The first in a three-part series by Mark Warren on preparing for your 2017 Windows 10 deployment.

We’ve just passed the autumn (or fall) equinox and the days are getting shorter. Before you know it Halloween, Bonfire Night, Thanksgiving, Christmas (depending on where you’re reading this) and the New Year will be upon us. Meanwhile, those companies whose corporate year ends align with the calendar will be starting their forecasting and budgeting process. For many, these 2017 considerations will include their Windows 10 deployment plans.

In terms of your IT budget, there are many things to be considered, but let’s focus on your desktop management to start with.

2017 is the year of Windows 10

Windows 10 has had rapid adoption in the consumer space but most enterprise installations are only just starting to get rolling. That may not be a surprise as, after all, the potential impact of failed updates or downtime during installation is considerably more significant if it affects your business.

However, the general direction is that it’s a question of “when” not “if” for Windows 10 in business. This has been borne out but 1E’s own research but also by industry analysts. With the maturity of Windows 10, the security benefits of Windows 10 and end of service dates for Windows 7 starting to be reached, 2017 is expected to be the year for deployment at large scale so it has to be part of your planning.

Is your ConfigMgr Ready?

The first thoughts when considering a mass deployment of Windows 10 may fall into two camps – 1) Configuration Manager will take care of it, 2) Configuration Manager is going to need to be updated before I can start Windows 10 roll out.

Starting with the first point, it’s important to consider what Configuration Manager can do and how much manual intervention is required. This white paper goes into considerable detail on this.

For the second issue, it’s important to understand what versions of Configuration Manager you have running at all your sites. Configuration Manager Current Branch is required for the latest versions of Windows 10. This will need to be installed on all your remote distribution points which could also require additional hardware (a traditional approach for updating Config Manager is to set up a parallel server for the new release and then switch over to it when validation is complete). You may also need to consider additional hardware (servers and/or storage) at remote sites to take care of backups before updating end user systems.

It’s no surprise that these concerns have been slowing down Windows 10 deployments at some companies, but it probably can’t be delayed beyond 2017 so plan for it now.

Can you cut hardware costs in remote sites?

Given those issues with updating Configuration Manager before deploying Windows 10, it would be ideal to remove that dependency on remote servers completely and that’s exactly what 1E’s Nomad can do. Many organizations have managed to retire all their remote servers –  not only saving the effort of managing all those Configuration Manager services, but also switching off hardware to save on power and refresh costs.

Even if Windows 10 is not your number 1 priority right now and you’re focusing on reducing costs, improving responsiveness to business requests or increasing security, then now is the time to review your Configuration Manager infrastructure ready to simplify and streamline early in 2017.

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Mark Warren
Mark Warren is Product Marketing Manager for Windows 10 Now at 1E. Mark has over 25 years’ experience of software development and configuration management as a vendor and customer.