Windows Intune–What is it and why should you care?

One of the major focuses this week at TechEd and for Microsoft in general is cloud computing and cloud based services. One of the services getting some real love this week is Windows Intune. In this post I’ll be introducing the Intune service and explaining how it can benefit you.

Windows Intune is a service that provides security and management capabilities through the cloud and a web-based management console. With Intune, you get malware protection, policy management, system health alerting and more.

Key Features:

  • Centrally manage deployment of Microsoft updates
  • Malware protection using the same engine as Forefront Endpoint Protection
  • Provide Remote Assistance to your users from anywhere
  • Track PCs and track software license usage
  • Centrally manage firewall and malware settings for PCs connected to the service

I’ve just started using the service today, but what I like I about it is the usability. Unlike deploying Windows Server Update Services, Forefront Endpoint Protection and System Center Operations Manager locally to achieve the same integration, managing Windows Intune is a breeze. Most of the hard stuff is done for you, freeing you up to take care of what matters the most.

Installation of the Intune client is a breeze. One click to download a ZIP file that has the executable and necessary files to associate the client, and then installation takes place seamlessly and silently.

Windows Intune supports Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate SKUs and is reasonably priced at $11 per device per month.

TechEd North America 2011–What’s been announced on Day 1?

Here’s the no frills quick and dirty run down on some of what was announced today at TechEd 2011.

Windows Azure:

  • New May CTP of Windows Azure AppFabric with new messaging capabilities for publication and subscription. Available today.
  • Coming in June, a CTP of AppFabric Application Manager and Developer Tools with enhancements to Visual Studio, new runtime capabilities for automatic deployment and application monitoring, and a new AppFabric Composition Model. Expected availability in June.
  • Coming later this summer to SQL Azure, an enhancements to the web based management portal, better schema management, new service to manage SQL Azure databases through OData, and the integration of import and export features in the management portal. Features coming in a service update later this summer.

System Center:

  • Demoed System Center ‘Concero’ during keynote for managing private cloud resources and public cloud resources.
  • System Center Orchestrator 2012 (Formerly Opalis) an IT process automation platform for orchestrating workflows across systems. Expected availability – Beta in June 2011
  • Demoed System Center Connector for Visual Studio to quickly escalate issues to engineering teams for review and fixes if necessary. In beta today, final release date not yet known.

Forefront:

  • Forefront Endpoint Protection 2012 announced today, built on System Center Configuration Manager, and designed to allow IT to use existing infrastructure to deploy and manage endpoints in their networks. In beta today, final release date not yet known.

Windows Phone 7:

  • Lync 2010 for Windows Phone was shown off and will be available on the Windows Phone Marketplace around the time Mango is released.
  • Out of box support in Mango for Office 365
  • Conversation view, information rights management, pinnable email folders, complex password support and server side search for Outlook Mobile.
  • All features coming with Windows Phone “Mango” around Holiday 2011

Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010:

  • Service Pack 1 for both Office and Sharepoint 2010 will be released in June, with improved Internet Explorer 9 functionality, improvements to Office Web Apps, support for Google Chrome, and updates for other products in the Office 2010 family. Service Pack 1 will be released June 2011.

Tech-Ed North America 2011: Day 0 – Recap

After following the very poor directions given to me about finding the shuttle to bring me to the hotel, and being lied to and ripped off for 20 bucks (yes, I’m bitter.), I made it to my hotel, the Marriott Marquis in Downtown Atlanta. Check in was fairly effortless, and I’ve got a very nice room on an upper floor of the hotel with a great view of the city. For the week, Microsoft has invested in custom room keys, sponsored by Windows Intune, with an attached map of the downtown area.

After getting settled in my room, I met up with Randy Guthrie, Academic Developer Evangelist and some Imagine Cup USA Finals winners as well as other invited students, and had a quick bite to eat while waiting for everyone to arrive. Once everyone arrived, we made the 15 minute walk over to the Georgia World Congress Center, and along the way passed by CNN Center, World of Coca-Cola, and the Phillips Arena. While at the GWCC, took a quick walking tour of where keynote would be, the exhibit hall, bloggers lounge, etc. After the tour was over, we went out to dinner and then made final arrangements for the morning.

On Day 1 we’ll see announcements from Jason Zander and Robert Wahbe and from what I’m hearing these announcements will be interesting.

Here are some photos from Day 0: