Learn about the benefits and the complications of WaaS. The benefits are around security and features, and the complications are that releases come often and on a schedule. Therefore, IT must get on board with it being a paradigm shift. It's a process now not a project. IT has to work in new processes.
- [Instructor] Windows as a service aims to transition the Windows operating system away from being a product that sees intermittent major releases that contain a few years' worth of feature updates to a product that's continually being updated and tweaked in the background on a schedule twice a year. There are both advantages and disadvantages around this concept. Let's take a look at the advantages first. One of the biggest benefits to Windows as a service is that Windows 10 will be the last version of Windows.
From this point forward, the Windows operating system will simply be referred to as Windows. There likely won't be a Windows 11 or Windows 12. Instead, the Windows OS will evolve as new features are added and will be called simply, Windows. What this means for IT is that they will no longer have to plan for and transition to, a completely different version of the OS every few years. This results in fewer costs for planning teams, testing teams, manpower, new equipment, retraining employees, and so on.
It also means users will be able to use the OS with less training because new features and changes to features will come in small doses. A second advantage is that people will eventually stop using old and unsupported versions of Windows. This will benefit users and the rest of the computing world by making everything more secure for everyone. Unsupported and thus unsecured OS's will eventually fade away. Support personnel will stop receiving calls from Windows XP and Windows 7 users, too.
Once Windows is simply Windows, help desk can be more productive and efficient. And for IT, when everyone in the organization is running the same version of the OS, or some form of it, at least, technical and network support, help desk calls, security, and all other problematic aspects of running multiple OS's will disappear. With Windows as a service, updates to the operating system will come in much smaller chunks as well. This will lessen the network infrastructure required to service the Windows machines in an enterprise.
Yes, the updates are cumulative, but download sizes will eventually shrink just as they are already doing. There are other advantages to consider beyond always having the latest version of Windows and the best available features though. Updates are fully tested by Microsoft engineers, employees and Windows insiders. There will be more on that later. As well as select business before they are released to the public. App compatibility is tested by thousands of users, too, so all an IT department should really have to test are in-house apps.
Constant updates means Windows devices are secured with the latest patches, and vulnerabilities are kept at bay as well. Now let's take a look at a few of the disadvantages. The main issue around Windows as a service for both users and IT professionals, is that Windows is continually going to be in a state of flux. It'll always be changing and both consumers and IT pros are expected to be on board with this. This means that IT will have to accept that servicing Windows is now a constant loop of receiving new Windows builds, testing them, rolling them out to small groups and then to larger groups, and then to the entire organization.
Those builds will be supported for 18 months and the loop process occurs twice a year. Microsoft also expects businesses to deploy build updates on faith, believing that Microsoft and Windows enthusiasts, who use and test the builds prior to their release, are doing a good job of uncovering and resolving compatibility issues. Yes, it's easy for these early testers to discover incompatibilities with third-party apps from say, Adobe, Apple, Symantic, or Mozilla. But it would be impossible for them to discover incompatibilities with your proprietary applications.
You, or your IT department, will have to be diligent there. Additionally, if you aren't yet on Windows 10 and are still on Windows 7 or 8.1, you're going to have to get there. For a single user, that's not generally too difficult. Users can often upgrade their existing machine. And if not, eventually, computers just stop working and new computers take their places. These computers will likely come with Windows 10 already installed. If you're a large corporation though, upgrading all of your machines to Windows 10 could incur insurmountable cost, down time, and manpower.
Additionally, for institutions that rely on legacy systems which include finance and health care, moving to Windows 10 could be a near-impossibility. And then there's the issue of how much Windows is going to cost. You can calculate the cost of upgrading to Windows 10 but the price model for maintaining Windows 10 as simply Windows, hasn't yet been determined. Finally, it's going to take IT a bit of time to figure out how corporations are going to incorporate Windows as a service. If a company is used to rolling out new versions of Windows every three to five years, and simply applying security updates as they come in, well, this is going to be a major shift in thinking and in resources.
Whatever the case, Microsoft is moving to Windows as a service. In the end, it doesn't really matter how you feel about the advantages or disadvantages of it. Windows as a service is here to stay and it's time to start planning.
- What is Windows as a service?
- Types of updates
- Choosing a servicing channel
- Becoming a Windows Insider
- Testing, deployment, and rollback strategies
- Deploying Windows as a service
- Where Windows as a service is headed