The dream that Microsoft promised with Windows 10 being the “last” Windows OS seems rather dashed on 24 June 2021. Microsoft finally held their live event announcing Windows 11, the next generation in the Windows pantheon. While there are many rumors discussing how the performance of Windows 11 is better than that of Windows 10, there are also known facts that some of what Windows 11 is offering as “new” has been around before (think Desktops). Now while it may be that the technology has undergone a redesign, the feature set isn’t new. And in turn, when we get our hands on the product is when we’re really going to see the differences.
Connectivity with Friends
One new feature that the everyday user may enjoy is Chat now being integrated into the taskbar. This is possible by leveraging the TEAMS cloud service, which is has both free and paid plans. See Compare Microsoft Teams Plans for more information. According to Microsoft you can connect thru text, chat, voice, or video with all of your personal contacts, anywhere, no matter the platform or device they’re on.
Now there is a little gotcha apparently…they must have downloaded the Teams app for their device, otherwise you’re relegated to two-way SMS only.
On the surface, this sounds great. Let’s see it in the real world though and find out. Having been using the Teams desktop client for years, I’ll say I think Microsoft still has a long way to go in respect to the UI experience. Personally, I don’t think the UI is very pleasant to view, it gets overcrowded if you’re not constantly keeping it manicured, and there are simply way too many opportunities for it to overwhelm with alerts and notifications, even after you’ve tuned it to be less aggressive. I think this is once reason why Zoom is such a popular platform as its UI is overall more welcoming. And at this point list’s just forget WebEx and Skype.
Built for Gamers
It was made abundantly clear that if you love gaming, Microsoft had you in mind when they were developing Windows 11. Key among these is DirectStorage which is intended to allow applications to directly bridge to the GPU thus allowing games to decompress data on the GPU bypassing the slow CPU.
Android Apps to Windows
I know that there are going to be a lot of very enthused folks when talking about Android Apps on a PC, Surface, or laptop. I can say myself that I can certainly think of the value related to this in respect to educational opportunities this will open up for our kids in the coming years. There are such great applications which are not available on the PC that can be free, or even the premium versions are much cheaper than PC equivalents.
However, it does beg the question – is this being driven by a lack of availability of wanted apps within the Windows ecosystem? Either way, this is a win for consumers for sure. Now, within the enterprise – that might be a different matter entirely.
Windows 11 – An Enterprise Perspective
While Windows 11 isn’t here yet, its important that we at enterprise administrators begin considering the implications of its deployment within our organizations. According to Microsoft, “Windows 11 is built on the consistent, compatible and familiar Windows 10 foundation you know” – which sounds a great deal like they are saying that it shares the same kernel as that of Windows 10.
Furthermore, we’re told that the preparation and deployment of Windows 11 is the same as that of Windows 10, and that even upgrading to Windows 11 will be like an update to Windows 10.
From a security perspective Microsoft is telling us that “Windows 11 is also secure by design, with new built-in security technologies that will add protection from the chip to the cloud” – all of which is nice to hear. However, as an enterprise administrator, I need the real details underneath this statement. And as an engineer who always builds security into my solutions, am very much looking forward to what is going to be on offer here.
Well, I am looking forward to seeing this new version of Windows installed in my lab so that I get a chance to put my hands on it. However, I’m still holding judgement until then. At present, what I’ve seen isn’t enough for me to draw a conclusion. On the surface, it seems like it might be Windows 10.1 as opposed to truly a whole new Windows, much like Windows 7 was what Windows Vista should have been. And to be honest, what Windows 10 was to Windows 8.
From what we’ve been shown, at present it doesn’t appear to be a game changing shift. But to be fair, the needed details to really make this determination haven’t been made fully public yet. That will be changing in the very near future as Microsoft has opened up its Windows Insiders Program for folks to get their hands on a copy in the coming weeks.
Myself, I’m most interested in what is in store within the Enterprise landscape. Most of the information presented today did not focus on this, and for good reason. Its not really that interesting, and it doesn’t make for a great commercial.
I am enthused. And in the end, I really hope that this is a new platform.
A Final Question
And I’ll leave you on a question – rather than an answer. How far behind this will we see the next version of Windows Server?
These products often launch in the October time frame. Will we see Server 2022 this year? I suspect the answer to this is yes as the preview bits are available for download.
If you want to see Microsoft’s blog on Windows 11, check out the link below: