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Windows 10: Adapt or die

Gregg Keizer | Oct. 6, 2015
Big rethink in the cards for enterprises because of 'new velocity of change' in Windows

That's not to mean enterprises must -- or should -- blindly accept Microsoft's assertion that each update is problem- or bug-free. "You always have to test real production applications that keep the business running," said Kleynhans.

But it will mean that some previously-mandatory pre-deployment testing must get the heave-ho. "You have to look at what's important to you," said Kleynhans. "You have to understand what your real priorities are. Things that you're not quite so worried about, you'll just not be able to test those."

Likewise, Kleynhans suggested that enterprises reduce the amount of in-lab testing done on Windows 10's updates and upgrades, and replace that with pilot programs where small groups of users run the preview of the next-in-line update (Microsoft calls that preview "Windows Insider") or the current consumer-grade version before it hits businesses. Those users will serve as the enterprises' own guinea pigs, just as the at-large Windows 10 user base serves that purpose for Microsoft.

"Monitor that field testing, gradually expand those pilots, and start releasing to your general base of users," Kleynhans recommended. "It's a series of gradual, staggered deployments."

Then lather, rinse and repeat.

If Kleynhans' outline for enterprises sounds familiar, it should: It's essentially what Microsoft has recommended, then backed with a built-in four-month delay after consumers get a given update before businesses receive the same, with the option to push that deployment back another four months.

Even so, Kleynhans isn't certain that the tools Microsoft has pledged -- but not yet delivered in full -- for its enterprise-grade Current Branch for Business (CBB) update/upgrade track will be sufficient for customers. Theory is all well and good, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

"They certainly have promise, make sense and seem like they will work," Kleynhans said. "But is it enough? We don't know this."

Since May, Microsoft has touted Windows Update for Business (WUB) as the mechanism by which corporate customers will manage Windows 10's frequent-and-forced updates and upgrades. It has suggested that using WUB will be more economical and result in more up-to-date -- and thus secure -- devices in the workplace than sticking with Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), or its own or third-party update and patch management software.

Kleynhans' skepticism about WUB's and the CBB's abilities stems from the fact that neither has swung into action. Only parts of WUB have shipped thus far, and the CBB won't see its first release until March or April 2016.

But he remained insistent that, no matter the tools or whether Microsoft's would suffice, enterprises have to adapt to Redmond's regime, which, in turn, answered to the King.

 

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