Chernyak promises that updates will be "much more smooth" but there will still be times when you don't want the disruption of having PCs restart. "Even for people who get updates almost immediately, you may still want to have maintenance windows – let alone your general users or the finance team. You can put in extra scrutiny – make sure it's overnight or that there are no updates in the last two weeks of the quarter or maybe no updates every last week of the month. You can just set the schedules."
Businesses can do that with Windows Update for Business, and "integration with System Center means they can still use it to manage and schedule things … for an extra level of robustness."
Windows Update for Business also supports peer-to-peer delivery (something that's been in Windows Server for a while as Branch Cache, and is already in WSUS), and that helps with both security and bandwidth costs. "Not every machine has to be connected to the internet to get updates; you can use peer-to-peer connections to save bandwidth."
Windows Update for Business isn't just for Windows either, Chernyak told TechRadar. "We're working with Office to have a similar approach. We're looking to make sure this is a general 'as a service' delivery of Microsoft products going forward."
Getting updates out faster will help Microsoft improve the quality of updates too, she suggests. "It's win-win – everyone is more secure and up-to-date and we have higher quality. Us delivering updates and IT having control is part of the equation, but it's also important that we're getting telemetry back from user systems and that will allow us to ensure higher quality updates. When we ship an update we can see how it's going and we can immediately take action if it needs our attention."
But it's not just about noticing problems with updates – the idea is that lots of smaller updates can be more reliable than a few big changes. "It's the incremental nature of updates. We used to have these big updates that were rare and hard to consume. We're changing our approach. We're getting incremental with small updates so that it's almost constant, so that it becomes almost a non-event. There is a much higher probability of delivering high quality when you ship in increments and you have telemetry to know if you ship and there is something that is breaking."
Change in philosophy
This is all part of the change to how Microsoft delivers functionality in products, which is now through updates as much as through new versions (it's entirely possible that Windows 10 will be the current version of Windows for a very long time).
"I don't think the volume of updates changes," explains Chernyak, "I think the frequency changes because it's the same volume spread in smaller chunks, so it makes it easier for you because you can take every small chunk and react much quicker because it's easier to fix. It is a different paradigm.
"We're coming from the idea of a big splash and then silence, then a big splash and then silence again, it's more like a crank of the pedal on a bicycle and it moves. The more continuous it is, the easier it is for everybody. But with Windows we do understand some people may want to go faster or slower on the bicycle and that is the control we give people with Windows Update for Business – we're giving them essentially speed control on the bicycle, like different gears."
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Mary (Twitter, Google+, website) started her career at Future Publishing, saw the AOL meltdown first hand the first time around when she ran the AOL UK computing channel, and she's been a freelance tech writer for over a decade. She's used every version of Windows and Office released, and every smartphone too, but she's still looking for the perfect tablet. Yes, she really does have USB earrings.