Microsoft Introduces New Windows 10 Pro for Workstation Edition

Microsoft introduces a new Windows 10 edition called Workstation with features for high end desktop PCs. Find out what it is and whats included.

Image from Windows Blogs

If you weren’t already confused by Microsoft’s alphabet soup of Windows 10 SKUs (stock keeping units), there is another one coming this fall. Introducing Windows 10 Pro for Workstations. That’s right, the 90s called and they want their special Windows 10 edition, too. Back in May, Microsoft introduced the most recent edition, Windows 10 S, or so I thought because there is also a special edition available to Microsoft business customers called Windows 10 for Business under the software firm’s upcoming Microsoft 365 Business online service. So, what is Windows 10 Pro for Workstations and what’s included?

New Windows 10 Pro for Workstation Edition Coming this Fall

Microsoft is describing Windows 10 Pro for Workstation as the best edition for demanding customers including Rihanna. Windows 10 Pro for Workstation puts emphasis on four critical areas: the Resilient File System (first introduced in Windows 8); persistent memory; faster file sharing through SMB Direct; and support for the latest high-end workstation processors from Intel and AMD. Here is what Microsoft had to say about each in detail:

The value of Windows 10 Pro for Workstations is directly aligned to increase the performance and reliability of high-end PCs, with the following features:

  • ReFS (Resilient file system): ReFS provides cloud-grade resiliency for data on fault-tolerant storage spaces and manages very large volumes with ease. ReFS is designed to be resilient to data corruption, optimized for handling large data volumes, auto-correcting and more. It protects your data with integrity streams on your mirrored storage spaces. Using its integrity streams, ReFS detects when data becomes corrupt on one of the mirrored drives and uses a healthy copy of your data on the other drive to correct and protect your precious data.
  • Persistent memory: Windows 10 Pro for Workstations provides the most demanding apps and data with the performance they require with non-volatile memory modules (NVDIMM-N) hardware. NVDIMM-N enables you to read and write your files with the fastest speed possible, the speed of the computer’s main memory. Because NVDIMM-N is non-volatile memory, your files will still be there, even when you switch your workstation off.
  • Faster file sharing: Windows 10 Pro for Workstations includes a feature called SMB Direct, which supports the use of network adapters that have Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) capability. Network adapters that have RDMA can function at full speed with very low latency, while using very little CPU. For applications that access large datasets on remote SMB file shares, this feature enables:
    • Increased throughput: Leverages the full throughput of high speed networks where the network adapters coordinate the transfer of large amounts of data at line speed.
    • Low latency: Provides extremely fast responses to network requests, and, as a result, makes remote file storage feel as if it is directly attached storage.
    • Low CPU utilization: Uses fewer CPU cycles when transferring data over the network, which leaves more power available to other applications running on the system.
  • Expanded hardware support: One of the top pain points expressed by our Windows Insiders was the limits on taking advantage of the raw power of their machine. Hence, we are expanding hardware support in Windows 10 Pro for Workstations. Users will now be able to run Windows 10 Pro for Workstations on devices with high performance configurations including server grade Intel Xeon or AMD Opteron processors, with up to 4 CPUs (today limited to 2 CPUs) and add massive memory up to 6TB (today limited to 2TB). Source

It really does trigger the question, why these features; couldn’t they just add these unique features to existing premium business editions. That said, Microsoft somehow found a niche, one big enough to warrant splitting out a new product. The memory limit is particularly impressive, up from the current 2 TB in Pro and Enterprise to 6 TBs – that’s insane!

Microsoft doesn’t mention any consumer-based customers; this, for now, seems to be for organizations that are using systems with a special class of components that may be in the areas of animation, life sciences, video production and your traditional number cruncher and IT Pro.

Even if you own a workstation class system at home (I do), Microsoft is not detailing its availability or pricing yet; beyond fall and being a part of the next release of Windows 10, version 1709. Even now, there are some editions that are out of the general public’s eye like Windows 10 Pro Edu, Enterprise E3, and E5. Windows 10 Pro for Workstation might follow a similar trend.

Let us know what you think—is this new edition justified or is Microsoft taking it too far?

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