Microsoft Windows 7 Challenges for Enterprises and the Hardware Dilemma with Intel

End of Intel Skylake Support for Windows 7

There is a lot of noise about Windows 10 and the upcoming release on August 2nd this year. Microsoft is still trying to push Windows 10 into their customer base with free installations, in order to hit their self proclaimed goal to run Windows 10 on 1 billion devices by mid 2018, which is unlikely to happen. Even with the Windows 10 1511 release which was more business focused enterprise customers started to pilot the version. Ed Bott from ZNET explained the issue with Windows 10 quite well:

According to Microsoft’s stats, 96 percent of enterprise customers have Windows 10 pilot programs going on. Actual adoption of Windows 10 in the enterprise, however, is still a tiny number. That reflects the traditionally conservative outlook of those customers and represents both an opportunity and a threat to Microsoft, which doesn’t want to see Windows 7 turn into another XP, hanging on well past its sell-by date.

So Windows 7 is still the real world for enterprise customers and this won’t change that fast.

Intel Skylake added another dimension to the dilemma of the hardware ecosystem, Ed Bott reported, especially to the Microsoft Surface line:

“I can report that it does indeed show off Windows 10, including its occasional frustrations and aggravations.”

Most of the problems that plagued those early adopters have now been fixed, and based on my experience with devices from other manufacturers, Intel’s Skylake processors can shoulder much of the blame.

That’s exactly what I experienced since the beginning of 2016. We had a tremendous feedback from customers about their challenges in setting up Microsoft Surfaces and “Surface-like” hardware. Since the release of those devices, “owners of the Surface Book were reporting serious bugs, and it was several more months before a series of driver and firmware updates fixed most of those issues.” The implementation of UEFI stack especially what was needed to manage those devices within the enterprise network is so buggy, that not only Microsoft and most of the hardware vendors shipped an extensive amount of firmware bugfixes for OS deployments in enterprises.

But it didn’t stop for hybrid devices only. As Windows 7 is the standard for enterprises, enterprise customers are challenged to buy Intel Skylake hardware and manage it through their locations. Mid-March 2016, Microsoft and hardware vendors were pushed by their customers to redefine the early statement about the commitment of Windows 7/8.1 and the support, which can be found here: Windows 10 Embracing Silicon Innovation. This also led to a common website of Microsoft with their OEM hardware partners for Intel Skylake systems supported for Windows 7 and 8.1Only specific new Intel Skylake devices will be supported to run Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 until July 17, 2017.

End of Intel Skylake Support for Windows 7

What does this mean for you? Obviously, Windows 7 is from October 2009 and has problems to run on hardware build in 2016 due to missing drivers. This affects not only the operating system Windows 7, but Windows PE as well to deploy it. I really recommend to check your hardware vendor for necessary drivers. The same review should be about your hardware model, is it really recommended to run Windows 7 on your device? We found out that not all drivers from the OEM hardware vendors are really good to be used for both stages Windows PE and Windows operating system. Not all drivers which are recommended by your hardware vendor are implemented clean. Our experiences with customers were that they have used HP drivers for Windows PE to deploy hardware from vendors like Dell or Lenovo. From my perspective this really sounds weird, but as it worked for some of them, maybe it might be a solution for you as well.

What’s next from hardware vendors? Dell confirmed their plan only to accept hardware configurations for Windows 10 and downgrades till mid-August, max. late August 2016. After this period only Windows 10 configurations with secure boot enabled are accepted by default. Other hardware configurations will lead to a build-to-order. Windows 7 as an OEM will be expire October 30th 2016 at Dell. Lenovo and Fujitsu won’t be that restrictive as Dell is, especially with their secure boot options.

What’s does it mean for Windows 7 and Intel Kaby Lake? Intel Kaby Lake will hit the consumer market in October 2016, enterprise lines are planned for January 2017. As mentioned by Microsoft and Intel Windows 7 won’t be supported any longer on Intel Kaby Lake:

Windows 10 will be the only supported Windows platform on Intel’s upcoming “Kaby Lake” silicon, Qualcomm’s upcoming “8996” silicon, and AMD’s upcoming “Bristol Ridge” silicon.
Read more at https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2016/01/15/windows-10-embracing-silicon-innovation/#PPOetWI074gqJvKP.99

This might be the opportunity for AMD or Qualcomm to fill the gap of running Windows 7 on new hardware, but this is only speculation and rumors.

Recommended actions:

  1. Pilot Windows 10, if you haven’t already started. I hope you are not one of the 4 percent😉.
  2. Get executive management attention NOW! The situation is getting more and more mission critical as hardware vendors won’t support Windows 7 any longer. Align your workspace strategy.
  3. Plan how you migrate to Windows 10 and what’s needed to operate it within your company. You won’t need to migrate all workstations by once but make sure how to run them in parallel and when it might be a good time for a replacement. As you are already replacing existing hardware based on leasing try to run them on Windows 10.
  4. Check your hardware vendors for alternative configurations and make sure you’ll get the right and enough hardware (and especially drivers), if you’ll stick with Windows 7.
  5. Start evaluating virtualization technologies again. Maybe some applications are worth to virtualize. Microsoft is bundling App-V into the upcoming Windows 10 Redstone release. If you haven’t experimented with application or desktop virtualization, this might be a good starting point.

Something to add? Please share your opinion and experiences, I’d love to hear about it.

Cheers,

Patrick

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Hello stranger, long time no see.

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.

It’s been a while since my last post back in 2015. I’ve took an intentional break writing post due to several experiences I’ve made. Since then I’ve started handwriting into a journal to focus more on myself rather than sharing industry or personal experiences from my daily view. The last view weeks the idea grew again to start writing and sharing observations from my daily life. So this is the initial post for reshaping this blog again. When I first started writing about it, I had no clear idea or vision, why to write a blog. This mindset evolved so I will continue to share my thoughts and experiences in this blog.

So stay tuned for some upcoming ideas.

Patrick

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Nonviolent #Communication for #agile teams

NonviolentCommunication

I’ve written before about the communication challenges of a scrum team. For me communication is nothing special to scrum, but it is very important to find a common understanding when comes to collaborative work building features and talking about user stories. It also improves our daily lifes working on our behaviors and attitudes.

I’ve bought an audio book at audible which really helps me a lot going through this process what I’d like to share: Nonviolent Communication: Create Your Life, Your Relationships, and Your World in Harmony with Your Values from Marshall Rosenberg

Rosenberg describes an easy technique to focus your attention on four components when communicating:

  1. Observation
  2. Feelings
  3. Needs
  4. Request

Further reading about nonviolent communication at wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonviolent_Communication

This special form of communication also shows me my way to express real leadership. The intentions fit perfectly my mindset:

  • Open-hearted living
  • Choice, Responsibility, Peace
  • Sharing Power (Partnership)

I am very thankful to Marshall Rosenberg sharing his experiences and learnings about nonviolent communication. Listening and reading about nonviolent communication helps me to express my feelings and needs much better. I highly recommend his book and technique for scrum teams, not only Product Owners or Scrum Masters, for a much better culture. His book is also a revelation for highly sensible persons.

I’d love to read and listen more about similar things and will be glad for each and every comment.

Thank you,

Patrick

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Leadership vs. Management

Last week I found a great article from Marty Cagan about Leadership vs. Management which inspired me to rewrite his thoughts into an table for a better overview:

Leadership vs Management

Further inspiring sources I’d like to share:

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Three thoughts about #mobile is changing the world and strategies of #Microsoft #Windows10

The latest blogpost from Benedict Evans again showed some great figures and insights that mobile is changing the world. Here are three thoughts about how mobile is changing the world and strategies of Microsoft Windows 10:

  1. Microsoft is no longer dominant and has been outpaced due to the amount of sold mobile devices. The upcoming Microsoft Windows 10 release only focussed on PC’s and is missing the mobile version, not only because of hardware challenges to run those devices with Windows 10. The mobile first strategy of Microsoft still has some challenges and mobile market opportunities fall short.
    Microsoft is no longer dominant
  2. Microsoft & Intel both missed the mobile tsunami. Android has become the dominant platform for mobile devices and iOS for tablets. It comes along that phones are bought every two years and PC’s every five years. If you have watched the latest Microsoft Build conference it is clear that Microsoft is trying to adopt Apple and Google apps to their platform with an migration plan. Obvious as well that Microsoft made Visual Studio Code available for multiple platforms too, which might be a good idea to win back developers using different platforms for development as they have gone away from Microsoft in the past but are used to Microsoft technologies.
    Microsoft and Intel are old school
  3. Phones are more sophisticated than PC’s – proliferation of sensors creates far more capability and sophistication than PC’s. One of the best strategies Microsoft offers with Windows 10 will be the IoT edition and the next big thing. As Microsoft missed a bigger market share in the mobile area, Internet of Things is the next big thing and might be a good strategy to win back market share in the mobile area. As the mobile supply chain dominates all technology, and smartphone components are broadly used, augmented reality (e.g. HoloLens), connected cars and home, wearables, drones etc. are on the horizon. New sensors and hardware devices enrich mobile devices as well, so the mobile platform is the most important hub to connect and create new businesses.

 

Also check my latest post from #Microsoft #Build2015.

Let me know your thoughts, love to read and learn more about it.

Patrick

 

View full presentation from a16z:

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#Microsoft is selling a vision while blending #Windows10 reality at #Build2015

This week there have been a lot of announcements at #Build2015 and I am expecting more concrete to come next week at #Ignite2015. My view about Microsoft is that they are still running after the mobile internet since desktops are no longer dominant. I have written another post back in 2013 about how important mobility is for software vendors, which underlines the importance of Windows 10 today:

Devices / Users (MM in Log Scale)

 

This graphic also marks an important indicator for the buzz around the Internet of Things (#IoT), because you have to think outside the box when you imagine the mentioned “multiple devices” from the graphic. A great presentation from @ValaAshafar explains the world around #IoT and the bandwagon for Windows 10 IoT:

 

So the unified approach from Microsoft about Windows 10 as one platform for all is huge an very important to win back market share as a platform, as for example the market for tablets is struggling due to 2-in-1 devices like the Microsoft Surface:

Microsoft as the leader of the desktop market has recognized the mobility threat and is embracing this challenge with multiple strategies:

  1. Native Microsoft apps for non-Windows platforms for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Note.
  2. Microsoft HoloLens came with a big bang last year and showed some impressive demos at Build:
    I am still curious about the innovation appearance about HoloLens, because predicted prices are higher than the Playstation and availability dates are unknown. Interesting too, that HoloLens was a big reason to buy Minecraft as Satya Nadella mentioned in an interview with the New York Times. A glimpse behind the scenes, the article mentioned some competitors as well with less market dominance compared to Microsoft but promising products for competitors:

  3. Besides the unified development approach of Microsoft bringing Visual Studio Code to all major platforms shows the tremendous momentum of the device and os diversity through mobility and cloud computing. Especially with the focus on building applications for Microsoft Azure.
  4. Microsoft continued the talk about universal apps along with the goal of 1 billion users within the next two to three years.
    https://twitter.com/Virtual_Patrick/status/594211377075585025
  5. Another great idea is the universal app approach with Microsoft Continuum to embrace Android apps to Windows platforms.
  6. Microsoft Continuum is much more promising when you think about turning Windows 10 phones into tiny, full-blown Windows PCs. The Nirvana Phone might become real.

But let’s face the reality, Microsoft has a long way to go with Windows 10 even they claim themselves a Mobile First, Cloud First company. This is the most interesting statement for me, that Microsoft is selling a vision while blending the Windows 10 reality. Their biggest challenges are their phone platforms and mobility itself:

I also recommend two inspiring posts about Build and Windows 10 from @JanDawson similar to my view:

Enough said, let’s check the announcements of Microsoft Ignite next week.

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#Agile: Improve your daily life while working on your basic roots of paradigms

Vacation is reflection time for me as well, so I bought a classic from Steven R. Covey. For some some of you this might be boring or bathetic, but Covey taught me a real big lesson about attitudes and behaviors. For most of you, it may be an easy one to understand that attitudes and behaviors are based on paradigms. Covey describes paradigms to see them as maps. But a map does not fit to all territories. For example if you have a map of Frankfurt and you are in Berlin, it will be hard to get to the center or even frustrating.

“You might work on your behavior – you could try harder, be more diligent, double your speed. But your efforts would only succeed in getting you to the wrong place faster.

You might work on you attitude – you could think more positively. You still wouldn’t get to the right place, but perhaps wouldn’t care. Your attitude would be so positive, you’d be happy wherever you are.

The point is, you’d still be lost. The fundamental problem has nothing to do with your behavior or your attitude. It has everything to do with having a wrong map.”

 

And Covey explains paradigms by an easy illustration:

“Do you see a woman? How old would you say she is? What does she look like? What is she wearing? In what kind of roles do you see her?”

Young Lady

 

“But what if I were to tell you that you’re wrong? What if I said this picture is of a woman in her 60’s or 70’s who looks sad and has a huge nose? Who’s right? Look at the picture again.”

Young Lady in Black

Try to focus on the nose – it is important to see the old lady first, before you continue to the next picture.

For those who are not able to see the old lady in picture 2, there is another one here:

Old Lady

This simple example brings up discussions about what you see and what you don’t – and they are not logical, they are psychological, based on your paradigms.

I wrote about the post The right attitude for #scrum and #life a view weeks ago which are based on my paradigms. So the next step will conclude into this:

I believe Covey shows a basic example in the daily life of everybody. I deal with similar issues every day when it comes to customer requirements, discussions about user stories, tasks and priorities. So I hope those simple examples helps to improve our daily life.

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