Windows 10 is now available to Microsoft Volume Licensing customers. 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.
Windows 10 is available as a free upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices, however Windows Enterprise is excluded from this offer, and Windows Enterprise customers will require active Software Assurance (SA) to be able to upgrade.
While a lot has been made about the free upgrade Microsoft is offering to Windows 7 and 8.1 users, the fact is that Windows 10 Enterprise contains greater benefits for enterprise customers. 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 SA for Windows by including various benefits only available with those agreements. One of those benefits has been the Windows Enterprise version. Some features that were exclusive in Windows 7 are now available in the Windows 10 Pro edition (such as BitLocker and multilingual user interface), but others remain available only as part of the Enterprise (or Education) editions with Windows 10.
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.
Volume Licensing customers with active SA for Windows purchased before August 1 will not automatically get rights to MDOP until your next SA renewal
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.
Pricing pf Windows licenses increase as below following General Availability of the new version:
- Windows enterprise SA per user USL (+ 16%)
- Windows enterprise SA per user from SA USL (+ 16%)
- Windows enterprise upgrade & SA (+ 20%)
Note: The integration of MDOP in Windows enterprise SA is effective only for customers who after the availability date of Windows 10, get new license for Windows Enterprise SA coverage or renew an expiring SA.
As a Microsoft-designated Licensing Solutions Provider (LSP), Enterprise Software Advisor, Authorized Government Reseller, Academic Reseller, Authorized Student Select Reseller and SPLA Reseller, HPE provides a global sales channel for Microsoft’s Volume Licensing Programs and Full Package Products. Check out our Microsoft licensing comparison chart and contact us for all your Microsoft licensing needs.