Windows migrations don't come much bigger than this: the US Department of Defence (DoD) plans to move all of its Microsoft-based systems to Windows 10 within a year.
Microsoft has been swift to highlight the announcement as a huge endorsement of the latest version of the platform, claiming that the migration will allow the DoD to improve security, lower the cost of IT and streamline its operating environment.
"Because the DoD is a prime target of cyber criminals and one of the largest and most complex organisations in the world, its leaders know the importance of securing its baseline systems," said Microsoft's Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of the Windows and Devices Group, detailing the decision on Microsoft's blog.
However, the agency is setting itself an unenviable task. Microsoft said that the US secretary of defence has directed all DoD agencies to begin the rapid deployment of Windows 10 to all information systems currently using Microsoft operating systems. This accounts for some four million seats, and the DoD is targeting the upgrade for completion inside a year.
Many enterprise firms that have far fewer deployed instances have struggled to migrate away from legacy platforms such as Windows XP, which hit the end of its lifecycle nearly two years ago. These migrations have often taken years to plan and execute, making the DoD's plans ambitious to say the least.
The decision to standardise on Windows 10 is apparently in response to a range of challenges that include the difficulties of managing multiple platforms and devices across the various DoD agencies, plus a constantly shifting threat landscape, a particular concern to an organisation like the DoD which is a prime target of cyber criminals.
In fact, DoD chief information officer Terry Halvorsen said that the agency's networks are "getting shot at" virtually every day. The DoD spends about $44bn annually on cyber security and IT, and needed to deploy systems that are more secure, efficient and cost-effective, and standardised on a single platform.
Microsoft said that Windows 10 has been certified against specific US government criteria and standards, including the National Information Assurance Partnership Common Criteria Protection Profile for mobile devices.
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