AMI announces support for Intel Innovation Engine

Since IDF this Summer, a few UEFI Forum vendors have announced support for Intel’s “Innovation Engine”, which was announced at IDF. Recently, AMI just announced more support for it:

http://ami.com/news/press-releases/?PressReleaseID=335&/American%20Megatrends%20to%20Support%20New%20Intel%C2%AE%20Innovation%20Engine%20Platform%20in%20MegaRAC%C2%AE%20PMX%20Platform%20Management%20Solution/

The problem is, Intel has yet to provide ANY information on this Innovation Engine vaporware. These “we also support Intel IE” press releases, with no information on what Intel IE is, are getting tiresome. Intel, please produce some information on IE, not just get partners to ship vague vaporware press releases!

Arium, ASSET InterTech, and Intel IE

Though I’ve discussed some Intel UEFI debugging so far:
https://firmwaresecurity.com/2015/08/15/low-cost-uefi-debugging-options-for-intel/
I’ve not mentioned Arium’s debugger yet. The Intel Tunnel Mountain UEFI dev board can be used with the Intel UDK Debugger Tool, a 2-system debugging solution that uses Windbg on Windows, GDB on Linux. If you want to trace into silicon, you need to buy some debugging hardware, and a debugger that works with that hardware. One solution is to use Arium’s ITP widget and their debugger. It is EXPENSIVE, so you have to be well-funded to have one of these units, but I’ve heard it is powerful. They have products for ARM and Intel.

ASSET InterTech acquired Arium a while ago, though I still think of them as Arium. 😦

The other week at Intel IDF, Intel announced the Innovation Engine (Intel IE), but no details yet, except for this blog post:
https://firmwaresecurity.com/2015/08/22/intels-new-innovation-engine/

ASSET just blogged about updating their product to support Intel IE, excerpt here:

At this past Intel Developers Forum (IDF) in San Francisco, Intel unveiled some preliminary information on the new Innovation Engine (IE). In a nutshell, the IE is an embedded processor which allows system builders and their partners to build unique, differentiating firmware for server, storage, and networking markets. Differentiation has always been, and always will be, a key challenge for OEMs in the Intel space. Hardware, in and of itself, is very common across platforms designed with Intel silicon. There can be some differentiation based upon using some custom Intel SKUs (if you are a large enough customer), or designing circuit boards which deviate from the platform design guideline recommendations, but these come at a high cost – either in terms of Bill of Materials (BOM) cost, or risk of having a product with lower overall operating margins. Competitive advantage on Intel designs often comes from the embedded firmware, either the BIOS or the Baseboard Management Controller (BMC) code. And in the server world, OEMs are often beholden to the UEFI vendors for customization. So OEMs often invest in customization of system management to create differentiation – which is where the IE comes in. The IE can supplement or replace much of the functionality that may exist on today’s BMCs. In addition, for lower-end systems that may not require BMCs, the IE can provide a platform which delivers system management capabilities at no extra BOM cost. In Intel’s words, “some possible uses include hosting lightweight manageability features in order to reduce overall system cost, improving server performance by offloading BIOS and BMC routines, or augmenting the Intel® Management Engine for such things as telemetry and trusted boot.”

I’m waiting for Intel to release real information on their Innovation Engine.

Read the full ASSET blog post here, to see how they are using Intel IE with their diagnostic products:

http://blog.asset-intertech.com/test_data_out/2015/08/intel-innovation-engine-with-scanworks-embedded-diagnostics.html

http://arium.com/
http://www.asset-intertech.com/

Intel’s new Innovation Engine

Last week at IDF, a few UEFI Forum ecosystem vendors announced support for Intel’s new Innovation Engine (IE). But I still don’t know what it is. All I know so far is that the “Innovation Engine is a small Intel(R) architecture processor and I/O sub-system that will be embedded into future Intel data center platforms“, and that it’s roughly like an integrated service process or base board management controller (BMC). I presume everyone from Intel is taking post-IDF “comp-time” Summer vacation, and haven’t uploaded the IE data sheets to intel.com yet. 😦 So far, this is all I can find is this blog post by Jesse Schrater from last week:

Intel’s New Innovation Engine Enables Differentiated Firmware

Historically, platform embedded firmware limits the ways system-builders can customize, innovate, and differentiate their offerings. Today, Intel is streamlining the route for implementing new features with the creation of an “open engine” for system-builders to run firmware of their own creation or choosing.
    This important advance in platform architecture is known as the Innovation Engine. It was introduced this week at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco.
    The Innovation Engine is a small Intel® architecture processor and I/O sub-system that will be embedded into future Intel data center platforms. The Innovation Engine enables system builders to create their own unique, differentiating firmware for server, storage, and networking markets.
    Some possible uses include hosting lightweight manageability features in order to reduce overall system cost, improving server performance by offloading BIOS and BMC routines, or augmenting the Intel® Management Engine for such things as telemetry and trusted boot.
    These are just a few of the countless possibilities for the use of this new path into the heart of Intel processors. Truthfully, the uses for the Innovation Engine are limited only by the feature’s capability framework and the developer’s imagination.
    It’s worth noting that the Innovation Engine is reserved for system-builder’s code, and not Intel firmware. Intel supplies only the hardware, and the system builder can tailor things from there. And as for security, the Innovation Engine code is cryptographically bound to the system-builder. Code not authenticated by the system-builder will not load.
    As the name suggests, the Innovation Engine will drive a lot of great benefits for OEMs and, ultimately, end users. This embedded core in future Intel processors will foster creativity, innovation, and differentiation, while creating a simplified path for system-builders implementing new features and enabling full customer visibility into code and engine behavior.

Read the full blog post here:
https://communities.intel.com/community/itpeernetwork/datastack/blog/2015/08/19/intel-s-new-innovation-engine-enables-differentiated-firmware

Looking forward to some actual specs… Wondering if ‘open engine’ may imply Open Hardware, or at least Open Source code to interface with device. 🙂