July 17, 2015

Windows 10 - Servicing Part 2

Windows 10 - Servicing Part 2

In the first part of this section, I talked about how businesses will get it onto existing devices - upgrade in place. I also talked about how new PCs in businesses will get it on those devices - imaging, which is substantially easier now. Additionally, personal devices can be made into business devices by using a new packaging infrastructure. Today, I'm going to talk about the mythical Windows Update for Business and try to clear up the multitude of confusion around servicing. Here it is graphically:

Windows Servicing

Everyone that is consumer Windows gets updates (regardless of whether it is security, feature, update, etc) pushed to them without control or delay. Boom. done. As the unceremoniously, non-paid, unwitting and voluntold designated family support technician - I am grateful. Geek sons and daughters worldwide thank you.

Business customers who manage patching get two options:

  1. Current Branch for Business - this is 99% of you businesses out there. You'll get these updates AFTER consumers get them. The updates will have been tested on hundreds of millions of PCs by this point. If you are running Windows Update for Business (the new WSUS or the new integrated thing with SCCM), you can group your PCs and roll the updates out to users in phases. I suggest two main groups: Lab, Everyone Else. Once you verify your LOB application works in the lab, let it fly. You can delay updates for up to four months after which time, you won't be able to apply ANY update until you apply the previous ones.
  2. Long Term Servicing Branch - this is 1% of you businesses out there. Think Government, Kiosks, ATMs, IoT, New Horizon's Mission Control Center, etc. Organizations in LTSB will get only Security and Critical fixes for the duration of mainstream and extended support of that branch. That means, the thing coming out on July 29th will have 10 years of LTSB with nothing but security and critical issues fixted. You will be able to upgrade/re-image from one LTSB to the next (whenever that is). You will also be able to skip ONE LTSB release. You will use Windows Update for Business also.

That, my friends, is the extent of servicing. No more multi-month "do I push this but not that" worries. No more "that patch may break my app." Microsoft wants you to test in your Lab zone and then roll the patch out as quickly as possible - you have four months from CBB availability. You also no longer need to worry about IE upgrades because if it isn't IE11, it isn't supported starting January of 2016. You can of course, and should, deploy Enterprise Browsing mode.

Sound a bit heavy handed? Yep - it sure does. But it's the right thing to do so MSFT can assert application compatibility and lower total cost of ownership of Windows. I for one, love it!