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Next Version of Windows Intune Coming Oct. 17

The next version of Microsoft's Windows Intune cloud service for systems management will be generally available starting Oct. 17.

The release date, announced in a blog post Tuesday by Alex Heaton, director of product management for Windows Intune, is relatively early given that Microsoft had previously promised only that the update would arrive before the end of the year.

Windows Intune provides systems management and security for business versions of Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7, as well as upgrade rights to Windows 7 Enterprise, in the list price of $11 per user per month. A $1-per-month option brings access to the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP).

The launch will come about seven months after the initial release of Windows Intune in March. As a Web service, Windows Intune will be automatically upgraded for existing customers within a few weeks of Oct. 17. The beta service, which started in July at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, will expire on Nov. 17. There is no upgrade path from the beta to the general release; beta users will need to remove the client software and restore computers to their pre-beta state, Heaton wrote.

The key feature of the new release of Intune is software distribution. "With this release, administrators can deploy most Microsoft and third-party updates or applications to PCs nearly anywhere over the Internet," Heaton wrote. The software distribution does not include Windows, however.

Other new features include the ability for IT to perform remote tasks, such as full scan, quick scan, update malware definition and restart; the ability of IT pros and partners to give select users or customers read-only access to the administration console; and report enhancements.

Customers of Windows Intune will be using another Microsoft cloud service under the hood. The October release of Windows Intune will use Microsoft Azure for software distribution. When administrators load software distribution packages, Windows Intune will leverage Microsoft's Azure infrastructure to stage them and distribute them to client systems.

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About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.