Microsoft announces Windows 10 Pro for Workstations

Microsoft have announced a new version of Windows 10 aimed at high-end server class PC systems. The main changes to the OS include support for 4 CPUs and 6TB of RAM, currently Windows 10 Pro supports 2 CPUs and 2TB of RAM as well support for technologies like SMB Direct and NVDIMM-N.

So that’s another Windows 10 SKU as we have Windows 10 S, Windows 10 (home), Windows 10 Pro and now Windows 10 Pro for Workstations.

Here are the details from Microsoft:

Windows 10 Pro for Workstations, created with feedback from Windows Insiders, introduces new features to leverage the power of high-end PC hardware

The value of Windows 10 Pro for Workstations is directly aligned to increase the performance and reliability of high-end PCs, with the following features:

ReFS (Resilient file system): ReFS provides cloud-grade resiliency for data on fault-tolerant storage spaces and manages very large volumes with ease. ReFS is designed to be resilient to data corruption, optimized for handling large data volumes, auto-correcting and more. It protects your data with integrity streams on your mirrored storage spaces. Using its integrity streams, ReFS detects when data becomes corrupt on one of the mirrored drives and uses a healthy copy of your data on the other drive to correct and protect your precious data.

Persistent memory: Windows 10 Pro for Workstations provides the most demanding apps and data with the performance they require with non-volatile memory modules (NVDIMM-N) hardware. NVDIMM-N enables you to read and write your files with the fastest speed possible, the speed of the computer’s main memory. Because NVDIMM-N is non-volatile memory, your files will still be there, even when you switch your workstation off.

Faster file sharing: Windows 10 Pro for Workstations includes a feature called SMB Direct, which supports the use of network adapters that have Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) capability. Network adapters that have RDMA can function at full speed with very low latency, while using very little CPU. For applications that access large datasets on remote SMB file shares, this feature enables:

Increased throughput: Leverages the full throughput of high speed networks where the network adapters coordinate the transfer of large amounts of data at line speed.

Low latency: Provides extremely fast responses to network requests, and, as a result, makes remote file storage feel as if it is directly attached storage.

Low CPU utilization: Uses fewer CPU cycles when transferring data over the network, which leaves more power available to other applications running on the system.

Expanded hardware support: One of the top pain points expressed by our Windows Insiders was the limits on taking advantage of the raw power of their machine. Hence, we are expanding hardware support in Windows 10 Pro for Workstations. Users will now be able to run Windows 10 Pro for Workstations on devices with high performance configurations including server grade Intel Xeon or AMD Opteron processors, with up to 4 CPUs (today limited to 2 CPUs) and add massive memory up to 6TB (today limited to 2TB).

Performance is a very important requirement in this new world of fast paced innovation and we will continue to invest on Windows 10 Pro for Workstations to enable Windows power users to maximize every aspect of their high-performance device. Windows 10 Pro for Workstations utilizes significant investments, that Windows has made in recent releases, for scaling up across a high number of logical processors and large amounts of memory. Our architectural changes in the Windows kernel take full advantage of high-end processors families, such as Intel Xeon or AMD Opteron, that package a high number of cores in single or multi-processor configurations.

About the author Ian Dixon:

Ian Dixon is a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional), founder of TheDigitalLifestyle.com tech site and producer of the weekly The Digital Lifestyle Show podcast. Ian has been writing and talking about Windows for over 10 years and has over 20 years in IT as an IT Manager. Ian has thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook and over 4 million views on his YouTube channel.


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