Microsoft Readies Next Intune Release For October

In beta since Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in July, the Intune upgrade also offers new reporting and remote task management features.

Intune is a key element of Microsoft's cloud computing strategy, along with the vendor's Office 365 cloud application suite, Azure cloud development platform and Dynamics CRM Online application. Microsoft has touted Intune, which went live in March, as an opportunity for solution providers to expand into managed services, using the service to manage customers' desktop PCs and networks.

With the new Intune release administrators can deploy new and updated Microsoft and third-party applications to PCs through the Internet -- a capability that was in high demand by both partners and customers, according to the company. The new remote task management features make it possible to remotely perform full and quick PC scans, update malware definitions, and restart PCs from the Intune administration console.

With the enhanced reporting capability service providers and IT administrators can create reports about PC hardware using new hardware filters for common hardware characteristics, according to Microsoft. And the new read-only access feature provides a way to give select administrators read-only access to the Intune administration console, allowing them to view PC information but not perform any configuration tasks.

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Current Intune subscribers will automatically be upgraded in the few weeks after Oct. 17, said Alex Heaton, Intune group product manager, in a blog posted Tuesday. New customers can sign up Oct 17 to begin receiving the new service immediately. The software's beta will end Nov. 17 and all data from beta accounts will be deleted, so Microsoft recommends that beta users remove the client software and restore computers to their pre-beta state, Heaton wrote.

Because the Intune subscription also includes upgrade rights to Windows 7 Enterprise, Microsoft has promoted the cloud service as an opportunity for solution providers to help customers migrate off of the decade-old Windows XP.