Window 10 Version: Enterprise or Education

By: Manfred Grisebach, August 7th, 2015

 

The version of Windows 10 we will be distributing to UW has been settled, and the answer is: the Education version

 

As many of you know, there has been extensive conversation not just here but in the “Windows-hied” mail group discussing appropriate versioning for Windows10 for Universities. After several conversations with Microsoft Licensing reps, Sandra and myself we have come to the conclusion that the correct version for our needs is the Education version and NOT the Enterprise version. The primary reasons are:

1)      Provisioning Pack: the Education version allows us to continue saving money on every PC purchased in that we can buy them with Windows Home Edition (equivalent), and upgrading them to W10. We couldn’t do that with Enterprise

2)      The Enterprise version is in Microsoft’s view specifically targeted at banks and large businesses and hospitals that have “mission critical” devices running Windows. This allows them to put them on the “Long term Servicing Branch” (LTSB)  for patches and features. According to Microsoft, “mission critical” is being interpreted to mean devices running medical equipment, for instance, that could mean life-or-death (literally), not necessarily Bank ATMs, just to put this into perspective.

3)      The Education version cannot access LTSB

a.       Both Enterprise and Education can access the Current Branch for Business (CBB) however

b.      CBB delays patches and features for about 8 months from initial release, meaning:

                                                               i.       the first 4 months early adopters (Insiders) get them

                                                             ii.       then “Current Branch” clients, like home PCs get them

                                                            iii.      Then about 4 months later CBB clients get these patches and features. Microsoft assumes 8 months is enough testing by “millions of Insiders, consumers and customers’ internal test processes” as they put it, before they are released to most business clients.

                                                           iv.      THEN, we still have SCCM and WSUS to allow us to delay them a little longer, if required

                                                             v.      NOTE: Patches and Features can NOT be indefinitely delayed. If a patch or feature becomes critical, all bets are off. It’s going through.

c.       Only LTSB can delay patches and features about 2-3 years. It is designed to lock down the current build (completely) except for critical security patches.

4)      Current Branch for Business (CBB) is managed from a web page. Alternatively, it can be (entirely?) managed from SCCM and WSUS.

a.       It sounded like patches and features could be held back up to about 18 months

b.      Workstations are put into groups, and release cycles are then controlled to these groups

5)      Enterprise versions of W10 are likely to deviate from Education versions as time goes on in terms of price. Because of the LTSB access, this is deemed something Microsoft may choose to leverage to charge large corporate clients more money as time goes on. Another reason they say we’d probably want to be on the Education track so the next time we negotiate our Campus Agreement, our price remains lower.

Otherwise both versions are technically and feature-wise identical.

 

W10 Education is being distributed on campus via Webstore (https://strobe.uwaterloo.ca/ist/saw/webstore/ ). Both the 64-bit and 32-bit versions are available (we’d encourage you to only use the 64-bit if possible).