News

Microsoft Rolling Out Office 365 Admin Center Preview

Microsoft is issuing a preview of a newly designed Office 365 Admin Center, starting today.

The preview is bringing a more simplified design to the management portal's user interface, but it still provides access to existing and advanced features, according to Microsoft's announcement today. In a future iteration, Microsoft will add a dashboard view. It will display how Office 365 services are used by an organization.

Access to the preview appears at the top of the current Office 365 Admin Center, if it's available. Microsoft is just making the preview available to its "first release" testers right now, as well as some small business customers.

Azure AD Premium Dashboard Preview
In other systems management news, Microsoft this week released a preview of its Azure Active Directory Premium dashboard. It's another redesign aimed at providing a single management view, showing all services subscribed.

The Azure Active Directory Premium dashboard is currently just available for testing in the North American region, but Microsoft expects a broader release will arrive "shortly," according to its announcement.

Microsoft Intune Improvements
Earlier this month, Microsoft announced that it plans to move its Microsoft Intune management portal into the Office 365 management portal. That move will happen starting on September 28.

In other Intune news, Microsoft bragged this month that Intune already provides mobile management support for Apple's newly announce iOS 9-based devices. Intune now can be invited to take over the management of an app installed on an iOS 9 device via a new "ChangeManagementState" key that gets pushed down to iOS 9 devices.

System Center Configuration Manager
Microsoft this month bolstered the cmdlets available to System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Service Pack 2 and System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager Service Pack 1. A summer update to the Cmdlet Library provides support for "the multicast service point role," as well as "modifying security scopes," among other details.

PowerShell Forward Compatibility
Microsoft this month clarified what it means by saying that its PowerShell scripting solutions are "forward compatible," from PowerShell 1.0 to the recently released PowerShell 5.0. The scripts are compatible, but they also are dependent on Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) classes, as well as Windows modules. So, PowerShell scripts depend on the Windows version that was used to compose them.

Microsoft PowerShell expert Ed Wilson recommended devising PowerShell scripts on the Windows version where the script is intended to be run as an assurance of compatibility. It's also possible to specify the Windows version in the PowerShell script using the #Requires statement, he explained.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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