Thursday, March 29, 2012

Book Review for "Microsoft Windows Intune 2.0: Quickstart Administration"

Are you a Windows administrator? If so, you may be curious about Intune, Microsoft's browser-enabled tool for managing groups of PCs. This book explains how you can use Intune to set up and manage groups of PCs, to include software installation, migration, and maintenance.

The first chapter explains basic cloud concepts. Most of today's current buzzwords are explained from a high-level view.

Chapter 2 covers PC management, including management via policies. This is a little closer to the core material for the book, but still not quite down to the hands-on level.

Chapter 3 starts with Intune capabilities. This chapter is really an overview of what will be covered in more detail later in the book. Roughly, these topics include the following: Installation of Intune, the Management console, Security management, Auditing, Reporting, and Alerts and Support.

Chapter 4 is a deep dive on the Installation process.

Chapter 5 is all about configuration. It includes sections on addition of administrators, configuring groups, alerts, and license management.

Chapter 6 covers policies and updates. Policies have a sophisticated hierarchy, so you can group PCs by different criteria. Firewalls and anti-malware are explained here.

Chapter 7 explains how you can prepare software to be pushed to your client PCs, and how you can also remove software from the client PCs via Intune.

Chapter 8 is about Reporting and Alerts. Intune ships with standard reports, or you are able to write you own if you wish. Reports can help you do things like figure out which of your managed PCs have older hardware, or are running particular versions of software. Alerts are notifications that something has gone wrong, like mal-ware being detected. Obviously, these are important.

Chapter 9 deals with responding to Alerts and ways you can provide support for the remove client PCs.

Chapter 10 explains Desktop and Recovery Toolset (Dart), which is the most capable support mechanism. This is the one you will end up using if a user has a blue screen of death or some other serious flaw that can't be resolved through simple software pushes. You can unlock passwords and un-install hot fixes that you think may have done more harm than good. One notable item: If you go into deep recovery mode, you're going to need an actual user at the keyboard of the affected PC. Microsoft hopes to make this completely remotable in future iterations.

Chapter 11 gives coverage of Windows 7, which is the current target O/S for Intune. It includes a nice section that tells you how you can backup user preferences and data from the current O/S (i.e. XP) and how to re-apply them when the machine has been upgraded to Windows 7.

Chapter 12 explains how Intune relates to other Microsoft products you may be working with. Most of these products will be completely compatible, some will be partially so, and some not at all. It also explains which other Microsoft products you may be using for PC management, and how they may relate to Intune.

Overall, the book is a very easy read with a generous allotment of screenshots.

Who should read this book? Anyone who manages groups of Microsoft PCs which will be using Windows 7. Given that scenario, Intune looks like it would make administration from any browser-enabled PC possible. If that's your toolset, you probably ought to look into Intune and this book.

The book can be found here.

Happy Cloud-based Administering!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

nice posting.. thanks for sharing.