Microsoft Pitches Tools in the Cloud

Microsoft’s cloud-based online system management tools have exited testing and will be officially released today at the Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Intune was intended to give small and medium-sized companies access to enterprise-class system management tools via the cloud, and with an attractive price tag.

The company began beta testing the Intune service last April.

Intune provides a Web-based management console, enabling IT managers to administer PCs from a browser interface. The service is designed to provide a cloud-based, all-in-one solution covering anti-malware, update management, software and hardware inventory and remote assistance technology, the company said.

“Windows Intune is a cloud-based PC management and security solution that will help you manage and secure PCs from virtually anywhere — all you need is an internet connection,” Gavriella Schuster, general manager for Windows product management, told

The cost for a standalone Intune subscription is $11 per user per month, Schuster said.

After starting out with 1,000 customers testing the first Intune beta in July, Microsoft relaxed the limits to allow another 10,000 testers to participate.

In late September, Microsoft announced it had stopped accepting new beta testers.

Also Wednesday, Microsoft will begin beta testing one updated component of its popular Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP), an optional bundle that provides administrative tools, including virtualization technologies. Additionally, in early April, a second component will also ship.

Microsoft just released an updated version of MDOP earlier this month that enhanced support for application virtualization.

The first of the two components is a new management tool called Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM), for streamlining Windows 7 BitLocker compliance reporting, provisioning, and deployment.

The other component is called the Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT). The new version of DaRT will be able to let administrators or help desk staff take control of a user’s computer without having to visit the user’s desktop to install software.

MDOP costs an extra dollar per user per month. The updated tools will be part of the next release of MDOP during the third quarter.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.

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