Can (or will) Configuration Manager and Windows Intune work together? (So many questions. So little time. Part 13.)

For lucky 13, I reproduce a question here from Scott L, who asked it at our Saint Louis TechNet Event several weeks ago:

“Any plans for a hybrid option with both SCCM and InTune in an organization?”

Are your instruments Intune?No.  At least none that I’m aware of.  I will expand on my blunt answer in a moment, but first – for those of you not familiar with these,

This guy is thinking These products have some similarities and cross-over of functionality.  Configuration Manager is an enterprise-class tool for software and update distribution as well as asset inventory and reporting on those collected assets.  Windows Intune is a cloud-based PC management tool that can do some inventory, software, and update distribution.  But there certainly are some differences with regard to scale and capabilities; and understanding those would help you to determine which one is best for your needs.

Before I talk about your specific question around any potential integration between the two, let’s assume that you’re just now trying to decide which one to purchase.  To do that, I’m going to ask you a few questions:

  1. Are the PCs you want to manage members of a domain?  If not, then they would be more easily served by using Windows Intune.  It’s possible to manage non-domain PCs with Configuration Manager, but not simply.
  2. How much of the System Center product do you want to use?  And do you have the infrastructure and local expertise to support it?  System Center requires some pretty good expertise and datacenter investment, while Windows Intune requires nothing but a good Internet connection.
  3. How much do you rely upon Group Policy?  This really isn’t as important except in the area of consistency.  You can use policies that Windows Intune can set, but those are overridden any existing conflicts if you are also using Group Policy.

So now, back to your original question:

According to the most-excellent FAQ for Windows Intune:

Q: If I have System Center Configuration Manager already, can I use Windows Intune as well?
A: At present we do not support the System Center Configuration Manager client and the Windows Intune client on the same machine.

And while I think that no, there are no announced plans for a solution that allows both of these to work side-by-side in a coordinated way within the same organization, there still perhaps may be situations that would call for owning and using both in the same organization.  There may be cases where you didn’t want to buy additional Configuration Manager CALs for some PCs that you’re managing, but you want the power of Windows Intune.  Maybe some PCs are not members of the domain.  (Windows Intune allows you to manage those.)   Or perhaps you use your purchase of Windows Intune as a good way to get Software Assurance (and therefore the right to upgrade to and run Windows 7 Enterprise edition and all of the benefits therein) on your Windows Intune managed PCs.  

Which of these are you using?  Are you considering one or the other (or both)?  Let us know in the comments.

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