It seems Microsoft has been approaching Windows 10, purely from a consumer perspective and this has had some companies worried, despite the earliest Builds of Windows 10 being provided only to "technical people" as part of the Windows Insider program. The worry comes from Microsoft communicating that Windows 10 could be the very last major release of Windows, supplying only feature updates in the future. To be on the most current version of Windows 10 would mean that companies would have to allow each and every update to install automatically, instead of continuing to follow tried-and-true methods for staging and controlling updates. Installing each and every update without proper vetting, could potentially cause issues with hardware or software compatibility. That's never a good thing. And, with Microsoft's historically awful patching year in 2014, the concern is definitely warranted. Customers have come to trust only that Microsoft's patching processes shouldn't be trusted.
Microsoft has been silent on the issue, until today. As part of a More Secure and Up to Date blog post today, Microsoft's Jim Alkove has outlined a couple new servicing models that are coming for businesses that decide to use Windows 10.
The two methods are called the Long Term Services Branch and the Current Branch for Business.
Per Microsoft the Long Term Services Branch is explained this way…
On these branches, customer devices will receive the level of enterprise support expected for the mission critical systems, keeping systems more secure with the latest security and critical updates, while minimizing change by not delivering new features for the duration of mainstream (five years) and extended support (five years). On Long Term Servicing branches, customers will have the flexibility to deliver security updates and fixes via Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) which allows full control over the internal distribution of updates using existing management solutions such as System Center Configuration Manager or to receive these updates automatically via Windows Update.
The very first Long Term Services Branch will be delivered along with the Windows 10 public release.
And, for the Current Branch for Business…
…enterprises will be able to receive feature updates after their quality and application compatibility has been assessed in the consumer market, while continuing to receive security updates on a regular basis. This gives IT departments’ time to start validating updates in their environments the day changes are shipped broadly to consumers, or in some cases earlier, if they have users enrolled in the Windows Insider Program. By the time Current branch for Business machines are updated, the changes will have been validated by millions of Insiders, consumers and customers’ internal test processes for several months, allowing updates to be deployed with this increased assurance of validation. Enterprises will be able to decide if they want to receive updates automatically via Windows Update, or via WSUS to have control through management tools over how the updates are distributed in their environments.