PC Management as a Service: Windows Intune
Today Windows Intune will be released to the market. Windows Intune is a new cloud service by Microsoft which enables IT Administrators of both IT companies and Microsoft customers to manage their infrastructure. Windows Intune is a Software as a Service solution. The service however is, unlike BPOS, Office 365 and CRM Online 2011, not focused at end users but at the IT Administrator.
Windows Intune has many components that are the same as System Center Configuration Manager. It enables IT admins to manage updates from Microsoft and other popular vendors, it can do an inventory of hardware and software used in an organization, allows IT admins to provide remote assistance, it distributes Microsoft antivirus software, manages policies and enables IT Admins to run all sorts of reports.
Windows Intune not only enables IT Admins to run all these operations online, it also comes with a license to Windows 7 Enterprise. This means organizations using Windows Intune can upgrade their endpoints to the most current and complete version of Windows for organizations. This then allows new scenarios like the usage of BitLocker and DirectAccess.
The ultimate management suite for desktops currently is System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). Windows Intune will also be appealing to many organizations. The most obvious of these are companies without a current desktop management solution. These companies can now acquire an online PC management solution which can almost instantly be put to action. Organizations using Windows Intune don't have to go through a (sometimes) lengthy implementation of SCCM. Next to this the one time investment needed to implement SCCM can be avoided, allowing companies which don't have the budget to invest in such technology to use an enterprise scale solution.
Although Windows Intune is a competitive product to SCCM, it doesn't offer the same functionality. Deployment of software packages and reinstalling desktops for example is currently not possible through Intune. The likely scenario is that Microsoft will offer these services in the near future as well.
Want to get started with Windows Intune? Visit Microsoft's Intune website: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsintune/pc-management-how-to-try-and-buy.aspx