Microsoft unveils its second public beta for Windows Intune, an IT management platform with cloud-based tools, at the Worldwide Partner Conference.
the second public beta for Windows Intune, its security and management tool for
IT administrators, on July 12 here at its annual Worldwide Partner Conference.
Microsoft officials indicated during meetings with eWEEK that the tool was now
aimed at the enterprise, in addition to the small and midsize businesses targeted
by the first public beta.
WPC is a chance for Microsoft to promote
the benefits of its partner network and to offer those partners a wide variety
of events to attend, such as hands-on labs. The cloud has been front and center,
with new products being announced such as the Windows Azure Platform Appliance,
a service that brings Windows Azure's cloud-development capabilities into a
company's data center; the announcement of a second public beta for Intune,
too, can be seen as part of the cloud push.
"The goal of this beta is to gather the feedback we need to ensure a
quality final release-so we ask that you only sign up for this beta if you are
able to test it on at least five PCs," Alex Heaton, group product manager
for Windows Intune, wrote
July 12 on The Windows Blog.
"Windows Intune will include the cloud
management service with integrated anti-malware (AV and anti-spyware) plus
Windows 7 Enterprise upgrade rights."
The cost will be $11 per seat, per month. Windows Intune gives IT
administrators a highly granular level of control over a network, with a
dashboard that monitors the status and security of a network's PCs. For
administrators, this means the streamlined ability to carry out tasks such as
setting automatic antivirus policy, checking whether software licenses are
up-to-date, and diagnosing PCs using the Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery
This second beta features a tool, apparently suggested by Microsoft's
partners, that allows IT administrators to manage multiple customers. After
logging into Intune, an administrator can see which customers have a critical
alert, and be taken to their machines.
Intune also includes a Windows 7 Enterprise upgrade subscription, allowing
businesses to install a common operating system platform on their networks'
PCs. In previous conversations with eWEEK, Microsoft executives indicated that, while
the actual development of Intune
is relatively recent, the company has
been contemplating using the cloud to aid IT administrators' maintenance
routines for some time.
In April, Microsoft rolled out the first public beta of Intune to around
1,000 users; less than two days later, the company closed testing to new users,
saying it had reached capacity. This current beta test involves a larger pool
of 10,000 users. Intune is scheduled to debut in early 2011.
"We want to have all the pieces in the cloud that businesses need in
order to use the cloud," Heaton said in a July 12 interview with eWEEK.
"If they want to do management and security from the cloud, they can use