Digging Deeper into Windows Update for Business

Digging Deeper into Windows Update for Business

Last week at Microsoft Ignite, I had the chance to sit down with Stella Chernyak, Senior Director at Microsoft to talk about Windows 10 and the upcoming new product, Windows Update for Business (WUFB). As you read through that article you might get a sense there's a sort of tug-of-war between product groups about the importance of Windows Update for Business for different customers. But, despite WUFB being a relatively new concept even for Microsoft, the company is very much obligated to make each of its updating products work together. WSUS and SCCM are both already offered as patching solutions for all business sizes, so what will WUFB bring that the existing products don't?

With WUFB, Microsoft is focusing on Windows 10 new feature delivery, and not necessarily security updates, though that capability is baked in, too. Additionally, WUFB will not be focused on third party updates, like the capability SCCM delivers. Instead, WUFB will bring control over the constant rollout of new Windows 10 features and for now customers will still need to rely on normal patching methods to secure the environment.

WUFB is focused on:

  • Distribution rings – introduced as part of the Windows Insider program for Windows 10 technical previewers, business will be able to choose how quickly and how often systems are updated. These delivery rings will be customizable even beyond just the two offered during the beta program, allowing IT Pros to develop policies for when new features will be available.

  • Maintenance windows – using built-in policies, IT Pros will be able to control when updates can and cannot be delivered.

Additionally, Microsoft promises that WUFB will take advantage of Windows 10's new peer-to-peer updating delivery mechanism and will somehow integrate with its existing tools including SCCM, WSUS, the Enterprise Mobility Suite, and Microsoft Intune. Just what that integration will look like remains to be seen.

You may have also caught some headlines last week suggesting that "Patch Tuesday is dead," brought on by the announcement of WUFB. This is far from true. Patch Tuesday will continue for the foreseeable future. Mary Jo Foley asked Microsoft about this directly. Microsoft's response?

Windows Update for Business can take responsibility for the timely distribution of security updates for customers for free. Customers that choose to distribute updates themselves will continue to receive the updates on the 2nd Tuesday of the month.

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