Some of you may be familiar with the MDOP suite (Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack for Software Assurance). This is a suite of tools that helps you manage your IT environment more efficiently. One of the tools in the suite is the Asset Inventory Service (AIS). AIS is a bit near and dear to me, as it has its humble beginnings in a company I used to work for before coming to Microsoft. In this post, I want to explain how AIS and Windows Intune fit together.
First, a little background. AIS is an online service we introduced three years ago that performs hardware and software inventory. One of the most popular features in AIS is its ability to help you reconcile your Microsoft volume licenses against what is found to be installed on the PCs you include in the inventory. It does this by allowing you to enter your open, select, and enterprise volume license agreement numbers into the service, which then retrieves your detailed entitlement information from the Microsoft Volume License repository. Once you enter this info, AIS matches the licensed Microsoft applications to installed Microsoft applications for you…if you’ve ever tried to do this manually or with other tools, you can appreciate how this is often an ‘apples and oranges’ comparison. To the right is an example of a reconciliation report:
AIS is currently in its 1.5 release, with the 2.0 service is expected to be released in 2011, around the same time as Windows Intune. The reason for this is that AIS 2.0 is actually being delivered from the same platform as Windows Intune. So when an AIS 2.0 customer logs in, they will go to the same URL as a Windows Intune customer. The service determines what service the user is subscribed to and shows them the appropriate console. Here’s what an AIS 2.0 customer sees (note the cool IE9 browser 🙂 ):
Look familiar? Here’s the Windows Intune console:
When you log into your Windows Intune account, you get the same features and functionality as AIS, plus all the other workspaces, such Updates management, Policy, Remote Assistance, and so on. Both services were engineered on the same platform to make them more efficient and flexible. This offers the Windows Intune team more flexibility and efficiencies when performing upgrades to the service, it’s the ‘two birds with one stone’ approach. This approach also offers efficiencies in terms of physical infrastructure.
For those of you who are enrolled in the AIS or Windows Intune beta service, we encourage you to check the reconciliation report. If you have volume license agreements with Microsoft, load the agreement numbers into the service and try running the Installation report you’ll find in the Reports Workspace (You’ll have to wait a little while for your license information to be retrieved). We’d love to hear what you think, how well this feature works for you, and any improvements you think would make it more useful. As always, we welcome your feedback!