Kick your company into high gear with Windows 10 – article two of six
By Scott Pittman, Dell CIO
Better. Faster. Cheaper.
You’ve heard it before if you’re in IT. It’s what every business wants. Equip us with the latest technology, for a more competitive edge as soon as possible….and oh yeah, make it affordable. Easier said than done, but IT works hard to deliver – driving innovation, accelerating the business’ agility and adding value wherever they can. But when moving faster, one of the most daunting challenges you face is the number of variables from past operating system deployments. Configuration drift, differing platform architectures, and version variance increase the time required to engineer and support our clients.
At Dell, we’re committed to moving at the new speed of business by standardizing 100% on Windows 10 across our enterprise by the end of 2017.
The Culture of Speed
In a previous post, we explained why now is the best time to deploy Windows 10 across your enterprise, and embrace the Windows as a Service (WaaS) model. After implementing the WaaS model across our systems here at Dell, we found it offered additional, somewhat unexpected benefits: a new culture of speed and efficiency. Here’s how:
Traditional operating system development requires major effort and teamwork across an organization. Because of this, it usually only happens every few years or so. WaaS is different. Microsoft recommends a ring structure, which allows for continuous testing prior to release. This lets your organization validate and test applications, update security, and add new features and upgrades more frequently. A “Current Batch” build is released to test teams four months before that build is declared “business-ready” for enterprise deployment. Customers then have around eight months to deploy the build into production. During deployment, new test cycles are already underway. By moving resources and teams into a steady state of readiness, you can avoid the delays and organizational inertia that accompany the usual two to three-year upgrade cycle.
- Always Current
Previous patching methods for enterprise meant we typically only deployed patches deemed critical, often leaving fixes and updates aside in the interest of business continuity. The new Microsoft patching strategy is an all or nothing proposition. By making updates cumulative, Microsoft standardizes the operating system base on which customers are running to a common configuration. This model is referred to often as “always current.” As with any new process, confidence must be built over time. But we expect the “always current” state to benefit Dell and our customers, as IT takes advantage of this increased agility and brings in cutting-edge innovation faster.
- Preserve, protect and enhance
Microsoft plans to provide Windows 10 updates twice a year, so we can count on the number of Current Branch for Business (CBB) configurations at any one time in our environment at two – current and upcoming. This will not only reduce triage and troubleshooting for IT, but also increase security. WaaS’ programmatic model of evolution also means Windows will update with new features quickly, by enterprise standards. Operating system upgrades, while similar in nature to monthly patching, take considerably longer to complete. Culturally, you’ll need to acclimate to these scheduled instances where our systems require longer than normal downtime to complete the upgrade process. However, our early experience in the upgrade process indicates we, along with our customers, can looking forward to these updates and new features.
If you’re interested in more technical information on Windows 10, check out this post on Dell4Enterprise.