If you’re in the planning stages of a Windows 10 migration, then network capacity will be at the forefront of your mind. One of the biggest challenges associated with migrating to Windows 10 is that regardless of whether you choose in-place upgrade or wipe-and-load, you’ll need to download in excess of 2-3GB of content to every workstation.
In preparation for the upgrade, you’ll be thinking about whether your network can handle that. What you may not have thought about is what is going to happen after you’ve got Windows 10 installed everywhere.
Windows 10 upgrades: the cumulative effect
Windows 10 clients will be updated in two ways – through Service Updates and Feature Upgrades. Service Updates are the traditional fixes and security patches you’ve come to know and love each Patch Tuesday. These will continue to be released each month, but the big difference is that these are now cumulative. Each month your clients will need to download an ever-increasing lump of Windows updates (these are already currently in excess of 500MB). Every month, each client will download the latest entire, cumulative update – not just the deltas since the previous month.
Two or three times a year, Microsoft will release new Feature Upgrades, which contain new features and will effectively replace OS upgrades as you’ve known them in the past. Each of these upgrades will be about the same size as the original Windows 10 installation media (i.e. 2-3GB). The difference is, these Feature Upgrades must be deployed to all Windows 10 devices (with the exception of special systems running the Long Term Servicing Branch) within about 12 months of the general release of the Feature Upgrade to the Current Branch (or within about 8 months of release to the Current Branch for Business, which is deferred after general release by about 4 months). Deploying these upgrades is the only way to remain supported for further Service Updates, which include those all-important security patches.
If you’re using System Center Configuration Manager to deploy and manage your Windows 10 devices, you’ve probably already heard that ConfigMgr will be following a similar servicing model in order to keep up with support of the new Windows 10 Feature Upgrades. This means you’ll need to prepare to update your entire ConfigMgr infrastructure at around the same frequency as the Feature Upgrade releases (two or three times a year) in order to remain supported.
Since these upgrades can’t be avoided, now is the time to think about how to minimize the impact they will have on your infrastructure and your network. One of the best ways of doing this is to use a peer-to-peer content distribution solution – such as 1E Nomad. Nomad not only significantly reduces the volume of content being distributed across your WAN, it also helps you eliminate the number of ConfigMgr servers you need – further reducing your upgrade burden.