If news of a Workstation-grade version of Windows sounds like something you've heard before, it's because details about Windows 10 Pro for Workstations leaked back in June. But this week, Microsoft is officially announcing its existence and the features offered to meet the "demanding needs of mission critical and compute intensive workloads."
Windows 10 Pro for Workstations is squarely aimed at power users, and has a unique set of additional features including ReFS, persistent memory, faster file sharing, and expanded hardware support. Top of that list for a lot of users will be the expanded hardware support, meaning server-grade Intel Xeon and AMD Opteron processors are supported. That means the current limit of two processors and 2TB of RAM will be greatly increased to four processors and 6TB of RAM.
Microsoft is also promising faster file sharing by including the SMBDirect protocol. It means support for Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) network adapters and therefore high thoughput, low latency data transfers with low CPU utilization. Add to that persistent memory support through the use of non-volatile memory modules (NVDIMM-N). It's basically very fast RAM that doesn't forget the data it is storing when the power is turned off, and in turn you get better crash resistance as well as higher application performance.
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Finally, the other new feature being offered is Microsoft's proprietary file system called Resilient File System (ReFS). It replaces NTFS and adds integrity checking, data scrubbing, protects against data degradation, and boasts built-in handling of hard disk failure and redundancy. It's also setup for handling very large volumes of data, which when looking at the other features and hardware support, is going to be essential.
Anyone interested in using Windows 10 Pro for Workstations will be glad to hear they don't have to wait very long. Microsoft will deliver it as part of the Fall Creators Update later this year.