App-V, UE-V coming to Windows 10 Enterprise -- but not Pro

Microsoft's launch of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update on Aug. 2 includes new enterprise tools and features, but Windows 10 Pro customers may be disappointed.

Windows 10 Pro customers won't have access to App-V and UE-V in the upcoming Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

The update, which Microsoft will release to existing customers Aug. 2, includes more enterprise security features, plus the company's Application Virtualization (App-V) and User Environment Virtualization (UE-V) offerings. Windows 10 Enterprise customers will get the two application virtualization products included in the OS, and they may not need Software Assurance -- a previous requirement -- depending on their volume licensing. But existing App-V and UE-V customers on Windows 10 Pro will have to move to Windows 10 Enterprise if they want to continue using those tools, which costs time and money.

"It may make some Pro customers upset," said Robert Young, analyst at research firm IDC.

Larger Windows 10 Pro shops may move to Windows 10 Enterprise to continue using App-V and UE-V, but SMBs might take the opportunity to move to competing products, such as VMware ThinApp, Young said.

On the flip side, IT pros who use Windows 10 Enterprise and competing app virtualization products may consider switching to App-V and UE-V, because they'll be included in the operating system.

About 80% of Windows 10 business license shipments in 2015 were for Windows 10 Pro, according to IDC. There is an effort from Microsoft to move more of these customers over to the paid Enterprise edition, Young said.

When Windows 10 launched a year ago, Microsoft offered the Pro edition to businesses as a free upgrade. That deal ends July 29. (Businesses have always had to pay for Windows 10 Enterprise.)

"It's coming more into focus why Microsoft gave away Windows 10 for free for a year," said James Gordon, senior vice president of IT at Needham Bank in Needham, Mass. "People who decided to upgrade -- it might not be free for the features they want. It leaves them in a vulnerable space, because they can't go back to Windows 7. It's too bad they couldn't announce these subtle changes 12 months ago."

It's too bad they couldn't announce these subtle changes 12 months ago.
James Gordonsenior vice president, Needham Bank

App-V and UE-V are currently available through the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack suite. Their addition to Windows 10 Enterprise will help IT pros who will no longer have to keep up with App-V and UE-V updates and patches separately, as Windows 10 automatic updates will take care of them. In addition, App-V could help organizations deliver unsupported legacy applications to Windows 10 PCs, said Steven Powers, IT manager at Millar Inc., a medical technology provider in Houston.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update improves security

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update also includes two new features aimed at preventing security threats and data leakage.

Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection, a new free antimalware service, detects cyberattacks by using security data from prior attacks that Microsoft collects with analytics tools. Microsoft then uses this information to build Windows 10 patches with stronger security, which it delivers through its monthly automatic updates.

And the new Windows Information Protection feature uses a container on corporate data and automatically encrypts apps, email and more. When users create new content, Windows Information Protection allows them to define if it is of a corporate or personal nature, or IT can designate all new content created on a device as corporate.

Windows 10 growth

Windows 10 is the fastest-growing Windows OS to date, with 350 million active devices, but with the free upgrade offer ending, this pace may slow down. Still, customers will need to avoid having an unsupported OS, said Jon Booth, IT director at Bear Valley Community Healthcare District in Big Bear Lake, Calif.

"It most definitely will slow down, but what's going to happen is they will start sunsetting Windows 7, so people will go to Windows 10," he said.

Microsoft said in January Windows 7 and 8.1 will reach end of life on PCs with newer processors July 17, 2017.

"Even with the free Windows expiring, I still expect Microsoft to hit 500 million users by the end of the year with Windows 10," said Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst of research firm Moor Insights and Strategy in Austin, Texas.

"Both of these technologies are relatively advanced security features," said Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst of research firm Moor Insights and Strategy in Austin, Texas. "The first is related to keeping attackers out, and the latter is to protect files if there is a breach. Enterprises should adopt technologies like these."

Many companies use third-party security tools for this type of data protection, but having it included in Windows 10 may sway businesses to move away from third-party software, Powers said.

"If it's already there for me to use, why add another layer of troubleshooting or applications that I don't need, with the cost-savings benefit?" he said.

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