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Microsoft To Drop Support for 'Hybrid MDM' Scheme in 2019

Starting Sept. 1, 2019, Microsoft will drop support for hybrid mobile device management (MDM) using Microsoft Intune and System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) -- a model it calls "hybrid MDM."

According to an announcement earlier this week, Microsoft will first block the establishment of new hybrid MDM accounts starting in November 2018. Then, once September 2019 comes around, Microsoft will stop delivering "policy, apps or security updates" to hybrid MDM users.

No new features will be added to the product, as Microsoft is "deprecating" its hybrid MDM solution. Instead, Microsoft is encouraging users to move to Intune on Azure for MDM.

Intune is a service hosted in Microsoft's datacenters for mobile device and mobile application management. It was first released as a "standalone" tool and Microsoft later built a connector to SCCM, which was its hybrid MDM offering. Later, Microsoft delivered a comanagement capability, which lets organizations domain-join devices to both Active Directory and the Azure Active Directory service, permitting the use of Intune or SCCM for managing client devices.

The older hybrid MDM approach will get discontinued, but Microsoft isn't dispensing with comanagement. Microsoft had earlier described comanagement as a way for organizations to transition toward using Intune. However, comanagement perhaps will be sticking around for a while.

"Co-management is where we see growth of customers wanting both on premise and cloud-based management," Microsoft's announcement explained in the FAQ section.

Microsoft has another management scenario called "mixed authority," where some devices are managed by Intune and some are managed by hybrid MDM (Intune plus SCCM). Organizations following this approach will be subject to the hybrid MDM product deprecation happening next year.

Microsoft's announcement also took time to debunk the view that SCCM itself will be going away.

"This change does not affect our interest or investments in ConfigMgr as a solution for on-premises device management," the FAQ indicated. "We will continue to fully support our customers in this area."

Microsoft is deprecating its hybrid MDM product because it lacks the capabilities of Intune on Azure and can't keep up with MDM changes. In addition, hybrid MDM use has shrunk as organizations have moved "to the cloud," Microsoft argued.

The licensing for hybrid MDM already includes Intune on Azure licensing, Microsoft's announcement indicated. Organizations planning to move to Intune on Azure can use Microsoft's "tools and documentation," contact their partner, or request FastTrack for Microsoft 365 or EMS support for guidance, the announcement suggested.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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