With all that’s going on in the business world, like the potential withdrawal from Europe and the slowdown in China, you may be forgiven for missing a recent announcement from Microsoft that has serious repercussions for the industrial IT sector in the new future. It’s a massive sea change in their approach to OS support and needs to be understood by those technology decision-makers that are planning the future for their organisations.
One of the fundamental pressures on industrial systems is the need for long-term support and the capability for upgrading as and when component parts disappear or are replaced. If designs and applications fail in the field, it’s just not feasible to throw away existing platforms and plug in the latest the market has to offer. Historically, companies like Intel and Microsoft have provided stability by making the same product (or upgrades to these products) for seven or more years to allow customers time to test and prove the new version whilst still using the current one. This accepted virtue of legacy systems could now be under threat!
It comes in the form of the latest announcement from Terry Myerson – Executive Vice President at Microsoft, regarding Windows 10 and onwards. This will be the only product supported on new silicon such as Intel’s 7th Generation Core Kaby Lake (the successor to current Skylake) and AMD’s Bristol Ridge families. Previously existing stalwarts like XP and Windows 7 have received upgrades to allow fully supported use on new silicon as it’s introduced – this announcement ends that practice.
Whilst you may be able to physically run older versions, you won’t have the support and may suffer significant performance and instability issues when compared to the latest CPU. Effectively it means that integrators cannot offer 7th generation hardware if clients need to upgrade systems but still use XP or Windows 7 / 8 / 8.1 applications. Skylake upgrades will also stop in July 2017 so there is very strong pressure from Microsoft to get everybody onto the Windows 10 platform, sooner rather than later!
ECA has spent over a decade helping clients manage this continual transition and many are still using those original systems today in parallel with their replacements. As they say in Microsoft’s approach, we understand all the ramifications, so if you’re concerned about how it affects you, give the team at ECA a call today on 0118 929 4990.