Microsoft said this week that it is no longer signing up new participants for the beta test of its upcoming Intune cloud-based online services that aim to deliver enterprise-class system-management tools to medium-sized companies.
Intune is designed to provide a cloud-based, all-in-one solution covering anti-malware, update management, software and hardware inventory and remote assistance technology, according to Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT).
"As of today we're no longer signing up new users for the Windows Intune beta. However, current beta participants can continue to use the Windows Intune beta and provide feedback until the next release," Alex Heaton, group product manager for Windows, said in a post to the Windows for Your Business blog Monday. He did not say when the next release will come out.
Microsoft began beta testing Intune in April.
For the first beta, Microsoft signed up 1,000 customers and partners to test the service in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.
"Windows Intune simplifies how businesses manage and secure PCs using Windows cloud services and Windows 7 -- making it easier for IT staff to manage and secure PCs from virtually anywhere," Microsoft spokesperson Brandon LeBlanc said in a post on the Windows 7 blog in April.
In July, Microsoft announced Intune beta 2, and expanded the number of testers by as many as 10,000, adding testers in France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain and the U.K.
The first test copies expired in early August, and beta testers who wanted to continue had to sign up for new accounts for the second beta, Heaton said last month.
The feedback from testers has been generally positive, he added.
"Beta testers have told us they really see the benefits of a cloud solution that they can get up and running quickly from anywhere they have an Internet connection," Heaton said this week.
He also said that the final version of Intune is slated to ship next year, though he did not pin down a time frame for its release.
One of the ways around the issues of security and control that make some businesses wary of cloud computing is to build a private cloud -- one that remains within the corporate firewall and is wholly controlled internally. Private clouds also increase the agility of IT an organization's IT infrastructure and make it easier to roll out new technology projects. Download this eBook to get the facts behind the private cloud and learn how your organization can get started.