Microsoft say Windows 10 is the last version of Windows that they will deliver as Windows is moving to an “as-a-Service” model where all new functionality is to be provided via updates, rather than new versions. Windows 10 comes with a consistent user experience across all form factors, tighter integration with other elements of the Microsoft Ecosystem, and brand new features like Microsoft Edge browser and the voice activated “personal assistant” Cortana.
The free upgrade limits flexibility with regard to imaging rights and deployment options. As such, enterprises should still enter into a volume licensing agreement. Microsoft has been encouraging customers to move toward Software Assurance (SA) for Windows by including various benefits only available with those agreements. Many of the more advanced security features and some of the more granular management features are only available with Enterprise. More customers can now avail of these benefits and organizations need to re-evaluate whether to purchase SA and Windows Enterprise as they plan for Windows 10.
Window 10 is available under Volume Licensing in two editions:
- Windows 10 Pro is a desktop edition for PCs, tablets and 2-in-1s. Building upon both the familiar and innovative features of Windows 10 Home, it has many extra features to meet the diverse needs of small businesses.
- Windows 10 Enterprise builds on Windows 10 Pro, adding advanced features designed to meet the demands of medium and large sized organizations. It provides advanced capabilities to help protect against the ever-growing range of modern security threats targeted at devices, identities, applications and sensitive company information. Windows 10 Enterprise also supports the broadest range of options for operating system deployment and comprehensive device and app management.
Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack
One of the main changes in terms of licensing is that the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) is included in SA for Windows, and therefore it is no longer available as a Standalone Add-on.
Delivering Windows Updates
With Windows 10, Microsoft is changing the way it delivers updates to its operating system, introducing the concept of “Service Branch”. The main difference between Service Branches is the option to defer and manage the installation of the available updates.
Current Branch is the only option for Windows 10 Home edition. Under this Branch, Security Updates, Features and Fixes are automatically applied, and there is no option to delay or customize these updates.
Current Branch for Business (CBB) is available for Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education. CBB includes the requirements of the Current Branch, but also provides the option of customizing when and which Security Updates, Features and Fixes are applied, similar to how Windows Update works today in current versions of Windows. Under CBB, updates cannot be deferred indefinitely, and Windows Updates can be managed using enterprise management tools such as Windows Update for Business and/ WSUS.
Long Term Servicing Branch (LTSB) is only available to volume license customers running Windows 10 Enterprise. It grants the most flexible options for managing Windows Updates. Windows Updates can be customized to only accept Security Fixes, and they can be managed using enterprise management tools such as Windows Update for Business and/ WSUS.
Windows Client Operating System
Microsoft is changing the licensing models for the Windows Client Operating System as it rebrands the Windows Enterprise name, creating a SKU offering that includes advanced security features.
Windows Enterprise E3
Formerly known as Windows 10 Enterprise with SA, this new model adds management and control features with the inclusion of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP), as well as additional security.
- Windows 10 Enterprise E3 provides access to Enterprise Edition Current Branch, Current Branch for Business and LTSB
- E3 is available with SA in Open, MPSA, and Enterprise Agreement (EA) programs
- NEW E3 per user is available in the Cloud Solution Provider program
- Requires a qualified underlying operating system license
Windows Enterprise E5
This new SKU offering includes everything in Windows Enterprise E3, plus advanced security services like Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (WDATP), which gives customers the ability to detect, investigate, and respond to advanced security concerns on their network.
- Windows 10 Enterprise E5 includes Windows Enterprise 10 E3 plus Windows Defender ATP
- E5 is available per device or per user, both with traditional SA benefits in MPSA, EA programs
- E5 can be purchased as an Add-on to E3, or as a Standalone offer
- Requires a qualified underlying Operating System license
To support these offerings, new SKUs and licensing paths will be offered in a variety of options, including per device or per user, perpetual or subscription based, and Add-ons that help move existing customers to higher editions. Options will vary based on an organization’s anniversary or mid-term transactions, as opposed to new license purchases or renewals.
Windows 10 Anniversary Update
The Windows 10 Anniversary Update launched in August 2016. This launch includes the rebranding of Windows Enterprise SA and a new offering that includes Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection.
Summary of Changes
Effective August 1, 2016
- New branding of Windows Ent SA SKUs: They are now Windows Enterprise E3
- New branding of Windows Education SA SKUs: They are now Windows Education E3
- New SKUs for Windows Enterprise E5, which includes Windows Enterprise E3 plus Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (Windows Defender ATP). Windows Enterprise E5 is being made available in Enterprise Agreement, EAS and MPSA.
- New SKUs for Windows Education E5, which will include Windows Education E3, plus Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (Windows Defender ATP). Windows Education E5 is being made available in MPSA and EES.
Effective September 1, 2016
- Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB 2016 Upgrade (This SKU does not include SA).
Microsoft Windows Price Changes
The continuous innovation that Microsoft is delivering in Windows 10 improves the security, the manageability, and the Enterprise proven productivity scenarios. In addition, a new usage benefit for VDA Per User licenses will allow customers to host Windows 10 CBB (BYOL) on multi-tenant platforms, like Azure and approved third party partners.
So to reflect these benefits, Microsoft is increasing the Windows VDA SKU prices by about 14% effective January 1, 2017. As part of this change, Microsoft is also launching a NEW VDA Per User Add-On SKU for customers who want to upgrade from VDA Per Device to VDA Per User.
SKU Number SKU Name
AAA-10744 VDA Per User Add-On
Contact HPE to fulfil your Microsoft licensing needs. For more information about SLMS, access the following link: www.hpe.com/ww/slms.