Windows 10 Pro for Workstations: If You Wanna Play, You Gotta Pay

Posted on August 11, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 47 Comments

Microsoft Announces Windows 10 for Workstations

Confirming earlier rumors, Microsoft has announced Windows 10 for Workstations, a new product version aimed at power users with high-performance PCs.

As I’ve noted many times, however—most recently in There Should Be Only One Windows 10 Product Edition—there, um, should be only one Windows 10 product edition. And this kind of money grab, because that’s all it is, just obscures the fact that Windows is technologically advanced enough to adapt to many different form factors and use cases. All Microsoft really needs to do is license it differently to different customer types. Which, by the way, it already does too.

Also, and seriously, this is the third new SKU (product edition) announced this year alone, alongside Windows 10 S and Windows 10 Business (part of Microsoft 365). We’re hitting at some real subtle shades here.

Obligation fulfilled, I will step off the soapbox. Well, I’ll keep one foot on it just in case.

“Windows 10 Pro for Workstations is a high-end edition of Windows 10 Pro, comes with unique support for server grade PC hardware and is designed to meet demanding needs of mission critical and compute intensive workloads,” Microsoft’s Klaus Diaconu explains. “Windows 10 Pro designed to meet the needs of our advanced users deploying their Workstation PCs in demanding and mission-critical scenarios.”

Here’s what we know about Windows 10 Pro for Workstations.

It has a great name. He says sarcastically.

It will become available with the Fall Creators Update, or Windows 10 version 1709.

It was created in response to feedback from the Windows Insider Program, which I find to be incredible. (Not the good kind.) There has to be a mountain of feedback about broken and out of date technologies in Windows 10 (File Explorer as an obvious example), and what bubbled up was the need for yet another product edition? Really?

The value proposition is to increase the performance and reliability of high-end PCs. Which one might argue should simply be the goal of Windows 10, generally, on all PCs, generally.

Windows 10 Pro for Workstations utilizes ReFS (the Resilient file system) for what Microsoft calls “cloud-grade resiliency for data on fault-tolerant storage spaces.” It also uses persistent memory, so that the contents of RAM are retained during power-downs. And it utilizes SMB Direct for faster file sharing when used with specialty network controllers.

It will support higher-end PC configurations than other Windows 10 product editions, including “server grade” Intel Xeon or AMD Opteron processors with up to 4 CPUs (normally limited to 2 CPUs) and up to 6 TB of RAM (normally limited to 2 TB).

There is no word on pricing. Because if you have to ask, well, you know the drill.

What I see here, honestly, is a set of features that should simply be included in Windows 10 Pro. And that the only reason to break them out into a new SKU is to charge customers more for the privilege of using them. It reminds me of the luxury car market, and maybe, as there, some of these high-end features will filter down to the underclass over time.


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