Microsoft has released a version of Windows 10 aimed directly at workstation users. With special hardware support and a heap of new software features, should you care about it?
How long has it been since a version of Windows had the word “workstation” in its name? Windows NT? Regardless, we now have a version of Windows 10 with “for Workstations” tacked on to the end.
Since Windows 10 is effectively the last version of Windows with the shift to SaaS for the OS, it makes sense that Microsoft is settling into all the niches. Not all of these pan out. Windows 10 S for example, seems to be reaching end of life in the eyes of Microsoft. Only time will tell if Windows 10 for Workstations will have staying power.
The Pecking Order
In terms of the product line Windows 10 for Workstations sits just above Windows 10 Pro and as something distinct from Enterprise versions. The key difference is that this version of Windows is built for systems that have special workstation hardware, built for reliability and stability. T’s also designed with computers in mind that have massive amounts of RAM, heaps of CPU cores and are otherwise beyond even high-end business machines Some of these features have been pulled in from the server edition of Windows 10, but here they are packaged into a more desktop-friendly OS. Let’s see what the most important features are from a workstation perspective.
Persistent Memory Technology
Expensive non-volatile RAM does not lose its contents when the power is cut off. Which makes it perfect for high-speed storage of critical information. This new version of Windows 10 will support it natively and take full advantage of the extra speed this provides, where before critical info would be swapped to slow secondary storage now it can stay in RAM without introducing such a huge bottleneck.
The Resilient File System
The ReFS technology is implemented in some form for all Windows versions, but so far only the server edition could format a drive natively to take advantage of the technology. ReFS is a cloud-grade technology that automatically detects corrupt information and repairs it on the fly through the use of mirror drives and some clever monitoring software. As far as we know there’s no way to make a bootable ReFS drive yet, but perhaps Windows 10 Pro for Workstations will bring such a feature to the table.
Better Hardware Support
Right now Windows 10 Pro only allows you to have two physical CPUs and tops out at two TB of RAM. This workstation edition will support four CPU sockets and six TB of RAM. So bring on the hardware.