Understanding Windows 8.1 MDM

Windows 8.1 has gone gold, or RTM as the more official term is, and while GA is a month away it has at least become available through TechNet and MSDN. The whole Start-button debacle has possibly garnered most of the attention even if Microsoft is trying to focus primarily on other features of the upgrade. A new feature that hasn’t really been talked about a lot is the inclusion of Mobile Device Management (MDM).

Granted, most consumers don’t care about MDM, so I can understand that. But some of us care, and I’m one of them 🙂

About six months ago I covered MDM in Windows Phone 8:

You might want to skim through that article as most of the things there apply to Windows 8.1 as well. The underlying protocol is OMA DM here as well, and the enrollment part of it is basically the same. There are a couple of differences to be aware of though, so I thought I’d walk through a couple of those.

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System Center Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 – Arrival of MDM

Hot on the heels of the upgrade to the Windows Intune service Microsoft released Service Pack 1 for the System Center 2012 Suite of products to TechNet & MSDN. This update is also said to bring Mobile Device Management (MDM) support to System Center Configuration Manager so we’ll need to take a look at that 🙂

For a quick recap of what Windows Intune looks like on Windows RT:

I’ll admit that personally I’m more excited about SP1 for SC Virtual Machine Manager since I’m using it all the time whereas SCCM is sort of overkill for managing the home lab.

SCCM is of course historically, (including the preceding name of "SMS"), a product for managing traditional servers and clients, and while there are improvements in that area too I’m not diving into that. (Others will do so I assume, and they will probably be more knowledgeable than me in that part of the product.)

SCCM is now able to integrate with Windows Intune, exactly for the purpose of managing Windows RT and mobile devices through the "cloud".

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Windows RT – MDM First Impressions

If you’ve had a hankering for some MDM love on the Windows 8 platform, (Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 specifically), Christmas comes early from Microsoft who has upgraded their Windows Intune platform to support the aforementioned devices. (I realize that there might be a limited audience of people desperate to manage these devices as I don’t think there’s been any large scale deployments yet, but people are starting to ask about what’s happening in the MDM space for MSFT operating systems so it’s worth looking into nonetheless.)

Not much has been released publicly regarding the MDM capabilities of Windows RT & Windows Phone 8 so far other than some vague statements about an MDM API, and support in Windows Intune and System Center Configuration Manager 2012 SP1. (SP1 has RTMed and should go GA in a matter of a few weeks.) A couple of third-party MDM vendors have also announced support, but they haven’t shared all that many details either. So let’s do a quick tour of what we can do now that we have a tool available.

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