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Microsoft Operating Systems Software Windows

Microsoft Leak Reveals New Windows 10 Workstation Edition For Power Users (theverge.com) 113

Upon close inspection of the Windows 10 build that Microsoft accidentally pushed to insiders last week, several users are reporting discovering the reference of a new Windows 10 SKU. From a report: In a leaked slide, Microsoft describes the edition as "Windows 10 Pro for Workstation" with four main capabilities:
1. Workstation mode: Microsoft plans to optimize the OS by identifying "typical compute and graphics intensive workloads" to provide peak performance and reliability when Workstation mode is enabled.
2. Resilient file system: Microsoft's file system successor to NTFS, dubbed ReFS, is enabled in this new version, with support for fault-tolerance, optimized for large data volumes, and auto-correcting.
3. Faster file handling: As workstation machines are typically used for large data volumes across networks, Microsoft is including the SMBDirect protocol for file sharing and high throughput, low latency, and low CPU utilization when accessing network shares.
4. Expanded hardware support: Microsoft is also planning to allow Windows 10 Pro for Workstation on machines with up to 4 CPUs and a memory limit of 6TB. Windows 10 Pro currently only supports 2 CPUs.

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Microsoft Leak Reveals New Windows 10 Workstation Edition For Power Users

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  • Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday June 05, 2017 @01:32PM (#54552573) Homepage
    Good to hear they're making a version of Windows specifically for professional use. It should then come without all the crap bloatware, ads, and telemetry, right? Right?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      You wish. And I do, too. It's the first (and only) thing I thought of when reading the headline, actually... But then it turns out to just be some fucking stupid bullshit about performance. Sigh.

    • Re:Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @01:46PM (#54552701) Homepage Journal

      Oh, look! It's so cute when they're so naive!!!

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It'll have workstation-grade ads for POWER USERS!!!

    • Re:Great! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by TWX ( 665546 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @02:04PM (#54552869)

      What got me laughing was the following:

      Workstation mode: Microsoft plans to optimize the OS by identifying "typical compute and graphics intensive workloads" to provide peak performance and reliability when Workstation mode is enabled.

      So, if workshation-mode gives us peak performance and reliability, then what the hell are we receiving now?

      Also, in the Microsoft sphere, isn't it generally acknowledged that performance and reliability are usually at-odds with each other? Reliability comes from using older, established technologies that have had time to mature through fairly expensive development over the long-term. Performance tends to come from embracing the latest/greatest as soon as it's available, often without giving the technology time to mature to get the bugs worked out.

      • What got to me about that is, if it's giving you peak performance, can it do that by turning off the fricken bloat?
      • So, if workshation-mode gives us peak performance and reliability, then what the hell are we receiving now?

        It just means that windows will only ask you to install updates every 10 minutes if the CPU is busy, rather than the usual 5.

      • So, if workshation-mode gives us peak performance and reliability, then what the hell are we receiving now?

        Peak performance and reliability too... for the buyer to whom they are selling all the telemetry data.

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        So, if workshation-mode gives us peak performance and reliability, then what the hell are we receiving now?

        Basically it's like gaming mode. What happens is the kernel alters its scheduling to give more to the workload at hand and less to other tasks. In gaming mode, background tasks are restricted in execution - even I believe scheduled tasks are delayed while in the mode. In addition, graphics accelleration may be turned down in the main OS to give more GPU power to the application. All this extra power is

        • by joemck ( 809949 )

          Would the same not be accomplished by simply running the game at Above Normal priority and with an elevated I/O priority? It doesn't really matter if background tasks are consuming CPU time the game or other foreground task leaves idle, so long as these tasks don't starve it of any time.

          • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

            *Would the same not be accomplished by simply running the game at Above Normal priority and with an elevated I/O priority? It doesn't really matter if background tasks are consuming CPU time the game or other foreground task leaves idle, so long as these tasks don't starve it of any time.*

            ehm.. you can't fight with them. it's just that the new version has less limits on some config options.

            reminds me of when I was trying to explain to some dolts that.. well, that it doesn't make mirc run any better if you r

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And all this time I thought the pro version was for professional use.

      Silly me.

    • by guygo ( 894298 )
      Yes, it's called Windows 7.
    • Good to hear they're making a version of Windows specifically for professional use. It should then come without all the crap bloatware, ads, and telemetry, right? Right?

      Almost certainly not. But it still sounds better than what we have currently. I'm especially glad that Microsoft specifically sees network file transfer performance as a thing. Wow, I remember the early days of Vista, when it took forever to transfer files and the M$ techs would just shrug their shoulders and say "that's how it works".

      I personally would use this, as I still need Windows for a few important applications. But I'd be inclined to let other people "test" it "in the field" for a year or so fi

    • I want to see no bloatware, no "handy hints" aka adverts, minimal telemetry and NO FORCE FED DRIVER UPDATES or forced updates of any kind
    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      Good to hear they're making a version of Windows specifically for professional use. It should then come without all the crap bloatware, ads, and telemetry, right? Right?

      These are enterprise editions.
      In particular the LTSB version which doesn't include "bloatware" and has a much more conservative update policy. Because LTSB has no Edge and no Windows Store, I suppose to ads are gone too, Telemetry can be restricted to the bare minimum ("security" level), which is not possible with home/pro.

      "Pro" is between "home" and "enterprise" in term of crapiness. Considering that enterprise editions are supposed to be more mature, it make take some time before the "pro workstation" fea

    • NIC Teaming?

    • Good to hear they're making a version of Windows specifically for professional use. It should then come without all the crap bloatware, ads, and telemetry, right? Right?

      It is called Windows Pro and Windows Enterprise. Not sure about the bloatware and adware though, that is usually added by the OEM. The only adware that Windows 10 has naturally is advertising of itself and its own features in the home edition.

      • Have you used Windows 10? Windows 10 Pro constantly pops up to tell you to try out a new game from their app store, use OneDrive, use Cortana, or buy Office 365. Even after I've cleared the notification, it pops up again within a few days.
        • Have you used Windows 10? Windows 10 Pro constantly pops up to tell you to try out a new game from their app store, use OneDrive, use Cortana, or buy Office 365. Even after I've cleared the notification, it pops up again within a few days.

          I haven't seen that on my personal version of Win10 Pro, so I assumed it was limited to Win10 Home users. If you get that on Win10Pro, I wonder what I did differently to avoid it.

          • Maybe you haven't been updating it? A lot of it didn't happen until the Anniversary Update, which, probably not coincidentally, was released right after their big push to force people to upgrade. It also seems to be getting worse with each major update.
            • Maybe you haven't been updating it? A lot of it didn't happen until the Anniversary Update, which, probably not coincidentally, was released right after their big push to force people to upgrade. It also seems to be getting worse with each major update.

              No I have that. It advertised a few new features right after upgrading, and they reenabled cortana though I had told her to go away, I told her to go away again and haven't seen her since, and the new feature "tutorial" thing stopped pretty soon.

              • Are you still on the Anniversary Update? Like I said, it keeps getting worse. It's possible that the OneDrive and Office 365 pop-ups didn't really become obnoxious until the Creator's update...? I don't remember. This latest update has turned the annoyance factor down a little. I've successfully gotten it to leave me alone regarding OneDrive, but I had to find a setting to get it to stop. Also, it seems like Cortana sometimes reenables herself.
  • will enterprise get the same stuff? will this be VLK only that targets medium to large businesses and not smaller ones that may need high end systems.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Frankly, I've lost count at this point.
  • Choose a Vista 2.0 now with names that are just about the same.

    Why not add windows 10 pro for gamers just to confuse people even more.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

  • Clippy-Pro!

    It looks like you're trying to launder millions of dollars in Arab dictator money! Would you like to:

    1. Route the proceeds through a Russian bank?
    2. Purchase a cash-only business?
    3. Make a wire transfer to a Cayman Islands bank?

  • who needs an 4 socket workstation board now days? with the high core counts some times even 1 cpu can do the job maybe 2 just to get a lot of pci-e lanes.

    Or amd 128 pci-e lanes with 1 or 2 cpus.

    • by enjar ( 249223 )
      People who are doing simulations, big data analysis, CAD/CAM, fluid mechanics, FEA/FEM, large math problems, physics, etc. The same people who have been consuming high end workstations for decades. As each new computing advance comes along, the problems get harder, the assemblies more complex, the math more detailed. I'm excited about this because we used to have to install Windows Server to use this type of machine, now we won't need to. Linux happily installs on single, dual or quad core hosts so we only
      • linux does not need as many reboots and 5 min boot times on workstation boards can lead to windows systems that don't get updates as people don't to reboot them.

      • I'm excited about this because we used to have to install Windows Server to use this type of machine, now we won't need to. Linux happily installs on single, dual or quad core hosts so we only needed to maintain one install. Now we can keep things consistent on Windows.

        I think the point is that this seems to be an afterthought solution to an incredibly niche problem. Cores aren't the issue here, sockets are. How many 4-socket desktop boards are out there? They are probably within range of an actual-server or two. How many desktop applications that can use more than 4 cores effectively? Not many - sure, you can probably do a bit better in AutoCAD with 8 or maybe 16, but after that, management overhead starts becoming significant, while the performance increases don't gener

        • by enjar ( 249223 )
          I would say that dedicated four socket desktop boards don't exist. What I've seen are server boards put into a workstation enclosure. In some cases, the "workstation enclosure" is pretty much a 4U rack host put into something that has feet to allow it to be mounted on its side. We have customers who buy these servers/desktops for their analysis/modeling needs.

          I'd venture that this makes it easier for management, as in you no longer have to remember that the server named XYZ is not part of a server infrastr

          • I would say that dedicated four socket desktop boards don't exist. What I've seen are server boards put into a workstation enclosure. In some cases, the "workstation enclosure" is pretty much a 4U rack host put into something that has feet to allow it to be mounted on its side. We have customers who buy these servers/desktops for their analysis/modeling needs.

            I'd venture that this makes it easier for management, as in you no longer have to remember that the server named XYZ is not part of a server infrastructure, but really in a workstation role. The clients we have that use these rigs are usually very large organizations doing complex engineering of big machinery or electronics.

            I'm sure they exist, but it goes back to the original question - It sounds like the server naming problem can be solved by a better naming convention and a P-Touch, and either way those clients are already operating under the idea that these machines cost what they cost now - an $800 savings in Windows Server licensing fees isn't going to persuade or dissuade such a purchase, and there's nothing stopping Windows Server from running in the aforementioned side-mounted 4U chassis.

      • by _merlin ( 160982 )

        I work in finance, and I have big datasets to crunch. But for that I have multi-socket rack-mount servers running Linux. My desktop is a single-scoket Xeon running Windows, it doesn't do heavy lifting. Support for SMB over RDMA and a reliable filesystem look like nice things to have, but allowing four sockets isn't a big deal.

  • Microsoft will never call it "Windows 10 Pro for Workstation".

    At a minimum it would be called, "Windows 10, Professional Platinum Ultimate Enterprise Synergy Business Executive Edition".

  • SMB Direct (Score:4, Informative)

    by nuckfuts ( 690967 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @01:58PM (#54552805)

    The SMB Direct [microsoft.com] feature sounds interesting. Apparently it was introduced in Windows Server 2012.

    It requires a network adapter that supports Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA). Here's the part I found interesting:

    After at least one RDMA network connection is created, the TCP/IP connection used for the original protocol negotiation is no longer used. However, the TCP/IP connection is retained in case the RDMA network connections fail.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This is an undocumented feature, but I believe most versions of Windows support both Remote Memory Access and Remote Code Execution.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA)

      I think they're trying to give people heart attacks.

    • Wait, WHAT? If you're going over 802.3, most assuredly it's TCP/IP all the way through. Are you saying it's an entirely different type of encapsulation protocol at the Network layer and not Transport in the OSI layer?

      • by _merlin ( 160982 )

        Many high-performance 10Gbps and 40Gbps Ethernet cards can offload RDMA protocol. The high-level API uses Infiniband verbs for sending/receiving messages. It's a lot more efficient than dealing with TCP.

  • Pass (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @02:08PM (#54552897)

    So we've got different behavior for drivers (or otherwise different handling of hardware) for Windows Update to routinely fuck up, a new, untested file system that was delayed so much because it was unreliable, and a new SMB thing to get hacked.

    And all you're promising me is somewhat better resource/process management, slightly faster access to network files, an allegedly more robust file system, and the ability to use more CPUs and RAM?

    No thanks.

    Until you provide numbers, I won't care about your alleged improvements. In the old days, the extent of their tuning for the server OS vs the desktop OS was changing the "Processor scheduling" option from "Programs" to "Background Services" and presumable adjusting the scheduling algorithm to stop putting services on the short bus.

    Network file access is fast enough on a wired link. Sure, I'd like for it to be faster, but where are the numbers? Do I need a new share that supports the new shit as well? Or are the improvements only on the client side? If they're client side, then why not just improve regular SMB handling for everyone?

    I haven't had an issue with NTFS that wasn't related to hardware issues. NTFS isn't the greatest, but I have no issues with out. I've encountered the ol' scandisk errors on it when shit is shutdown forcefully due to power loss or thermal protection, but those were always recoverable events. I've only had unrecoverable events on failing hardware.

    With AMD's Threadripper you can get 16 cores and 32 threads in a single socket. With Epyc, you can get 32/64. And Epyc supports multiple sockets. If you need more than that you wait for Intel's upcoming 18/36 CPU for $2000, or get a big, slow Xeon (or two). I wouldn't consider such beasts "workstations". They'd be servers, in a rack with proper cooling, power filtering/redundancy/backup, ECC memory, physical security, etc., and the workstation would be someone remoting in to it. I don't know what the limit on RAM is for existing Windows 10 SKUs, but I doubt it's a practical limit for anyone who shouldn't be running shit on an actual server.

    Now, if they had removed the telemetry entirely and let me truly turn off shit like Cortana, the Windows Store, the forced updates, etc., AND respect that decision and (and not default it back to on after each update I do choose to install), then I'd care.

    • by rastos1 ( 601318 )

      Until you provide numbers, I won't care about your alleged improvements.

      Don't worry. Your machine will be "improved" when you briefly look away. Or blink.

    • by enjar ( 249223 )
      They aren't aiming this at people checking email and running spreadsheets. They are aiming it at people doing compute-hungry CAD, simulations, mathematical modeling, physics, data analytics, etc.

      SMB gets spanked by NFS and other (generally *nix) protocols for speed, network utilization, etc. If you go to dedicated high performance filesystems you can get from a vendor who does this for a living, they will provide drivers for *NIX hosts and interconnects, since that's what people are using on their comput

      • Such people like numbers, not baseless claims. They also like proven file systems and stable drivers.

        • by enjar ( 249223 )
          Indeed they do.

          We have racks of file servers running Linux, serving Windows and Linux clients. We can instrument the work we are doing on these file servers, and the Linux clients are far less chatty and create far less file server load using NFS than their Windows counterparts using SMB. Ops numbers don't lie, and SMB is a more chatty protocol than NFS. Underlying filesystems are very reliable and proven.

          Look at vendors who serve the HPC market like Isilon, Panasas, NetApp, etc. They have a strong Linux

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      Until you provide numbers, I won't care about your alleged improvements.

      Well, insofar that this is a leak of information about an unannounced product, it's not exactly nefarious that they haven't published any numbers.

      I yield to nobody when it comes to contempt for Microsoft, but it's a point of pride to keep the things I'm contemptuous about reasonable.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Now, if they had removed the telemetry entirely and let me truly turn off shit like Cortana, the Windows Store, the forced updates, etc., AND respect that decision and (and not default it back to on after each update I do choose to install), then I'd care.

      Same here. As it is Win10 must still be regarded as malware, and this edition does not change that.

    • ReFS. The arrogance of Microsoft is astounding to think there will never be problems with ReFS. Apparently there isn't a chkdsk command for the file system. In the event of a dirty shutdown, the file system would repair should data need to be read from that block. So, assuming a VM of Windows threw a BSOD, and it was hosting a share of data on a ReFS volume, it could be days, weeks, YEARS before it ostensibly got around to making repairs. So, how in the hell does that work out for file level restoration whe

      • QTF. I agree completely. I've researched ReFS a bit and have read about horror stories, even as recently as this year, of people having totally corrupted volumes because of some unrecoverable error. MS in their hubris assumed that ReFS couldn't fail, so they never developed diagnostics or tools to solve those edge-cases. Whoops! Definitely not production-ready. Too bad APFS is closed-source and proprietary.
  • by Randseed ( 132501 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @02:11PM (#54552947)
    Coming this winter... For over twenty five years you've experienced the security hell that is Windows. You watched when Microsoft started uploading your data to the cloud by default without your consent. You've seen the joys of "telemetry." You remember the NSA encryption key (_NSAKEY) in 1999. Now, experience Windows 10 Workstation Edition! *Cue epic trailer music* Now, all your data will be stored safely in OneDrive so you can access it anywhere, any time. Trust state of the art Microsoft security techniques such as administrator privilege escalation, coupled with our award winning intelligent ad suggestion service and forced obsolescence. *Red laughing skull with deep malevolent laugh* Never lose access to your files again with our patented back door cryptographic keys! And click on our new live.com dashboard for a record of all your keystrokes! Coming this winter... Only from... MICROSOFT.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 05, 2017 @02:19PM (#54553009)

    Or put another way:

    1. Runs as fast as possible.
    2. Fast and fault-tolerant file system.
    3. Handles files as fast as possible.
    4. Supports the hardware you already have.

    Isn't that what all operating systems should do out of the box? What's with this stupid tiered pricing thing for non-feature features? Keep your SLA pricing where it belongs.

    • Evidently windows can do this, it just reveals that the other versions up until now have been deliberately crippled to prevent it.
  • by WaffleMonster ( 969671 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @02:37PM (#54553149)

    Given the fact windows is a spying and advertising platform who would pay extra to use it for "work" only to be hosed by forced data exfiltration and forced updates /w shoddy QA regardless of it's other capabilities?

    I mean.. when they can't even manage... to force the right version of windows out the door.. when they resort to outright lies and trickery to get their way.. when their operating systems come pre-installed with a remote access trojan and stated policy granting them the right to exfiltrate your data from your system without asking or you even knowing about it who is going to want to roll the dice?

    I fail to see the point of a new file system that comes with an absurd number of limitations including lack of transactions, EFS or inability to actually boot and run the operating system that makes it worthless for any "workstation" purpose other than a generic file server.

    What would in be useful for a "workstation" would be for MS to get off their asses and fix long standing deficiencies in block level software RAID implementation.... Little things like deprioritizing and rate limiting rebuilds, not concurrently regenerating multiple volumes across the same physical disks, multi-disk read and block level recovery that does not fail the whole disk, ability to add more disks to achieve arbitrary levels of redundancy or read only I/O acceleration.

    I don't really want to see a new IFS at this point unless it brings something really significant to the table. At the very least it must work transparently with everything with complete feature parity, must be bootable and it must optionally be versioned.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      My take is that they are getting desperate because of the corporate users. I know of at least one large enterprise that will replace Win7 with web-terminals when support runs out or becomes too expensive, because Win10 is just not an option with still no stable feature set and GUI and the LTSB-branch still unavailable. Many enterprise-landscapes are mostly web-apps anyways these days and adding a web-based office-replacement is often all that is needed to go web-only. The few people that need something else

  • 1. Workstation mode: Microsoft plans to optimize the OS by identifying "typical compute and graphics intensive workloads" to provide peak performance and reliability when Workstation mode is enabled.

    This.. exactly this is the core of everything wrong with the Windows operating system today. Your computer OS should be ready and waiting at 'peak performance and reliability' a 100% percent of the time. Anything else should only be the direct result of user initiated actions.

  • As an engineering physicist, i use and have used extensively mutliCPU calculations. But they were always running on some sort of UNIX like system. Commercial or not. And the needed tools already exist there. Without silly restictions over the number of NUMA nodes or unwanted telemetry or whatever...

    Of course, i work in a field where windows is nearly inexistent. So i am very ignorant about this universe but who would be the customers for this version of windows ? My electromechanical engineer buddies use wi

  • Otherwise I am exactly as interested as I was in Win10 up to now: Not at all.

  • Workstation mode

    First Game Mode, and now this? How about you just stop needlessly rebuilding search indexes and .NET assemblies for hours and hours every week!

    Also, will it disable forced reboots while you're in the middle of your work? People using workstations tend to dislike that.

  • It's all very well and good to have a new 'for Workstations' update, but I've been waiting 25 years to update my Workgroups edition.

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