Late last week we brought you the rumor that today would mark the official release of the Windows Intune 2.0 beta. That rumor was correct, and the software is now available for download.
If you want to grab the beta, head here. Stick around if you want to hear us explain what it is, and why it matters.
Intune is Microsoft’s cloud solution that allows for the management and securing of computers by IT denizens through the browser. It fits into Microsoft’s ‘all in on the cloud’ strategy that we have been hearing so much about in recent weeks.
This beta of the second full version of Intune has a number of new components, most importantly (Microsoft’s words):
- Simplify the task of distributing software and updates – In addition to Microsoft patches and updates, you can now use Windows Intune to deploy third-party applications and updates to your managed PCs.
- Manage all your software licenses. If you need a better way to manage all your software licenses, look no further. Now you can upload and track Microsoft Retail and OEM licenses and third-party license agreements in addition to Microsoft Volume License agreements.
- Get better hardware reporting . We’ve made it simple for you to view or create reports on hardware data—including manufacturer, chassis type, available disk space, installed memory, and CPU speed.
Third-party patch support is a critically important issue for many customers who want to implement more targeted patches to address non-common problems. Microsoft previously asked IT “desktop administrators and technical decision makers” who manged 5,000 or more PCs to send in their input to help shape the second version of Intune.
Intune is set to join the Office 365 suite at some date in the future, but Microsoft has not yet released a time-table for its integration. Intune currently costs $11 per ‘seat’ per month, but that cost could be absorbed into the current Office 365 pricing schema when the two are joined.