I get a lot of questions and concerns about the Windows 10 servicing model and how that will affect organizations moving forward. Many of my customers are anxious about how they will ensure that their applications will handle changing Windows version at least once a year.
How will the network cope with cumulative updates that will grow and grow in size?
Should we go for CBB or LTSB? LTSB sounds much safer… (its not)
And so on. I believe this is due to several reasons, the top three being:
- Lack of information from Microsoft – even though they sure have tried.
- This is something “completely new” – at least for Windows-admins.
- A lot of negative and in many cases false information for other sources.
So, to give everyone out there some aid in this matter and hopefully prepare you for what’s coming ill do a series of blog posts following this one.
Each post will lay out one vital part of an Windows as a Service (and of course Windows 10) implementation and how your organization may need to adapt to gain the most from it. This first post will link to each of the other once and include a brief overview of the topics. My goal is to do 1-2 post per week moving forward, and the subjects wont necessary following the order they have in this post.
So, what areas of you client platform do you need to adapt to prepare for WaaS?
- Application Testing
- Profile and file management
- Application deployment
- OS deployment
- Image management
- Patch management
- Consider the cloud
- User responsibility and interaction.
As you may have notice, most parts of a client platform is covered in one way or another and ill explain each of them in a bit. Some of theses topics may have a technical focus, some may have a non-technical – but most will have a bit of both. Its highly possible that some of these topics may need more than one post as well – and I may of course link to other resources and blogs than my own if I find information that benefits your search for information.
So, lets start with a brief overview:
Applications and their compatibility with new Windows releases is the number one concern I receive. Unfortunately not without reason. Microsoft hasn’t been good enough so far in keeping a high enough degree of compatibility between releases, at least in my customers experience. I personally have had most issues with drivers and not so much with applications.
However, I’m more than confident that Microsoft is doing their best, and that the Insider Program (and the newly announced Windows Insider Program for IT Pros) will do a great job with raising the bar.
I also believe that this issue will take care of itself. Its a bit like the hen and the egg. WaaS will only work if Microsoft gets enough testers – aka more organizations adopting Windows 10. But organizations may be hesitant to adopt it if the compatibility isn’t high enough.
Enter: A new approach on application testing. We cant have large projects going through all applications once every 3-4 years, its expensive and really doesn’t have any long-term value. Instead we need to be more agile. So, in the coming post on application testing ill advice on how you could do this, what you need to have most process and software-wise to support this new process and of course how to integrate this process with your existing infrastructure. One good post to begin with is this one on “Fail Fast“, which is focused on implementations projects, but it will be the base line for the maintenance process as well.
Profile and file management
When you will be upgrading Windows as often as you have to with WaaS its important to have a robust profile and file management solution in place. In this part ill discuss different solutions and their pros and cons. Why do you ask? We have in-place upgrade and Windows servicing? Yes, but that’s mostly valid after Creators update, and also, I do strongly believe that we will see lots of Task Sequence based upgrades in the future as well. And of course, we always have users with multiple devices, shared devices and replace scenarios. We have had this kind of challenges before – but now is the time to actually solve them.
This are will be discussed primarily from a technical stand-point, but with some notes on file storage and a discussion on why we used roaming profiles and such from the beginning.
AND NO! ROAMING PROFILES SHOULD NEVER – NEVER – BE A PART OF A WINDOWS 10 SOLUTION.
Application deployment could at the first glance be an area where WaaS shouldn’t be a concern. But this again has to do with the compatibility, multiple devices and more efficient ways of distributing applications to your end-users. This will probably be a mostly technical post and perhaps one of the shortest, but still an important one.
In this topic ill discuss the different ways of deploying operating systems with Windows 10 and Windows as a Service. Is OS deployment in the way we look at it today something for the future? This topic will be closely connected to image and patch management – especially image management which is a highly underestimated necessarily both today and moving forward from what I’ve seen.
How can we juggle several different versions at once? What builds should we deploy and spend time on managing from an imaging perspective? Is imaging a technology for the future (according to me – yes)?
Combining tech and inspiration I hope to show that imaging is one of many tools that you need to be able to use to maintain and manage your client environment.
In my opinion one of the most underestimated necessaries’ in client management today. This being the case in both virtualized environments, servers, clients and so on. Ill aim to change that in this topic, quoting the best solutions available out there and once again bringing up the discussion on using MDT or ConfigMgr for image capture.
The topic will cover both virtualized environments (with a focus on Citrix, but it should be valid for VMware and RDS environments as well) and physical clients – and will be mostly technical.
Yes, there will be hotfixes, patches, upgrades and updates out there – at least in the nearest future. How does patch management in a Windows servicing model compare to the old way of doing it? How do we deliver patches in the most efficient manner and what do you do if something goes belly-up?
The focus will be on explaining the process, but also giving some advice on how to set it up and manage update and upgrades using Windows Update, Intune and ConfigMgr.
Consider the cloud
This post will probably be one of the least technical once. Its more about what benefits your organization can get from cloud solutions connected to Windows 10. Its an important subject – at least for organizations in the countries I have most contact with (Nordics, Germany, UK and US).
Ill also take a look at upgrade analytics – and it may perhaps even be a post on analytics and data-management in itself connected to this topic.
User responsibility and interaction.
And last, but not least – to be honest perhaps the most important topic. Its more important than ever to get our end-users on board and begin to listen to them. I see how much damage the lack of user-interaction causes in different organizations and projects and this stops now. Most of the solutions and topics above are dependent on a close and open contact with your organization. Remember who you actually are trying to keep happy!
Wrap up for now
That was a lot of text – but I ensure you, there will be a lot more to follow – but with more goodies for you to take away. But let me make one thing perfectly clear:
The most important thing to remember with Windows as a Service is that its new – and you need to adapt to it!
We cant keep on doing things the way we did them not even two years ago! We need to enable ourselves and our end-users to do more. And to do that, we need to start working and move a lot faster than we used to.
Looking forward to this blog series and I hope it will be useful for you. Ill of course mix it with other blog post during the time – but you can always come back to this post if you cant find what you are looking for.