[Micronet] Berkeley Desktop: Windows 10 Update

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[Micronet] Berkeley Desktop: Windows 10 Update

Ben Gross
Hello Micronet!

We thought it would be useful to provide an update on EEI's (Endpoint Engineering and Infrastructure) plans and the current status of The Berkeley Desktop Windows 10 image to the wider campus community. If you do not like to read any further than the first paragraph, then the key takeaway is that we plan to release a Windows 10 Berkeley Desktop to production in July 2016. Read on for more details.

What's New and Important about Windows 10

Windows 10 is a major departure from previously released versions of Windows. Apart from the return of the familiar feel of the Windows 7 Start Menu, Windows 10 includes significant advances in the overall security, usability and manageability of the operating system that makes it a compelling standard for campus.

While Windows 10 has received reasonable reviews, it is clear that it will take a few updates from Microsoft for Windows 10 to become stable for large-scale enterprise use. We are excited about implementing these changes but Microsoft's approach to delivering Windows as a Service will require that EEI make fundamental changes to imaging, security settings, and how we manage machines.

Berkeley Desktop Images

EEI's goal is to create desktop computing infrastructure for campus that offers the best user experience at the greatest scale for the lowest cost. At any given time, EEI has three development tracks for Berkeley Desktop images: maintenance, production, and development. All Berkeley Desktop images are 64-bit images.

Maintenance Track: Previous image that we maintain and test the base OS for compatibility purposes.We provide a regularly updated minimal image that contains the operating system and system management tools. Additional software is available from self-service that includes software from the base production image.  There is no development work or new features for images in the maintenance track. Currently, Windows 7 is in our maintenance track.

Note: Microsoft stopped selling Windows 7 in retail stores in October 2013 and mainstream support for Windows 7 ended in January 2015. Windows 7 is now in extended support phase, which means Microsoft only produces security fixes and no feature fixes.

Production Track: Current image that we develop, test, and manage for the majority of customers. This release includes the operating system, system management tools, as well as productivity software such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat. Currently, Windows 8.1 is in our production track.

Development Track: OS that we research and develop for the next generation of the Berkeley Desktop image. The configuration and included software for this track should not be considered stable until it is moved to production. Windows 10 is our image in the development track.

Microsoft is transitioning from large Windows releases separated by multi-gaps, to what they refer to as Windows as a Service, where new releases with additional functionality arrive in far more frequent increments. Microsoft has described Windows 10 "as the last version of Windows." Based on Microsoft's current roadmap, releases of Windows 10 will eventually encompass the maintenance, production, and development tracks.

Note: For managed machines, regardless of track, EEI will continue to provide security fixes for as long as current management agents and security fixes are maintained by our vendors.
Berkeley Desktop Windows 10 Target Dates

October 2014 - EEI begins testing initial technical preview of Windows 10
July 2015 - EEI begins testing consumer release of Windows 10
August 2015 - EEI begins testing enterprise volume-licensed release of Windows 10
September 2015 - EEI internal testing version 1 release of Windows 10
November 2015 - EEI internal testing version 2 release of Windows 10
January 2016 - Windows 10 proof of concept and validation engagement with Microsoft
March 2016 - Campus beta release of Windows 10
July 2016 - Campus production release of Windows 10

Please note that there are many variables outside of our control so dates are based on assumptions that may change.

Where can I find more information?

For high level information on the Berkeley Desktop, please see:

Berkeley Desktop | Endpoint Engineering and Infrastructure

We will continue to provide updates and announce releases on the EEI CalShare site:

Endpoint Engineering and Infrastructure - Home

Windows 10 - Microsoft Windows

EEI presented technical details on overall changes to the Berkeley Desktop earlier this year. For more information, please see the links below. Note they will require UC Berkeley authentication.

In case you have not seen it, here is our July 29 2105 blog post for the Windows 10 release day

Windows 10 Update - EEI Blog

EEI Demo - BF NetInstaller WR Pro Tips, PD4, Patching Changes - 4/6/2015 - Google Slides

Berkeley Desktop Info Session Q2` 2015 - Google Slides

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