MMS 2016 Key Take Aways
MMS 2016 Key Take Aways

This month’s MMS was a sell-out, and a real who’s who of the systems management community, with 600 attendees including a number Microsoft MVPs. 1E was a proud 3rd time platinum sponsor of the event, presenting multiple sessions, all of which saw fantastically high attendance. Here, 1E Technology Architect Mike Terrill shares three key takeaways from three great days in Minneapolis…

1. We’re reaching ‘peak UEFI’

It definitely seems like there is a growing awareness concerning the need for many businesses to switch from BIOS to UEFI as part of their Windows 10 migration. Things like advanced persistent threats (APTs) are making a lot of IT teams nervous. They want to do whatever they can to secure their enterprise and avoid their company’s name turning up on the news: they’re starting to look at what it takes to actually implement some of these security features in the enterprise and also get to Windows 10 securely.

I participated in a number of sessions that focused on this topic at MMS: they were all really well attended with a great buzz and tons of interesting discussion.

The fact is that, a lot of systems using Windows 7 have been deployed in what’s called legacy BIOS mode. In order to take advantage of new security features in Windows 10, you have to be running in UEFI mode: features such as Secure Boot, Credential Guard and Device Guard, require it. Making the switch is not easy; it’s actually a destructive process because UEFI has a different disk partitioning scheme. Proper installation requires a full wipe-and-load of the operating system because you’re re-partitioning and formatting the disk.

Want to hear more on the subject of BIOS to UEFI? Mike Terrill and Mikael Nystrom, Microsoft MVP and Senior Executive Consultant at TrueSec, teamed up for a Windows 10 Security Webinar on the subject. Watch now on-demand.

2. People are underestimating the new servicing model

Another area that’s seeing a lot of growing awareness is the Windows 10 servicing model. Certainly more people were talking about it than they were at MMS 2015 in November, and the sessions related to it were well attended.

However, I still don’t think there was sufficient awareness concerning what it’s going to take to keep up with the cumulative updates Windows 10 requires: about one every month at least. In one of our special MMS Pre-Con sessions, Mikael Nystrom explained that Windows 10 is going to require 4-5 times the amount of content in your network. That is simply a huge increase – and I don’t think enough people yet recognize the implications of this.

It’s definitely going to be an eye-opener, when people have to actually start deploying these, let alone getting to the next servicing branch.

3. Windows 10 openings

With a large new offering like Windows 10, you always expect uptake to resemble a bell curve. Typically, you’d expect to see the early adopters out there on the leading edge, and then the trailing adopters on the other end, with most people somewhere in the middle. But with Windows 10 we’re actually seeing a pretty good uptake in terms of companies and enterprises adopting it and getting on the band wagon.

The signs are though that, with Windows 10, people are being more proactive – certainly far less are just waiting till the last minute like they did with their XP to Windows 7 migration. This is a good thing, because unless you’re heavily automated or running a well-oiled machine, your Windows 10 migration is going to need to be handled like a special project: and the more proactive people are with it the better (even if you are running a well-oiled machine and doing what I call ‘business as usual OS deployment,’ there’s still some additional testing you need to do).

The IT industry as a whole is changing at such a rapid pace, and keeping up with the latest and greatest is definitely part off the job: if you don’t want to be on a continual learning curve, then you’re probably in the wrong business. Judging by the vibe at MMS, I think people understand that Windows 10 inevitable, and that they’re going to have to go onto it sooner or later.

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Thomas McGrath
Thomas McGrath is a journalist, presenter and digital content specialist. He has written for the likes of Telecoms.com, Digital TV Europe and Business Cloud News, among others, covering topics such as apps, the Internet of Things and TV. He lives in London with his wife, son and cat.