Windows 10: Long Term Servicing Branches

Enterprises are, mostly, a cautious lot – just look how long it took to build momentum to move away from Windows XP.

(Some are so cautious that they are still running Windows XP which is an ironic thing because that has to be far more dangerous that running Windows 7)

Having mainly focussed on the consumer story up to now, Microsoft are starting to build out their Enterprise story for Windows 10.

One of Microsoft’s commitments with Windows 10 is that they will be moving towards Windows as a Service as part of this:

Rather than waiting for the next major release, Microsoft will provide new features and functionality and deliver security updates and critical fixes on a regular basis.

That doesn’t necessarily excite an Enterprise IT organisation, for some that’s a scary thought. One of the things that they have announced are Long Term Service Branches:

Many consumers today expect their devices to receive ongoing feature updates without having to take an action. However, we understand that businesses require more control in how updates are delivered, and at what pace.

For example, systems powering hospital emergency rooms, air traffic control towers, financial trading systems, factory floors, just to name a few, may need very strict change management policies, for prolonged periods of time. To support Windows 10 devices in these mission critical customer environments we will provide Long Term Servicing branches at the appropriate time intervals. On these branches, customer devices will receive the level of enterprise support expected for the mission critical systems, keeping systems more secure with the latest security and critical updates, while minimizing change by not delivering new features for the duration of mainstream (five years) and extended support (five years).

In simple terms, you will be able to choose to get automatic updates at the consumer pace, or at the business pace. But, whichever branch you are on you’ll still get security updates at the same pace.

There will be many IT organisation who are breathing a sigh of relief at that news, I just hope that they choose to use it wisely and still give those people in their organisation who can move quicker the option to move quicker.

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