Saturday, April 24, 2010

Manage and secure PCs anywhere with Microsoft's cloud based Intune

Microsoft has released another cloud based client machines management tool which can be integrated with MDOP and can be leverage to manage all your client machines from a IE browser virtually from anywhere. Windows Intune delivers cloud-based management and security capabilities that are administered through a simple Web-based console based on silverlight. This tool can be best used in small business segment where you do not have resources to set up an on premise desktop management solution and want all the features of enterprise solution with much less TCO.

This is what Intune service allows you to do from a web console

You need to install the intune client agent on all the machines which you want to manage. Once that is done after 30 minutes or so the computers will come up in unassigned computers group and from there you can place it in self created relevant group.

You can configure the products for which you need updates along with classification of updates and if you want you can also set a auto approval rule. This otherwise needs to be done by either using winows update service in individual clients or leveraging windows update service server [WSUS] but here we can configure our clients by sitting anywhere, anytime.

you can choose what kind of patches you want to be deployed and you can also configure auto approval rules. intune service provides great alert monitoring capabilities. There are around 949 alerts that you can configure using intune service. If a particular client machine generates an alert administrator can receive an email if configured or else can see alerts in browser itself.

Once you register for intune service beta you get only one admin user email from Microsoft however you can configure multiple administrator accounts to monitor your client machines however I have yet not checked what kind of delegation abilities have been provided.

As mentioned above the product allows you to monitor your patch installations and allows you to grab different reports like Update/software, license purchase and license installed can configure reporting for a particular computer group or as required.

The Web browser also allows you to creat policies for intune client agent, when to schedule malware scan, what folders to exclude, frequencey to look for new updates, firewall settings etc. you can also add licenses agreements and can manage licensing information from web broswer itself.

In short the first version windows Intune looks promising for management of client machines and a great example of how clouds can help in reducing operation and maintennance costs and simplified way of accessing information can be leveraged to make life of a client PC administrator better. You can MDOP tool with intune service to  manage your clients in a better way. Windows Intune customers have access to download and use advanced PC management tools delivered through the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) [if you meet the criteria mentioned below]. This set of advanced PC management tools complements the capabilities of the Windows Intune cloud service and includes:

 Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT)

 Microsoft Advanced Group Policy Management (AGPM)

 Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V)

 Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V)

 Microsoft System Center Desktop Error Monitoring (DEM)

 Microsoft Asset Inventory Service (AIS) (Note: This functionality is included in the Windows Intune cloud service)

MDOP is available for test and evaluation if you meet one of the following criteria:
You are a Windows Software Assurance (SA) customer. MDOP is available to SA customers through the Microsoft Volume License Service Center. OR You are a Microsoft MSDN or TechNet subscriber.

All that Intune can do for you [check video here]

Hope this was informational and gives you an overview of windows Intune. Thanks and see you again shortly as Microsoft has released system center service manager 2010 which is promising and I will try to cover its features too and how it helps in implementing ITIL/MOF process in your IT management.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! This may be one of the best, most detailed articles I've seen yet regarding MS Cloud and how it can best be leveraged for the SMB owners. Very thorough job done, and I especially love the way you've walked the user through the process.. I just wanted to chime in that if SMB owners have any additional information they can also check out the Cloud Computing site for small to medium businesses.

    Cloud Computing:

    The Microsoft SMB Outreach Team