Avoiding frustration and saving costs with Windows 10 IoT Enterprise

Constant updates for the operating system annoy many home users and cause real discontent in the industry. Windows 10 IoT Enterprise gives you control of the update, provided you opt for the correct version. This article explains how to find out which one that is, and why you will even save on licensing costs.

By Patrik Hellmüller, Syslogic        Download PDF version of this article

Microsoft is taking a big step forward in the industry with the Windows 10 IoT operating system presented in 2015. While Microsoft dominates the home user market, many users rely on Linux systems in industry, especially in mechanical engineering and in industrial automation. And these are precisely the users Microsoft wants to win for themselves. The company has come up with a lot in order to be successful here, and so that industrial customers will be satisfied in the long term. In this article we will limit ourselves to Windows 10 IoT Enterprise.

One annoyance for many industrial users is constant updates for the operating system. Functional updates often cause compatibility problems. This in turn can cause downtimes in production as well as failures, frustration and anger. At the same time, the need for security increases. Industrial users also want the assurance that the version they are using does not have any security vulnerabilities. However, regular updates are necessary precisely to prevent such vulnerabilities. In the Long Term Servicing Branch (LTSB) version, new versions are provided as an update only every two to three years. These updates include new Windows features which are already used with the Current Branch and Current Branch for Business versions, and have therefore already been put through their paces.

Microsoft has recognized this conflict of interest and is offering industrial customers a solution. This consists of the LTSB version (Long Term Servicing Branch) of Windows 10 IoT Enterprise. The LTSB version was developed specifically for industrial applications. It suffices with releases in a cycle of two to three years. These only contain functions that have already been tested and whose development is completed. In order to ensure that no security gaps result from the long update cycles, security updates and hotfixes are also continuously installed with the LTSB version. The operating system remains virtually untouched for a long period of time, however, since these are functional updates and not security-related updates. Any problems caused by functional updates (releases) are thus prevented. Generally you can say that the LTSB version of Windows 10 IoT Enterprise offers a much higher level of control of updates compared to all previous products. For customers from industrial automation or from mechanical engineering this is an important criterion, since in the past automatic updates always created compatibility issues.

Another good reason for Windows 10 IoT Enterprise is the pricing policy of Microsoft. Compared to Windows Embedded, the licenses for Windows 10 IoT are considerably cheaper. This is because Microsoft makes the license costs dependent on the processing power of the hardware. Since Syslogic only uses processors with low power loss for its fanless embedded systems, the entry license from Windows10 IoT Enterprise suffices. While a license of the predecessor product Windows Embedded Standard 7 cost around 110 USD, the entry license for Windows 10 IoT Enterprise can be had for about half. The license costs for Syslogic embedded systems are also half.

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