Now there’s no excuse for businesses lacking in terms of infrastructure designed to administer their computers not to take advantage of the benefits of enterprise-grade PC management. Windows Intune is cheap, requires no infrastructure and is extraordinarily simple to use.
The way I see it, all companies, from small businesses that need management for one PC to corporations with tens of thousands of computers can get something out of Windows Intune.
1. Free trial
Windows Intune is free to test. Customers can sign up for a free trial and leverage Windows Intune on as much as 25 PCs for no less than 30 days, at the end of which they will have the option to purchase the service. The free trial is live in no less than 35 countries worldwide as of March 23rd, 2011.
2. Just $11 per PC per month
Even buying Windows Intune is bound not to have business customers digging all that deep into their pockets. In addition to the PC management, inventory, update capabilities, etc., $11 also gets Forefront-powered antimalware and antispyware, as well as some additional goodies. Gavriella Schuster, Windows Intune general manager of Windows Product Management confirmed to me that Microsoft is also prepared to offer discounts to Volume Customers.
3. Upgrade rights to Windows 7 Enterprise
Already own Windows licenses? Then why not upgrade to Windows 7 Enterprise, at no extra cost. Upgrade rights to the Enterprise SKU of Windows 7 are included in the $11 per PC of a monthly Windows Intune subscription.
4. Upgrade rights to future versions of Windows
And you know what? Not only will $11 per PC per month buy customers upgrade rights to Windows 7 Enterprise right now, but as long as the subscription is valid, they’ll also be able to migrate to Windows 7’s successor when it comes out. And the next version of Windows after that. At no additional cost.
5. Adding Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) 2011 costs just $1 extra
That’s right, for $12 per month customers can leverage not only Windows Intune, but also the recently launched Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) 2011. And just as it is the case with Windows upgrade rights, future versions of MDOP are automatically covered by a subscription.
The Beta of MDOP vNext featuring the Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM) is already available on Microsoft Connect, and early April 2011 will bring with it the Beta Build of the next iteration of Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT).
The promise from Schuster is that the successor of MDOP 2011 will be offered to customers in the third quarter of 2011.
6. Immediate deployment
I already said that Windows Intune doesn’t require an on-premise infrastructure. The best thing about this? Customers won’t have to invest in extra hardware. Windows Intune runs entirely in Microsoft’s Cloud.
7. Enterprise-grade management and security for businesses of all sizes
Small businesses with as little as 1 PC can buy Windows Intune. But the service is scalable, up to 20,000 seats for a single account. Of course, customers can have multiple accounts.
8. It can help save money
According to an IDC study, customers can end up saving as much as $720 per PC per year simply by using Windows Intune to manage computers and keep them secure.
9. Good for partners
Microsoft partners can leverage the multi-account capabilities of the Windows Intune console to manage multiple customers. According to IDC, they can grow their business by as much as 19% in the first year alone.
10. Simple to use
I’ve was surprise of just how simple it is to use Windows Intune. Customers don’t have to be IT professionals in order to master Windows Intune, but if it’s one thing that will convince you, it will be actually using Windows Intune. Did I mention there’s a free trial?
11. Fast release cycle
Schuster made it a point to underline that this is just the start for Windows Intune. The next version of this Cloud-based PC management and security offering is planned for availability by the end of 2011, and new iterations will follow at a very fast pace.