As you move your organization to Windows 10, one of the most important ongoing considerations will be your servicing strategy. Since the choices for Windows 10 Servicing can be confusing, we worked with 1E and presented the Strategic Guide to Windows 10 Servicing webinar.
The webinar covered the most critical aspects of the updated Windows 10 Servicing, The webinar was hosted by Barry Angell, Co-Founder and CTO of Juriba and Dave Fuller, Product Manager, Windows Servicing Suite at 1E.
You can watch the recorded webinar below:
In this blog post, I would like to summarize the key points of the webinar as well as share what we found out through two quick polls we included in the presentation. At the beginning, we asked our audience what Windows 10 version they were piloting and almost half of the attendees were already using 1709, 24% 1709, 16% 1607 and only 15% had not started piloting yet. Having helped migrate over 5 million assets between IT platforms, we discovered that it is crucial for enterprises of all sizes to be involved in the new Windows 10 Servicing model and not piloting at all is not an option.
The next poll we submitted to our audience was regarding the most suitable deployment strategy for their organization. Only 7% of the attendees chose the long term Servicing Channel option, whereas 35% and 37% chose to skip a release for all assets or deploy every release to all assets respectively. The remaining 21% was currently phasing the releases for asset groups (release co-existence).
Before we outline all the interesting questions that have been asked at the end of our webinar, here are five takeaways you can apply in your organization today
- Change the way you think about managing Windows, apps, etc, i.e. cultural change
- Define your servicing strategy and deployment strategy and get business buy-in
- Budget and create a function in BAU with responsibility for managing the process. Create a roles and responsibilities matrix to show who needs to do what and when to remain in cycle
- Define your end to end timelines and workflow for Windows/Desktop As A Service
- Put tooling in place to support your repeatable process
We hope you enjoyed our Strategic Guide to Windows Servicing webinar. As usual, we got more questions than we had time to answer, so hopefully this blog will give you the answers you were looking for.
1. What is the impact of updating Windows 10 faster than updating SCCM? At the moment it seems like SCCM is released about a month before Windows 10 but I am unsure of the impact of not updating SCCM.
As newer versions of Windows 10 are released, they will either be unsupported or have ‘backwards compatible’ support in older versions of Configuration Manager. For example, Windows 10 1703 requires Configuration Manager 1702 as a minimum (backward compatibility), but requires CM 1706 for full support. Backwards Compatible is described as “This means that existing client management features (hardware inventory, software inventory, software updates, etc.) should work with the new Windows 10 release. Any known issues or caveats will be documented”. Take a look at this Microsoft article for further information.
2. Do you believe that Microsoft has matured its release process, or are we likely to see Semi Annual Channel, etc dropped for a new process?
We see the Semi-Annual Channel as a refinement of the original branching model, with more clearly defined timelines. We don’t see any reason why it would be dropped, but there could always be tweaks.
3. Is there a way to use Configuration Manager and Windows Update for Business simultaneously, so workstations get upgrades from SCCM when inside the company and from Microsoft when traveling outside the company?
From Microsoft -When you have a software update point that is configured to accept connections from the Internet, Configuration Manager Internet-based clients on the Internet always scan against this software update point, to determine which software updates are required. However, when these clients are on the Internet, they first try to download the software updates from Microsoft Update, rather than from an Internet-based distribution point. Only if this fails, will they then try to download the required software updates from an Internet-based distribution point. Clients that are not configured for Internet-based client management never try to download the software updates from Microsoft Update, but always use Configuration Manager distribution points.
4. If an upgrade to a new release causes application incompatibility, will Microsoft extend the life of the Branch, or are application vendors expected to keep to the Microsoft schedule?
Dave Fuller- We can’t answer for Microsoft, but as a software vendor ourselves we have a responsibility to ensure our software continues to function as new versions of Windows 10 are released. We have published a statement that sets out how we support new versions of Windows 10 as they progress from Windows Insider builds through to Semi-Annual Channel. I’d recommend you check with your current vendors that they have similar statements.
Barry Angell - Microsoft have said categorically that they will not be extending the life of any Windows 10 release unless you are on the LTSC (Long-Term Servicing Channel). This is also true where the OS no longer supports the hardware. Organizations are expected to keep within the Microsoft schedule, and both hardware and software vendors are expected to keep up. This is also true for your in-house application developers. Whilst we have seen some minor extensions to both the 1507 and 1511 lifecycle, we do not expect this to continue, and 18 months should be the support cycle for all new releases moving forward.
5. How many months is 1610 is supported? Can we upgrade to the latest 1709?
If we are interpreting this question correctly, it relates to Configuration Manager Current Branch. According to Microsoft, Configuration Manager 1610 support ends November 18 2017. The latest CM Current Branch is 1706 (so there is not a 1709 or 1710 outside of Technical Preview). However, when the next CM CB is released, you will be able to upgrade straight from 1610.
6. What is the preferred method for servicing - Using Service plans or Task Sequence and why?
We prefer the Task Sequence route. It gives you more control to do things before (like ‘pre-flight’ checks, driver updates etc.) and options for roll-back should things go awry. Check out the webinar 1E did last year that compares the two approaches towards the end.
7. How does the 1E Windows Servicing Suite product impact use of SCCM and 1E Nomad?
The 1E Windows Servicing Suite combines Nomad, PXE Everywhere, Shopping and Application Migration to extend automation delivered through standard SCCM OS Deployment. If you are using Nomad today, you can upgrade to the full suite (at additional cost).
We had a few more questions as well and we will be answering them in the next blog post, so make sure that you subscribe to be notified as soon as it is published!