Microsoft also announced it has unified Windows Intune cloud-based service and System Center Configuration Manager as a single management solution for PCs and mobile devices. The marriage aims to provide the tools for securing and managing Windows-based clients (from Windows 8 PCs, Windows RT tablets, and Windows smartphones), as well as devices running Android and iOS.
With Intune, IT admins will now be able "to manage both corporate- and personally owned devices with a single console, making it easier to identify and enforce compliance. Users can also access a self-service portal for selecting and installing company apps," according to Schutz.
Microsoft is intent on wooing the service-provider market to help build out that broad, interconnecting Cloud OS cluster. To that end, the company announced Windows Azure technologies that providers can run on their own Windows Server 2012 infrastructure "for high-scale website and virtual machine hosting services," according to the company.
Among Microsoft's other Cloud OS announcements:
- Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 itself contains several enhancements, including support for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, the ability to limit downloads on 3G and 4G network connections to prevent unwanted data charges; native management of Windows Embedded devices, support for PowerShell for administrative tasks, the use of Windows Azure for client package distribution, and support for Mac OS X devices and Linux and Unix servers.
- Endpoint Protection 2012 SP1contains enhancements, including the ability to automatically deploy definition updates three times per day; real-time administrative actions to update definitions, scan, and remediate issues quickly; and client-side merge of antimalware policies.
- The company has rolled out a new Azure-based service called System Center Global Service Monitor that extends System Center's application monitoring capabilities to help companies evaluate and boost Web-app performance.
- The company has also built an Azure-based management solution called System Center Advisor that enables IT departments to assess server configurations and proactively avoid problems, help to resolve issues faster and reduce downtime, according to Microsoft.
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