer Plus – This will take advantage of the AMTKVM options for Out of Band KVM



                                                DisplayName=”Start KVM”

                                                MnemonicDisplayName=”Start KVM”

                                                Description=”Starts a KVM session with Intel hardware”








                                                                <FilePath>C:Program Files (x86)RealVNCVNCViewerPlusvncviewerplus.exe</FilePath>

                                                                <Parameters>-uri kvm://##SUB:Name##</Parameters>




  1. To add RebootsPower DownPower On via AMTSDK – REQUIRES AMTSDK (
    1. Extract files needed to C:AMT (or location of your choosing – make sure to adjust location in descriptions) from .AMTSDKWindowsIntel_AMTBin and .AMTSDKWindowsIntel_AMTBin Ws-ManagementC++
      1. CPPCimFramework.dll
      2. CPPCimFrameworkUntyped.dll
      3. RemoteControlTyped.exe




                                                DisplayName=”Power On”

                                                MnemonicDisplayName=”Power On”

                                                Description=”Sends a Power On Command”









                                                                <Parameters>-p On -host ##SUB:Name## -krb -tls</Parameters>








                                                Description=”Sends a Reboot Command”









                                                                <Parameters>-p powercycle -host ##SUB:Name## -krb -tls</Parameters>






                                                DisplayName=”Power Off”

                                                MnemonicDisplayName=”Power Off”

                                                Description=”Sends a Power Off Command”









                                                                <Parameters>-p Off -host ##SUB:Name## -krb -tls</Parameters>






                                                DisplayName=”Graceful Reboot (AMT 9+ only)”

                                                MnemonicDisplayName=”Graceful Reboot (AMT 9+ only)”

                                                Description=”Sends a graceful reboot command (AMT 9+ only)”









                                                                <Parameters>-p gracefulreset -host ##SUB:Name## -krb -tls</Parameters>






                                                DisplayName=”Graceful Shutdown (AMT 9+ only)”

                                                MnemonicDisplayName=”Graceful Shutdown (AMT 9+ only)”

                                                Description=”Sends a graceful shutdown command (AMT 9+ only)”









                                                                <Parameters>-p gracefuloff -host ##SUB:Name## -krb -tls</Parameters>




At the end we have something like this




Enjoy the right-click menu

Read more >

Ransomware in Healthcare: 21 Preventative Steps You Can Take

Ransomware has reached headlines lately with several healthcare organizations globally falling victim, as seen in As Ransomware Crisis Explodes, Hollywood Hospital Coughs Up $17,000 In Bitcoin. Breaches are top of mind in healthcare as far as security and privacy, and within many types of breaches ransomware is the highest priority across most healthcare organizations I have worked with over the last six months.


Compliance with regulations, laws and standards is important, but increasingly organizations realize they need to go well beyond basic regulatory compliance to effectively mitigate risk of breaches, and they are motivated up to the board level with the strong desire to not be the next breach or ransomware victim and headline. Ransomware.jpg


While most security concerns to date have revolved around breaches of confidentiality, or unauthorized access to patient information, ransomware is not a breach of confidentiality, but rather of availability. In security speak, “availability” is timely and reliable access to patient information. Ransomware prevents access to patient information by encrypting this information and withholding the decryption key until a ransom is paid. Exacerbating this, paying a ransom is no guarantee of provision of the decryption key.


As we have seen, this can compromise mission critical services to where hospitals need to turn patients away. Healthcare is particularly vulnerable to this type of breach because they are generally lagging other verticals in security, and have a very low tolerance for disruption. I suspect this problem is a lot worse than most people realize because many ransomware infections go unreported, as many countries lack breach notification rules, or those rules cover compromise to confidentiality, but not availability as in the case of ransomware.


A real danger in securing against this type of breach is the tendency to gravitate to one particular safeguard, such as backup and restore, which while important is just one of many things you can do to secure yourself against ransomware. In this blog, I explore several different safeguards you should consider as part of your holistic, multi-layered, defense-in-depth approach in securing against ransomware. None of these alone is a panacea. Together they represent a very effective, holistic, multi-layered, defense-in-depth security posture against ransomware.


  1. Policy: ransomware often starts with employee actions and mistakes. Examples include clicking malicious links in emails or websites, opening email attachments, plugging in malware infected removable storage devices such as USB keys and so forth. Policy governs employee actions. Is your policy accurate, complete and up to date, especially as it pertains to employee actions that can lead to ransomware infections?
  2. Audit and Compliance: policy is a critical foundation of your security practice. To ensure employees are following it you need audit and compliance, in particular to ensure employee compliance with policy in the areas that could lead to ransomware infection.
  3. Risk Assessment: risk assessment is a key tool to identify risks to confidentiality, integrity and availability of patient information, including for risks such as ransomware. You can prioritize risks by impact and probability of occurrence, triage the top risks and address them through application of safeguards. The business impact of ransomware goes well beyond the ransom that may be paid since it can disrupt your mission critical business systems and processes and effectively halt your business.
  4. Anti-malware: having a good anti-malware solution installed on all endpoints, updated and effective is key in detection and remediation, for example quarantine, of malware including ransomware. You will not catch all ransomware this way, but many, especially older variants, will be caught.
  5. User Awareness Training: most ransomware infections start with employee actions. Training can help employees detect and avoid actions that could lead to infections. Again, not a perfect safeguard, but important in your overall anti-ransomware defense. Spear phishing training is particularly important to include in your overall training program.
  6. Email Gateway: email is a key ransomware infection vector, with spear phishing emails containing malicious links coaxing employees to click them, in which case a drive-by-download and infection of ransomware can result. Your email gateway can oversee emails and detect and block many of these.
  7. Web Gateway: web browsing (and clicking) is another key infection vector, with employees visiting websites and inadvertently clicking on malicious links that cause ransomware infections, again by drive-by-downloads. A good web gateway can detect many such websites, and help block these types of infections.
  8. Vulnerability Management and Patching: vulnerable devices and software create openings for malware and ransomware infections. A good vulnerability management program can identify vulnerabilities, for example in old, unpatched, or misconfigured software, and proactively remediate such vulnerabilities to block ransomware.
  9. Security Incident Response Plan: in the event of an infection such as ransomware, how your organization responds is key to faster resolution and minimizing business impact. Having a good, tested plan that employees can execute to quickly and efficiently, with good coordination, is key to enabling this. This plan should include PR and communications for breach notification if needed.
  10. Backup and Restore: currently the “safeguard du jour” for ransomware, backup and restore is critical. Have it, use it (everywhere you have data), test it (test restore regularly), and make sure it is versioned, and some versions air-gapped with offline backup archives. Ransomware may get into your backups too, depending on when it occurs in your backup cycle, and how quickly you detect it and stop it, but if you have versioning and / or an air-gapped backup then you will have a workable backup version to restore. Keep in mind this is not a panacea though, since rolling back to a previous backup version effectively undoes updates since then, and missing patient information updates can translate into direct risks to patient safety and business impact. This is why backup and restore is necessary but not sufficient. It is far preferable to avoid ransomware in the first place.
  11. Device Control: this is the ability to enforce policy regarding removable storage. For example if an employee plugs in a ransomware infected removable storage device such as a USB key, this safeguard can enforce policy preventing ransomware jumping from the device to your IT network.
  12. Penetration Testing and Vulnerability Scanning: as seen in FBI raises alarm over ransomware targeting U.S. businesses ransomware can enter your network through vulnerable or unpatched software, especially software facing the external Internet. Proactive penetration testing such external facing applications and interfaces to identify and remediate such vulnerabilities is key to mitigating risk of this type of ransomware infection.
  13. Endpoint DLP: Data Loss Prevention software running on endpoint devices can enforce policy and help prevent user actions that can lead to malware infections such as ransomware.
  14. Network Segmentation: segmenting your network can help quarantine or localize any malware infections to prevent propagation across your network. This can limit the extent of infection, lessening business impact, and enabling faster resolution.
  15. Network IPS: a network Intrusion Prevention System can monitor network traffic to detect and prevent malicious activity, such as that which could lead to a ransomware infection.
  16. Whitelisting: useful on endpoint devices, whitelisting limits which applications can execute to a small list of approved applications. If ransomware was to get onto a machine with whitelisting it would be benign on that machine since it is not on the approved list of applications and therefore blocked from executing, and therefore unable to encrypt any patient information. This type of safeguard can be particularly useful on medical devices that don’t get patched or updated frequently.
  17. Network DLP: this type of DLP runs on a network and can enforce policy, including detection and prevention of network interactions and traffic that could lead to ransomware infection.
  18. Digital Forensics: in the event of an infection, digital forensics can help identify the type of ransomware, the extent of infection, and how it occurred, which are key to reducing business impact, and preventing future infections.
  19. SIEM: Security Information and Event Management can help provide realtime analysis of security alerts from across your applications and network, enabling faster detection and remediation of ransomware.
  20. Threat Intelligence Exchange: this can enable realtime exchange of threat information between safeguards in your network, and a global threat intelligence backbone from your security provider(s), helping orchestrate defense against ransomware. This is a critical part of the “immune response” of your organization to ransomware, which will help stop it and kill it as fast as possible.
  21. Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery: as we have seen some recent high profile ransomware infections have essentially shutdown the information technology systems of healthcare organizations, crippling mission critical business processes to the point where they had to send patients elsewhere. Having a good BC / DR capability with mirroring of data and hot standby can be helpful in keeping mission critical systems going while remediation is occurring. The effectiveness of this safeguard against ransomware depends on ransomware not propagating to your hot standby system, as can be prevented by various safeguards discussed previously.


No organization wants to be “at the back of the herd” or “low hanging fruit” for attacks such as ransomware. It has been difficult in the past for healthcare organizations to measure or benchmark their breach security against the rest of the healthcare industry. It is one thing having a gap in your safeguards if everyone else has that gap. However, if you have a gap and most others don’t then you could be relatively vulnerable.


Intel Health and Life Sciences and several industry partners are currently conducting complementary, confidential breach security assessments for provider, payer, pharma and life sciences organizations globally. Through this one hour engagement healthcare organizations are able to benchmark their breach security across 42 safeguard capabilities and 8 different types of breaches, including ransomware, against the rest of the industry to see what percentile they are in terms of readiness, and gaps and opportunities for improvement they may have.

Read more >

SE7210TP1-E server board loses memmory

Have a SE7210TP1-E server board and since I added a nvidia ge force 6200  pci graphics card the system reserved 1 gig of ram for it self.


Question is WHY?

Have 4 gig ram onboard, if I unplug graphics card I have 4 gig system ram available again. WHY?


The onboard graphics card is a ATI rage 2 xl chipset with 8 meg ram.

The onboard graphics cant handle video data of today anymore.

Read more >

Riding and Taming Security’s Perfect Storm with Intel Core vPro

Cyberthreats, unfortunately, never take a holiday. In fact, with each passing day, attacks become more numerous, organized, powerful, and, with the explosion in smart devices and cloud-based systems, more opportunistic.


No wonder 50 percent of the 182 IT professionals who participated in Computerworld’s Forecast 2016 survey said they plan to increase spending on security technologies in the next 12 months. Security ran a close second after cloud computing as the most important technology project currently underway at their organizations.


Security’s ‘Perfect Storm’

Mike Seawright, director of security business development at Intel, discussed these challenges in Secure Your Business, our latest webinar in the Business Devices Webinar Series. Not only are IT security professionals facing increasing complexity with more devices and the shift to cloud computing, but they must act quickly, as organizations can be compromised in mere minutes, while utilizing limited staffing and budget resources.


The latest devices with Intel vPro technology offer a solid first line of defense in preventing threats. Built on Intel’s security technologies, each successive generation delivers evolutionary security capabilities. Intel Core vPro processors feature remote capabilities that allow scarce IT staff resources to maximize their efficiency in protecting compute devices across the enterprise.

What Aspects of Security Are Most Important?

Unfortunately, there is no easy strategy to take in IT security. “Security is complicated—sorry folks!” Mike said. To be truly secure, he explained, IT departments need to defend all areas against modern attacks: identity, platform, data, and applications.

However, Mike explained, a whopping half of all security breaches stem from identity and authentication gaps, so stronger authentication is a key part of security. Fortunately, Intel and Microsoft work collaboratively to combat security threats with user-friendly features and technologies such as True Key by Intel Security, Microsoft Credential Guard, and Intel Identity Protection Technology Multifactor Authentication.

These and other multifaceted defensive tactics and tools were explained in the hour-long webinar, which included a Q&A session. Here is a sample of what webinar participants had on their minds:

Q: I have health care clients. Do you have a security checklist?


Mike: Our health care team has a presentation you could use for this. Send me a note at


Q: Does True Key update itself?


Mike: True Key is like most software in that some portions will update automatically if that setting is applied. But then as we have major releases, it will usually require a user update.


Q: Are there any encryption key “manager” apps available for SMBs or partners that are acting as the IT department for multiple SMBs?


Mike: The McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator does a nice job of this. Another vendor to look at would be Venafi.


If you missed the webinar, you can listen in to the on-demand version available now and hear other questions and answers as well as download the presentation slides.


Ask a Question, Win a Tablet

This month, the lucky winners of a new Intel-based tablet and a new set of SMS Audio BioSport Smart Earbuds are Ed Goad of MeteorComm and D. Komnick of Advanced Business Technology Services, respectively. Congrats to both! And, if you didn’t win this time, you’ll have another chance to ask questions and win at the next webinar, which is sure to be a popular one: Introducing 6th Gen Intel Core vPro.


If you’ve already registered for the Business Devices Webinar Series, you’re all set: just click on the link in the reminder email you’ll receive a day or two before the event. But if you need to register, you can join our next webinar by clicking here.


  With the latest Intel Core vPro processor-based devices, more businesses big and small can set and reach their New Year’s resolution to make their entire enterprise more secure.

Read more >

Happily Ever After: Windows 10 and Intel Core vPro a Perfect Match for Better Productivity, Security, Manageability

By the time a couple is married 21 years, they’ve had their share of disagreements, unlocked the mysteries of the other, and, happily, come to the realization that they’re better together than not.


Such is the double-decade partnership between Intel and Microsoft, which has persevered through tech booms and busts. The “Better Together: Windows 10 and Intel Core vPro Processor-based Devices” webinar glimpsed into the future with the Intel Core vPro processor and Microsoft OS, Windows 10. We saw how they work together to raise the bar in enterprise computing, with much excitement from end users, IT and business decision makers, and OEMs.


Windows 10 fully supports the Intel vPro pillars of strength—productivity, security, and manageability—with a familiar Windows 7-based user interface and numerous new dynamic features. For example, for better productivity, Microsoft host expert Stephen Rose explained how a device used as a PC with a keyboard and mouse can switch for optimal tablet use. Windows 10 responds automatically by adjusting window size for touch-based actions and biometrics.

Sixth-gen Intel Core vPro processor-based devices “are the most manageable, most productive, and most secure platform for enterprise,” webinar Intel technology expert Greg Reiff said. Intel Core vPro has enabled the creation of more streamlined form factors that are 50 percent thinner, 50 percent lighter than devices more than four years old, and use much less power.

With the newest features in Windows 10, users and IT departments can build more security around their data and devices. Features such as Intel Virtualization Technology prevent unauthorized software from being loaded, and Intel SSD Pro Series Data Protection guards data off-network. These features on the back end support the mission on the front end to “kill the password,” according to Rose, by “moving away from what you know [passwords] to what you have; things like your face (detected via Intel RealSense and Microsoft Hello), fingerprints, and wearables.”

Webinar attendees were clamoring to know more, asking many questions during the interactive Q&A. Here’s a sample:

Q: Can you add biometric devices to older PCs that run Windows 10?

Steve Forsberg (Intel host expert): You could attach an external RealSense camera if your older hardware does not have an infrared camera integrated.

Q: Are the new Intel Q170 chipset machines shipping now?

Greg Reiff (Intel host expert): Some are shipping but not as enterprise Intel Core vPro platforms [those are scheduled for release soon].

Q: Is the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 tablet available through distribution?

Stephen Rose (Microsoft host expert): Yes. We have a wide variety of resellers including Dell, CDW, and others.

Q: Is the process/recommendation of upgrading the UEFI published somewhere?

Greg Reiff: Upgrading a platform’s BIOS to UEFI is OEM-specific. Each OEM should have an upgrade guide on their support site under drivers > firmware > download. If vPro is enabled, we have best practices documents on

As with all webinars in the Business Devices Webinar Series, participants were entered into a drawing for an Intel-based tablet or a set of SMS Audio BioSport smart earbuds. Congratulations to tablet winner Kent Liu of Williams-Sonoma and to Andy Yu of American Portwell Technologies for scoring the cool earbuds!

Our next webinar is happening December 9, 10 a.m. PST. Be sure to attend, because it’s all about security: what the key risks are, how to manage them, and ways to prepare with the latest solutions from our top technology experts.

If you’ve already registered for the Business Devices Webinar Series, click on the link in the reminder email you’ll receive a day or two before the event. If you need to register, we’d love to have you join our next session by clicking here.

The “Better Together: Windows 10 and Intel Core vPro Processor-based Devices” webinar can be watched anytime on demand if you missed it. For more on how Windows 10 and the latest Intel technology can help businesses overcome their challenges, read this recent white paper.

It’s exciting to see how ongoing collaboration between Intel and Microsoft continues to advance better, more efficient, and more amazing experiences in the world of enterprise computing.

Read more >

Graphics Driver issue

I recently upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 10 and now when my grandson tries to play Minecraft he gets an error message that the graphics driver needs updated.  I determined that it currently has a Intel Driver and I ran the Intel Driver Utility and it came back and said no drivers were needed.  I thought I would try and manually download a driver but when I went to the list of Intel drivers there was not one for Windows 10.  Only Windows 7 and Vista.  I tried to download that one and received an error message that my computer did not meet the minimum requirements.  Has anyone else run into a similar issue and if so how did you resolve it?

Read more >

Multiple Alarms Feature

Hello, I am trying to remotely configure 150ish PC’s with multiple AMT Alarms.  I can see from this webpage that AMT 8.0 and later supports the Multiple Alarm Feature, and all of our machines are 8.1 or newer.  I have successfully created individual alarms on multiple machines at once using the Intel vPro PowerShell GUI.  (Very hand tool BTW.)  I assume however that the tool was built before the ability to have multiple alarms as the option to set them does not exist in the GUI.  When I run a Get-Help command on Set-AMTAlarmclock I don’t see a reference to the “ElementName” filed mentioned in the link above that appears to identify the individual alarms.


I’m fairly new to AMT and PowerShell and would appreciate any guidance you can provide.


I apologize if this is not the correct Forum, I couldn’t find another that was more relevant.  I realize this is not related to Intel SCS.


Thank you for your time,




Read more >