Some time ago I wrote about the return of Windows for Workstations and Microsoft has now confirmed that there will, indeed, be a new product under the Workstation branding. It’s a little bit odd that the company is adding yet another Windows edition to an already busy lineup.
In case you don’t know about the various Windows 10 options you’ve currently got, here’s a list:
Windows 10 S – Feature-limited, runs only apps from the Windows Store
Windows 10 Home – most users will have this on their home machines
Windows 10 Pro – adds a couple of features, remote desktop server, joining domains
Windows 10 Enterprise – more security control for admins and extra virtualization
Windows 10 Education – same as Enterprise, but lacks Cortana
Windows 10 Pro Education – customized for school setup, bundled by education OEMs
Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB – Long-term support version, 10-year security updates
And for “devices” there are:
Windows 10 Mobile – For phones or tablets
Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise – extra features for system admins
Windows 10 IoT – Reduced footprint edition for low-power devices
Windows 10 Team – Surface Hub specific edition
So Windows 10 Pro for Workstations has a lot of other editions to compete with. That said, this edition is aimed at the very high end. Maybe researchers or people using far more hardware resources that Windows 10 was designed to handle.
Microsoft has confirmed the following features for the Workstation edition:
ReFS – handles large hard drives and has some important features for power users, it’s fault-tolerant and uses integrity streams to protect data. It can detect corruption and will replace it with a healthy version from a mirror.
Persistent Memory – using NVDIMM-N Windows 10 Pro for Workstations can be turned off, but retain information in RAM. This new tech is similar in operation to Intel’s Optane, in that it’s fast and is non-volatile. However Optane isn’t a RAM replacement, NVDIMM-Ns are and operate at high speed.
SMB Direct – reduces load on the CPU while giving incredibly high networking speeds. Very low latency and high throughput are both excellent features for those using high-end workstations to process a large volume of data from network devices.
Supports up to four AMD Opteron and Intel Xeon CPUs (up from two in other Windows editions)
Support for 6TB of RAM (up from 2TB of RAM currently)
So basically Windows 10 Pro for Workstations will appeal to only a few select users with specific hardware. It’s an exciting chance for home users to see what’s likely to show up in our home PCs in the coming years, but for most normal users Workstation isn’t much to worry about. It is however interesting to see how Microsoft is taking “Windows 10 is the last version of Windows” and basically adding new features to newly-named editions instead.