Windows 10: Release and update cycle - Windows as a service
Aside from the new functionality of Windows 10, perhaps the biggest change for businesses is the upgrade cycle. There is an expectation that this will be Microsoft's last full OS release, moving to an incremental rollout framework, which the vendor has referred to as 'Windows-as-a-service'.
"This move is mostly a response to new market realities," Gartner's Kleynhans and Silver write. "Microsoft is the only remaining vendor that directly tries to monetise a client device OS.
"Users have become conditioned to seeing the OS as part of the device, and something that should just get updated for the life of that device. Microsoft's approach of charging for upgrades has seemed out of step."
Windows 10 Enterprise will be released slightly later than the Home and Pro releases: 1 August rather than 29 July.
And unlike consumer and small businesses versions of the operating system, which will offer free updates for the first year, enterprises will continue to pay for Enterprise licences and Software Assurance support. In return, larger businesses will have the choice of how and when updates will be deployed, rather than automatically accepting them.
"Businesses will be able to opt-in to the fast-moving consumer pace, or lock-down mission critical environments to receive only security and critical updates to their systems," Microsoft says.
Although the changes to the update model could be a challenge for IT departments, it helps enterprises avoid falling behind with software versions. Using the continuous delivery model, code will be updated on a regular basis, meaning users will always have the latest version of the operating system - Microsoft's ultimate goal with Windows 10.
The changing upgrade cycle will be a plus for most organisations, says Forrester's David Johnson.
"It is an opportunity for [businesses] to develop a habit of always being up to date as Microsoft releases operating system versions on a more frequent cycle. When you are on the latest technology you can always be more agile."
Windows 10: Enterprise challenges
While it is a case of if rather than when organisations move to Windows 10, migration is a significant project for many.
Windows 10: Migration to new operating system
Microsoft has attempted to reduce the strain of rolling out Windows 10 - see here for more information on how to do this. But introducing the operating system across a large organisation is always going to be a tricky job. And costly too, whether it means updating existing systems or migrating as part of a hardware refresh, although Microsoft has made efforts to make sure the operating system works on older PCs too.
Gartner's Kleynhans and Michael Silver point out: "Even if the upgrade is free, organisations must be aware that the cost of migration is about much more than the OS license".
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