A Practical Guide to VDI Change Management
Part 3: Change Accelerates with Windows 10
The third in an 8-part series, this practical guide to VDI Change Management gives you the low-down on the what, why and how of Windows 10 updates and changes
Falling behind on updates is no longer an option
Adopting Windows 10 forces you to significantly change your deployment and update processes to ensure you stay current with all expected feature and quality updates. Falling behind on updates will result in the loss of service and support by Microsoft and is therefore not an option anymore.
Windows 10 updates will not only be released more often than before, they are also bigger in size as they will be cumulative, and therefore have a bigger potential impact. Typically, larger Windows migration projects required 12 to 18 months of work and occurred every 3 to 5 years. With Windows 10 we must get used to a more continuous process of implementing bigger and smaller changes.
Windows 10 introduces two major feature updates a year
Windows 10 feature updates will be released twice a year, one in springtime (March) and one in the fall (September). As the update cycle is shorter now the changes will be bite-sized chunks compared to the big updates that were released every 3 to 5 years. Microsoft still recommends a preview and pilot period before moving to full production (and some time to phase-out after production). This means that in large organizations 2 or 3 different builds could be in use at the same time.
In September 2018 Microsoft announced that:
- All currently supported feature updates of Windows 10 Enterprise and Education editions (versions 1607, 1703, 1709, and 1803) will be supported for 30 months after their original release date.
- All future feature updates of Windows 10 Enterprise and Education editions with a targeted release month of September (starting with 1809) will be supported for 30 months after release.
- All future feature updates of Windows 10 Enterprise and Education editions with a targeted release month of March (starting with 1903) will continue to be supported for 18 months after release. This maintains the semi-annual update cycle and allows customers to update twice a year.
Windows 10 also introduces 3 to 4 new builds a year
Microsoft is now making new builds available during their development phase. This new practice enables IT administrators at customer organizations to plan and prepare compatibility tests with their existing applications and infrastructure, to validate new features and to provide early feedback on any issues encountered (to relevant ISV’s and to Microsoft).
Microsoft is collecting telemetry (when enabled) on these builds to spot application compatibility and other problems. This helps but is not effective for in-house applications as there simply isn’t enough telemetry reported back. Testing early preview builds also does not guarantee the perfect workings of the final build due to further changes and updates in the builds before production.
Windows 10 quality updates are cumulative and therefore bigger
Small updates are typically released on the second Tuesday of each month (“Patch Tuesday”), but when required can be released at any time. These regular updates can consist of security updates, bugfixes, driver updates and more. Windows 10 quality updates are cumulative, which means that installing the latest quality update is sufficient to get all changes to date. As a result, quality updates will become bigger in size every month, unless techniques like express updates are implemented.
The introduction of Windows 10 accelerates the rate of software change dramatically.
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