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IBM, Intel developing PC tools

The giants release a new technology designed to make it easier for administrators to remotely manage networked computers.

Incremental additions to the management capabilities of PCs continue to ease the headaches facing network administrators.

Two giants of the PC industry, Intel (INTC) and IBM (IBM), announced new hardware and software capabilities that will alert managers when a variety of problems occur while a machine is running, or even when it is off.

If the new technology, called "Alert-on-LAN," follows the path of a previous effort called "Wake-on-LAN," the new tool should gain broad support from third-party PC manufacturers. The latest introduction is part of an Advanced Manageability Alliance between Intel and IBM, formed in the fall of 1996 in the aftermath of Intel's cost-of-ownership stake in the ground--the Wired for Management initiative.

The latest alerting mechanism essentially allows an administrator to react to a PC problem--such as a change of configuration or operating system error--before a user notifies them. Automation also allows alerts to be sent to an administrator when a PC is removed from a network, even if it is off, which can guard against theft.

IBM executives said the technology would be implemented in some PC lines by the second quarter of this year. Intel executives said third-party manufacturers should follow soon after. The capability will be integrated into each company's PC management software: NetFinity from IBM and LANDesk from Intel.

Intel is an investor in CNET: The Computer Network.