Think you manage to get all the news that has appeared from Microsoft the last month ? don’t think so

So there is alot happening at Microsoft these days. I’ve had trouble my self keeping track what has happend the last weeks or so. Therefore I decided to write this blog to just get an overview myself what’s happend.

Microsoft and Dell launch Cloud Platform Suite

Azure: D-series virtual machine instances

Azure: Network security Groups, Multi NICs on virtual machines, Announcement of Azure Marketplace, New VPN gateway sizes, Force tunnelig, GA of Automation Services, preview of Batch Services, Antimalware of VMs in Azure

Azure: Docker and Microsoft

Azure: Traffic manager, nested profiles

Azure: Website migration tool

Azure: Operations Insight announced

Azure: G-sizes, Premium Storage

Azure: Netscaler and Azure

Azure: General availability for disaster recovery

Azure: PowerShell DSC extensions

Office365: Outlook for Mac

Office365: Builtin MDM

Office365: DLP in Office365

Office365: new plans

Office365: Unlimited Storage


Intune: Secure browser

Intune: MAM features for Office

Intune: Mobile data management

System Center and Windows Server vNext announced

XenMobile vs Configuration Manager & Intune

So this is a discussion I often meet, and will come across more the next weeks and months ahead I belive Smilefjes
Many of the customers I work with are often a full blowen Citrix customer or more forwards Microsoft.

Many are facing the discussion mobility how do we embrace it ? (or from another point of view, how do we manage it ?) and they are doing some research and find often that XenMobile or Intune shows up. So whats the difference between the two ?

Citrix has a long time been the master of delivering workspaces to a user and to any type of device, and with the release of CloudGateway Enterprise they were entering towards delivering mobile based features (for instance allowing them to deliver mobile based applications to a user device trough Citrix client) and with the purchase of ZenPrise last year they went full in. Zenprise was a fullblown MDM solution and now they have integratet CloudGateway (Cloudgateway was the old product which included Storefront, Gateway and AppController) with ZenPrise which is now known as XenMobile Enterprise.

This fits well for Citrix’s image (any device anywhere) and now they can manage any device as well (as long as it is mobile). Also they have developed sandboxed based applications under the category Worx and they can also deploy any applications from the vendors different stores. These Worx applications use Micro-VPN functionality to connect to the infrastructure and are completely seperated from other apps inside the mobile client.
To break it down in components XenMobile (Enterprise) consists of
* Netscaler (Gateway)
* Storefront
* AppController
* XenMobile MDM
* Sharefile

Then on the other side you have Microsoft, which is coming from a client management standpoint, and they have been there for quite some time. With the latest release of Configuration Manager, Microsoft released a connection with Intune which allowed buisneses to manage mobile devices via Intune directly from Configuration Manager.
So all mobile devices needed to be setup to talk to Intune in order to be managed.
Configuration Manager has also expanding it support to include Linux / Mac / Thin Clients as well as mobile devices with Intune, so microsoft has operated in the management part for a long time.
Instead of aiminig for a on-premise solution Microsoft har put everything in their cloud. So whenever Microsoft deployes a new feature to Intune every customer of Intune gets it without needing to do anything.
They also have an integration to exchange to allow the IT-guys to control mobile devices trough Active Sync (this also includes Office 365)
There is a new intune release coming with a new release of Configuration Manager the 18th of October.

But can these two products compete?
Well… they have some of the same features which is device management, Citrix has more advanced features with XenMobile and with Worx and Micro-VPN etc. Microsoft has full support for Windows phone and Windows RT (And coming with iOS and Android with an company portal app pretty soon) and Intune might have what you need but nothing fancy.

What we need to remember is that Configuration Manager is a fullblown client management suite, with patching, deploying operating systems, applications, baselining, antivirus, with Intune it gets mobile device management capability. XenMobile is not in this category, it gives you mobile management, mobile application management, sandboxing applications, give any device application delivery trough Citrix Receiver.

So if you are a System Center customer with Configuration Manager and your IT-guys use ConfigMgr for management, adding Intune might be an easy way to go ahead, and by using Intune you leave the feature set to Microsoft, they need to continue development and will add more features as new release become available (So you will get the new releases for free since its a cloud based solution which you get buy a monthly basis). For other customers which needs advanced features such as selective wipe and the ability to seperate buisness and private data and more advanced security features and deep suppor for all vendors (Except Windows) XenMobile is for you. Zenprise was one of the market leading vendors before Citrix bought them up.

If you compare the cost (for Intune the cost pr user is 6$ pr month so for one year you have 72 USD. You also need Configuration Manager for it to make any sense.) You can also get a discount if you are EAS or EA agreement already which makes Intune more viable.
XenMobile Enterprise on the other hand is not so much more expensive then a regular Intune subscribtion of course it requires alot more infrastructure then Intune does.

So hopefully you got a bit more understanding on what seperates Intune from XenMobile! Smilefjes

What’s new in the latest Intune release

The new Intune release that will be an early christmas gift for many has numerous new features including:

And now you can connect your on-premise ConfigMgr instance with Intune for more broad device management.


Here you have a list of the fully supported mobile devices.


Still missing the direct support for Android based phones but I’m guessing that is on the horizon as well Smile
For Windows 8 users, they will get a new Self-service portal in order to get their apps, which is going to be a fully blown “new-gui” app.
You can read more about what’s new here –>

Windows Intune

For those not attending MMS this year, Microsoft today released information about the new Mobile device management. Which will be included in the future releases of SCCM and in Windows Intune (Bear in mind thou this will not be avaliable before Q1 2013) And Im betting that Windows RT will also be supported in this release )
For those not familiar with Windows Intune, it allows an administrator to manage his/hers client computers from the Cloud. This includes (Patching , Anti-virus/malware services, reporting services, software deployment etc..)

This is all the agents that get installed with the intune setup.

  • Windows Intune Center
  • Microsoft Policy Platform
  • Microsoft Online Management Policy Agent
  • Windows Firewall Configuration Provider
  • Windows Intune Endpoint Protection
  • Windows Intune Endpoint Protection Agent
  • System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 Agent
  • Windows Intune Monitoring Agent

Today there is a limit of 25 clients via Intune (In the release that is public avaliable today), but Microsoft has stated that it will be integrated with the Office365, and you can also integrate it with your domain.

Integration with Microsoft Active Directory Domain Services*
The full release of Windows Intune will use the same authentication mechanism as Office 365, so that you can integrate Windows Intune with your existing Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) environment. When you integrate Windows Intune with AD DS, you can synchronize existing security groups and users from AD DS to Windows Intune and manage them with Windows Intune.

Now then, since Im been lucky enough to try the new beta, I thought Id show you a quick demo about it.
The login page looks much like the Office 365 portal. Where you have your basic menus on the top.


If I go to the Company Portal, I get to the self-service portal, cleary Metro inspired.
Here I can access applications, my devices. And I can contact IT support.


If I go back and open the Admin Console, I come to the familiar Intune console (Silverlight based)


The new mobile based management which was annouced at MMS it not public avaliable yet. In order to manage your mobile deviced via Intune you need an Exchange Connector just as you would need in your ConfigMgr site.
And before you can use it, you have to sync your users from the local Active Directory in to the intune management.
Something that I miss is the option to link your Intune site with the Office365 Exchange.


You can also add administrators as you could before but that also requires sync with AD, of course you can add other types but that needs to be done via the Tenant Administrators.


Now im going to install the new Intune agent on one of my servers. First I create a computer group ( just like a collection in SCCM )


After I’ve done that, I go to administration –> and push Client Software download.


It is a zip file, so unzip and run the setup file.
The setup is pretty much the same as before, next , next , finish.


(It might take a while before it is finished installing…) Even when it says its finished installing, the intune is
installing a bunch of agents in the background.


If you follow the application log in the event viewer, you can see it is installing Opsmgr agent and online services etc. etc.. So might take a few min before the computer appears in the overview menu.

Now, its about finished ( Just installing the Endpoint Protection )  I can open the Intune Center, and I have the basic options. Pressing the “Get applications” just opens the self-service portal I showed earlier.


If I open the Management part of the web interface, I can now see my computer active.  With a bunch of patches that I need to approve, and some alerts. (If you are having some issues with the client not contacting the service, do a restart of the client computer after you installed the agent. )


After the restart I wanted to test the Remote assitance funciton, open the Intune Center and press “Request Remote Assistance”, now open the System Overview, you will recive a alert.

If you click Approve here, you will get sent to Microsoft Office Live Meeting site…


This has been a short blog post, more to follow.


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