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Intel TXT: Trusted Execution Technology

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Cisco Employee

UCS support for TXT can be a little confusing, so here's a breakdown of what you need to know.

In short, Intel Trusted Execution Technology gives us a way to be cryptographically certain that an operating system or hypervisor is trusted before it is allowed to boot up. It is a relatively new feature built on top of the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) architecture. I'm oversimplifying, but for the full details you can take a look at Intel's website on TXT.

In order to make use of TXT, you need three things:

  1. An M3-generation UCS server. Any of the following will do:
    • B200, B22, B420 blades
    • C220, C240, C22, C24 rackmounts
  2. A TPM Module Kit option must be physically installed in the server.
  3. Support for TPM must be enabled in the server's BIOS:
    1. Reboot the server.
    2. Watch during bootup for the F2 prompt, and then press F2 to enter BIOS setup.
    3. Log in to the BIOS Setup utility with your BIOS Administrator password.
    4. Select the Security tab. Verify that TPM State now says Enabled & Activated.
    5. Verify that the Intel Virtualization Technology (VT) and the Intel VT for Directed I/O (VT-d) features are enabled (the factory default).
    6. Select the Advanced tab of the utility, then select Processor Configuration.
    7. Select Intel Trusted Execution Technology and set it to Enabled.

Since TXT is pretty new and fairly uncommon, UCS Manager doesn't yet support it in the GUI so you'll have to enable it manually in the BIOS for now.

Older M2 and M1-generation UCS without Xeon E5 don't support TXT but they do support TPM when the hardware is installed.

Intel keeps a list of supported platforms for TXT at this address.

3 Comments
Enthusiast

Hello Daniel,

Thanks for the article and do you know when UCS manager will start to support TXT in the GUI?

Mike

Cisco Employee

It's on its way... Let me catch up with you offline.

Enthusiast

Just recieved word There is a POR for TPM inventory in UCSM mid-2013

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