If you thought Windows 10 had too many editions, Microsoft isn’t listening. The company today unveiled Windows 10 Pro for Workstations, a high-end edition of Windows 10 Pro with support for server grade PC hardware that will ship as part of the upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update slated to arrive this fall (likely in September).
Windows 10 Pro for Workstations is designed for mission critical and compute intensive workloads. Microsoft says it listened to feedback from the Windows Insider Program to meet the needs of advanced users and power users with Workstation PCs.
Windows 10 Pro for Workstations is all about performance and reliability. In particular, the new edition is able to use recent architectural changes in the Windows kernel to take full advantage of high-end processor families, such as Intel Xeon or AMD Opteron, that package a high number of cores in single or multi-processor configurations.
Microsoft highlighted four features of Windows 10 Pro for Workstations:
- Resilient file system (ReFS): 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, and auto-correcting. It protects data with integrity streams on mirrored storage spaces, detecting when data becomes corrupt on one of the mirrored drives and using a healthy copy of the data on the other drive.
- Persistent memory: Non-volatile memory modules (NVDIMM-N) enable reading and writing files with the fastest speed possible — the speed of the computer’s main memory. Because NVDIMM-N is non-volatile memory, files will still be there even when the workstation is off.
- Faster file sharing: SMB Direct 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 (the network adapters coordinate the transfer of large amounts of data at line speed), low latency (fast responses to network requests, making remote file storage feel as if it is directly attached storage) and low CPU utilization (fewer CPU cycles when transferring data over the network).
- Expanded hardware: Devices with high performance configurations, including server grade Intel Xeon or AMD Opteron processors with up to four CPUs (currently limited to two CPUs) and memory up to 6TB (currently limited to 2TB), are now supported.
Back in May 2015, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 would have seven editions. That number has now ballooned to 12:
- Windows 10 Home
- Windows 10 Pro
- Windows 10 Enterprise
- Windows 10 Education
- Windows 10 Pro Education
- Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB
- Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise
- Windows 10 Mobile
- Windows 10 IoT
- Windows 10 S
- Windows 10 Team
- Windows 10 Pro for Workstations
For the sake of comparison, Windows 7 had six editions and Windows 8 had four. Both also had special regional editions.