Thanks to Mary Jo Foley’s ZDNet post from yesterday (“Microsoft goes public with its plan to manage Windows, iOS, and Android devices“) I found myself poking around on the MS Windows Intune pages this morning. As with much of the rest of Microsoft’s web presence, these pages are now built on HTML5 and CSS3, and carry a distinct flavor of the “Windows Store UI” (or what I call TIFKAM, short for “The Interface Formerly Known As Metro”).
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Here’s a sample of some graphical elements from the Windows Intune page
The newly-upgraded offering works with Microsoft’s own Windows Intune cloud management service, with System Center 2012 Service Pack 1, and Windows Azure Services for Windows Server. This latter item supports what MS is calling a “Cloud OS” to provide “…a consistent platform across customer datacenters, service provider datacenters, and the Microsoft public cloud” (quote from MS press release entitled “Microsoft Advances the Cloud OS With New Management Solutions“). This latest release of the Windows Intune server when combined with SCCM 2012 SP1, permits IT organizations to “…crack the bring-your-own-device challenge.” According to Mary Jo Foley, the latest release provides capabilities for managing iOS (iPad, iPhone, and network-enabled iPods) and Android (smartphones and tablets) devices, along with Windows PCs, tablets, and so forth (including Windows 8 RT tablets), and with certain Windows Phone devices as well.
This sounds pretty intriguing but also potentially troublesome and time-consuming. I’m going to grab hold of this technology and see how it works with my collection of iOS devices (we have 4 in the household right now: 2 iPhones, an one each iPad and iPod) and Windows desktop, notebook, and tablet PCs (8 of them, including 4 machines running Windows 8 [1 tablet, 1 desktop, 2 notebooks], and another 4 running Windows 7 [2 notebooks and 2 desktops]). If Intune can help me manage and control all of these machines it could be a huge boon, and might also portend well for businesses at all scales. Stay tuned!