Every major software release has a lifecycle – the end point of which being when the developer no longer can support bugs or changes to the code because of age. Twenty years ago, a new operating system was often deployed a year or two after the consumer version was released, in many cases after the first service pack had been released. This meant that “end of life” was often timed to many years post-release, in some cases a decade. (Windows XP, for instance, was supported for 12 years post release!) After end of life was reached, the developer would no longer issue security updates or patches, which meant that these dates were critical for folks to know. These lengthy support times caused three downstream effects among businesses:
With the advent of the cloud, the ability to update software and collect telemetry, including the operating system itself, became quite trivial. This caused major software developers, including Microsoft, to start to shift the landscape of support – instead of attempting to support an OS for 3-5 years, developers moved the support window to 1-2 years. This wasn’t a change made in a vacuum: the ability to generate smaller releases containing code that had already been proven to work, tied to real-time telemetry, is part of the broader landscape shift from waterfall-based development to more agile “dev/ops” aligned approaches. For a software developer, all of these changes are broadly positive: less financial risk, greater customer engagement and the ability to make changes quickly before products are marketed. For consumers and businesses, there are key benefits as well: security is now baked into software rather than being bolted on, features that enter the consumer space can be brought into the business more quickly, and because changes are smaller, change management can be more easily adopted.
Despite all these benefits, these are still changes, and with any chance, businesses will take different amount of times to adopt. What has become clear over the past three years is that many organizations haven’t fully grasped the support implications that accompany a faster pace of versions and improved security.
When Windows 10 was originally released many organizations decided to continue deployment and patching via “images” instead of the new modern management methods. This has created a big challenge: if an organization deployed Windows 10 back in August of 2016, the version they deployed hit end of life April of this year. Even more important, if they waited until 2017 to deploy Windows 10, but chose to deploy the version of Windows 10 from August of 2016 then they were in the same boat: end of life happened in April of this year, which meant no new security patches or updates.
This has caused confusion among some customers, especially because with Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, the lifecycle was much, much longer. Windows 7 (with service pack 1; the original version hit end of life in 2013) will hit end of life in January of 2020. But the more important date is that for Windows 10, versions 1507 – 1607, have already hit end of life. Even newer versions, starting with releases in the year 2017, are going to hit end of life prior to 2020.
Here are the key expiration dates:
All three of these dates occur before 2020. That means customers need to not only deploy current versions of Windows 10, but to also have systems in place that allow existing machines running Windows 10 to be seamlessly upgraded to a newer version at a minimum every 18 months.
That leads to a simple conclusion: if your organization lacks the ability to deploy new versions of Windows 10 quicker than every 18 months, then you will find yourself outside the end-of-life window. If it takes your organization over six months to perform application remediation today, then you need help. If wrapping your mind around how you’d be able to upgrade Windows 10 (and apps) every six months is causing you friction – you need help.
Ultimately, these end-of-life dates may drive the right behavior at customers and partners to work collaboratively together to modernize the way Windows 10 is deployed and maintained. The alternative, to go beyond end-of-life, simply isn’t viable
Windows 10 has revolutionized the way that organizations will manage operating systems. It provides the features that you have come to know and rely on, while also elevating security and data analysis features and providing more available updates.
Knowing the benefits of the newest Windows platform, many companies are eager to upgrade and deliver the best in Windows to their teams. But is this something you, as a business, can do alone? The answer is yes, but that experience can be strengthened by partnering with New Signature.
Technically, you can visit the Microsoft Windows 10 page and download the software easily. However, there are some things to consider prior to clicking “Download Now” that will help you to optimize your Windows 10 solution, and ways that New Signature can help you ensure you’re running the most optimized Windows 10 environment. This guidance and education helps to lessen the learning curve for your team and enables a smoother adoption. Here are some areas to consider and areas where New Signature can support you with a Windows 10 implementation:
Get the best workplace software with guidance from the best Microsoft partner. New Signature’s deep expertise empowers organizations of all sizes to manage lifecycles and uniquely positions us to help you make the transition to Windows 10 and work smarter.
Connect with a New Signature expert to discuss in detail our ability to assist Windows 10 solutions and upgrades and drive your business toward a stronger and more successful tomorrow.