BVA has been in the cloud for sometime. Obviously being in the cloud means alot of different things to alot of different people. Everyone seems to have their own spin on the term. For some time now we have wondered if Microsoft would come out with System Center for the cloud (BPOS). The overall BPOS solution has been fairly stable and successful yet there have been a few pitfalls but have worked through them with support.
As its core, Windows Intune is a cloud-based version of the desktop management capabilities customers could previously get by deploying Microsoft System Center technologies. For those that do not know that Microsoft System Center, it’s basically a bunch of older product put together via a large suite of applications. That being said the applications contributed are valid and great products. It’s basically the old SMS desktop management system and basically MOM. These are tried and tested application that BVA has deployed for several years, yet all required their own on-premise servers. Therefore, Window Intune, rather than hosting a System Center server on-premises and managing desktops from the server, administrators using Windows Intune load a client onto the desktops. Administrators can access, via a browser, the management software and tools in the cloud and manage and secure those desktops through the cloud. In addition to the product features, the monthly subscription will include upgrade rights to Windows 7 Enterprise for every covered desktop and an option to buy the otherwise hard-to-get Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP).
When the first limited beta of Windows Intune arrived in April, Microsoft described it almost exclusively as a midmarket IT-focused offering, with a slightly lower-end core audience than the System Center suite of products reaches. Core capabilities of Windows Intune include the ability to centrally manage the deployment of updates and service packs to PCs, to manage protection of PCs through the Microsoft Malware Protection Engine, to receive alerts that help administrators proactively monitor PCs, provide remote assistance, track hardware and software inventory, and set security policies. For users familiar with Microsoft’s other product families, Windows Intune combines a Web-based management console with the desktop malware protection and reporting of the Microsoft Forefront Protection Suite and the update management, inventory and software deployment of Microsoft System Center Configuration manager 2007 or Microsoft System Center Essentials. Windows Intune also has the operating system distribution capabilities of Configuration Manager.
After reviewing all the facts it seems that this will be a great offering for our client base. We are going to try this out at a client next month and we are looking forward to really seeing the real-world applications and cost savings. I think it is fair to say that I am a little apprehensive about the security associated in imaging desktops through the cloud, but time will tell. As a collective unit, BVA is staying positive with the security and ease of use.