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OS-as-a-service, Windows 10, and a Little Thing Called Kaby Lake

16 Jun 2017 by Diana Rose Brandon

It was almost painful to learn that certain major international organizations were hit hard by the recent WannaCry cyberattack because they hadn’t updated their operating systems in more than a decade — 14 years to be exact.

We know there are reasons organizations don’t always stay completely up-to-date, including an already-stretched-thin IT staff and the costly downtime that results from implementing a major upgrade initiative.

The Windows 10 Operating System (OS), running on Intel-based architecture with the 7th-generation Intel Core vPro processor, is designed to help solve some of these issues.

Winning with Windows 10

For many enterprises, trying to stay updated often means using different versions of operating systems on varying devices and computers. That makes sense as a new OS rollout can be time-consuming. It can take an IT professional half a day or longer to assist in an upgrade — and that’s per device. Such a long time frame may feel as though by the time IT gets to the end of the line, the units that were handled first are ready for a new upgrade.

One of the benefits of Windows 10 is an in-place, self-service upgrade process. This affords IT the flexibility to manage deployment logistics while giving employees the freedom to upgrade when it suits them, even if they’re offline at home. Self-service upgrades can be completed automatically in about an hour with basically no human supervision.

Automated functionality saves time for both employees and IT staff, and could enable even a large enterprise to transition entirely to one OS over a relatively short time period. Widespread deployment of Windows 10 allows an organization to lay a foundation for adoption of cloud-friendly IT services, as well as the OS-as-a-service delivery model — and alleviates security risks from using an unsupported, 14-year-old OS. That frees the organization to focus on managing a single Windows environment today and transforming the business for the future.

Kaby Lake, Intel 7th-generation processor

Windows 10 works in tandem with 7th-generation Intel processors, code-named Kaby Lake. Together, the two technologies provide an optimized experience. Let’s dive into what that means for users.

One noticeable improvement is in the video capabilities. Kaby Lake includes hardware support for 10-bit, 4K High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) video. So a laptop will play a 4K movie without dropping frames or killing its 10-hour battery life. That is, it will be ready to show true 4K video when that’s more widely available. In the meantime, users can view footage from their 4K cameras and stream video online with near-reckless abandon. Most businesspeople aren’t streaming Netflix at work, so we’ll move on to other features.

Built on the same architecture as its predecessor Skylake, Kaby Lake is refined and optimized for performance. It boasts up to 12% speed improvement and 19% web improvement over the previous version. And, according to independent tests, it seems to offer the same improvements in speed and duration even after the processor has heated up from running a laptop for two hours.

The new processor is 14 nanometers (nm) in size. Intel refers to it as 14nm+ to highlight its performance improvements. Although Intel hasn’t yet hit its 10nm goal, Kaby Lake still enables laptop designs that are as thin as or thinner than smartphones. Intel is expecting to release the Cannonlake 10nm processor later this year.

Will 10nm mean the end of Moore’s law?

Moore’s law states that building processors with double the number of transistors per square inch every two years will continue indefinitely. However, we see devices continue to get appreciably thinner and more lightweight, which seems to contradict the idea of an exponential increase in transistors per square inch on integrated circuits. Inevitably, we’re going to max out the number of silicon transistors that can fit in the smallest, thinnest chip that can be manufactured. That “magic number” where Moore’s law ends is predicted to be 7nm.

If Intel is already planning the Cannonlake 10nm processor, it appears the possibility of a 7nm size is perhaps within reach and leaves us to imagine what’s on the horizon. Intel has already said it will need to incorporate new materials to hit the 7nm mark. Having seen the end in sight for some time now, Intel is on the road to figuring out how to move beyond Moore’s law.

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