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Windows Intune Licensing and Supported Architectures

In addition to new mobile device features, the December 2012 release of Windows Intune changed the licensing model for the product, moving from a device-based license to a peruser model. The per-user licensing change aligned Windows Intune with other Microsoft Online Commercial Services that also leveraged per-user licensing, such as Office 365. For Windows Intune, a user license allows an organization to manage up to five devices. In addition to per-user licensing, the full Windows Intune SKU also includes the rights to System Center 2012 Configuration Manager R2 and System Center Endpoint Protection. For organizations that have already licensed Configuration Manager 2012 R2, options are available to license only Windows Intune, reducing organizational costs for the software.

With the unified device management and licensing options, organizations now have a wide variety of devices that can be managed by the unified device management solution. They can choose to deploy Configuration Manager to manage devices such as Macs, Windows Embedded, Windows PCs, and integrate with Windows Intune for their mobile device support. In addition, organizations could also deploy a cloud-only Windows Intune solution to solve their one-off PC management needs.

This book focuses solely on Configuration Manager R2, but it is important to take a moment to discuss the supported architecture environments for Windows Intune, discussed in the following sections

Unified Architecture

Unified device management (UDM) is the term used to describe an environment where Windows Intune and ConfigMgr are integrated together. Hybrid cloud model is another way to describe the UDM architecture because it leverages both on-premise and cloud components seamlessly. In this configuration, all device management is performed through the ConfigMgr administrator console. Achieving this interoperability requires both the on-premise Active Directory and a cloud Azure AD are synchronized together, in addition to having Configuration Manager R2 and Windows Intune licensed, deployed, and connected together. Therefore, customers need to plan to deploy the following technologies within their environment if they don’t have this in place for other Microsoft cloud services:

  • Active Directory Synchronization (DirSync): Used to synchronize user and security group objects and attributes from the on-premise AD to Azure AD
  • Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS): Used as an authentication mechanism to reduce the user password complexity

Figure A.1 illustrates the key components used to support this solution. ADFS is not required for this solution; however, Microsoft highly recommends it as ADFS is used for other services such as the new Workplace Join feature and true single sign-on (SSO).


FIGURE A.1 UDM components.

When installing the UDM configuration, ConfigMgr administrators install the Windows Intune connector site role within the CAS (or the single primary site), and define one of the primary sites as the location where devices are to be created. Only one Windows Intune connector per hierarchy is supported. Currently, the total number of mobile devices supported within the unified architecture is 100,000, based on the total supported number of devices that can be in a primary site. Therefore, if the ConfigMgr administrator dedicates a primary site to mobile devices and uses the Enterprise edition of Microsoft SQL Server for the site database, it can scale to the maximum supported limit.

Cloud-Only Architecture

Cloud-only architecture is the term used to describe an environment where only Windows Intune is deployed. Another name for this is the Windows Intune stand-alone solution. Outside of the removal of Configuration Manager 2012 R2, the major difference in the cloud-only solution is the number of devices supported and the limitations inside the product itself (as in fewer features). However, it is important to understand the future direction of the cloud-only solution. In a January 29, 2014 blog announcement (http://blogs.technet.com/b/server-cloud/archive/2014/01/29/new-enhancements-to-windows-intune.aspx), Microsoft reaffirmed its commitment to providing customers choice in management solutions by announcing new mobile device capabilities would be built in to the cloud-only architecture with a goal of striving for parity between solutions.

In this configuration, administrators might deploy Intune to manage PCs, mobile devices, or both. Even though Microsoft is striving for parity between both solutions, it is incorrect to assume that new Intune features work in both solutions. When System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager was released, nearly all the new capabilities initially required ConfigMgr 2012 R2. With the February 2014 update, Android management is now supported in both configurations, and Microsoft added new choices for policy settings. Integration with the local on-premise AD via DirSync is not required, unless an organization is interested in integrating with their on-premise Exchange environment. In that case, DirSync is a required component to install the Windows Intune Exchange connector.

Figure A.2 illustrates the key components used to support this solution. Related to PC management, the cloud-only solution supports fewer clients than ConfigMgr 2012 R2. Windows 8.x, Windows 7, Vista, and XP SP 3 are supported; missing, however, is support for OS X, Windows To Go, Windows Embedded, and Windows Server management. A customer that requires management of those devices would look to ConfigMgr.


FIGURE A.2 Cloud-only components.

Refer to www.windowsintune.com for additional information about Windows Intune for cloud PC management.

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