We knew a few months ago that Microsoft had decided to deprecate this feature, and indeed many large organizations still use this technology provided by their own network hardware and not Windows Server. But some medium-sized organizations and small businesses use NAP and will now have to figure out what their story will be. There is no word on how Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 10 will interact from a NAP standpoint, whether there will be incompatibilities or problems introduced if you are running them all in the same network, and so on. More to come on this piece, but NAP users should consider this a heads up.
The rapid update cadence is slated for future versions of Windows Server, too. One of the big promises about Windows 10 was that it would herald a new model of delivering Windows updates -- indeed, the whole operating system itself would update automatically from a branch of code hosted at Microsoft. Gone would be the patches and roughshod updates; instead, you would get what amounted to a new OS during each update cycle.
Consumers cheer this sort of outcome; they value simplicity and want Windows mainly to get out of their way and let them use the Web and their apps.
Corporate customers, on the other hand, scream in anger and rejection (of Windows 8, for one) at this sort of outcome. They need time to test, to make sure their legacy applications still work, to make sure their infrastructure can handle changing features, to make sure no new security problems are introduced with updates.
Despite this, Microsoft says the new update cadence is coming to Windows Server 10, too. There are no details about exactly how this will happen, how customizable it will be and if it will be possible to opt out. This means it is too soon to come to a conclusion about this service and its impact on your operations.
But the bottom line is that in a couple of decades of working with enterprises and institutions, I have never heard one clamor for more updates of a bulkier, more significant nature delivered and applied automatically without any ability to customize how those updates are deployed. This is an area to watch and an area in which Microsoft needs to tread oh so carefully.
Again, it is early days yet in the Windows Server 10 development cycle, so these drawbacks may well not apply to the final release, or they may evolve into something different. But they are still points to be aware of as we head into playing with this technical preview.
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