Microsoft Windows Intune, the cloud-based remote PC management solution and a close cousin to Microsoft System Center, is being upgraded with a host of new features Oct. 17, 2011. If you've already been using the most recent beta, this is probably old news, but Intune is getting software distribution capabilities, remote task support, better reporting and more.
As a quick crash-course, Microsoft Intune is a cloud-based subscription service where Windows desktop and smartphone administrators pay $11 per device per month. Thanks to that cloud approach, current subscribers will get this new version immediately with no additional downloads required, with the exact upgrade time made known two weeks before the big switch. Beta users have until Nov. 17 to get back with the program.
In the meanwhile, here's what the Microsoft Windows Team is listing in its official blog entry as the highlights of this new release:
- Software Distribution: With this release, administrators can deploy most Microsoft and third-party updates or applications to PCs nearly anywhere over the Internet.
- Remote Tasks: IT can remotely perform the following tasks on Windows Intune managed PCs from the administration console: Full scan, Quick scan, Update Malware Definition and Restart.
- Read-Only Access: IT pros and partners can give select administrators read-only access to the administration console so they can view PC information as needed, but not perform any configuration tasks.
- Enhanced Reporting: Create hardware reports based on new hardware filters for common hardware characteristics. Additionally, you can now create and save report parameters to make it easy and efficient to run a report again in the future.
The overall goal apparently remains getting Intune to the point of feature parity with Microsoft System Center, which is increasingly finding its channel audience. Moreover, Redmond (and key allies such as Tech Data) has been giving its partners training in Windows Intune, and continues to promote it to especially smaller companies who want to reap the benefits of the cloud-based management platform.
TalkinCloud will be watching closely for more clues on Intune's future, so stay tuned.