As it continues to expand its cloud strategy, Microsoft is planning to release its latest product called Microsoft Windows Intune, a new SaaS PC management tool.
Currently in beta, Intune requires the installation of an agent on each computer. This agent then manages asset inventory by reporting computer inventory back to the Microsoft data center.
There are a few problems with this approach to IT asset management – in particular, privacy. In essence, you’re telling Microsoft what you’re using. Do you really want them having that kind of visibility into your inventory? Regardless of your license compliance standing, you have to be sure the information won’t be used against you. It reminds us a bit of the old cliches about letting the cat watch the milk, or having the tax man file your tax return.
There are other technology challenges with Intune, as well. It is very Windows-centric and can only support Microsoft products and PCs running Windows. Additionally, its administration console has very specific requirements when it comes to Web browsers (it won’t work with any browser that doesn’t support Silverlight 3.0). When evaluating a discovery or IT asset management solution, make sure you could manage all your IT assets using a single system.
Microsoft also has yet to announce pricing for Intune, leaving interested prospects wondering how much it will really cost once it’s fully available. We’ll continue to provide more updates about Intune as we gather more information.