SharePoint 2016 –The new kid in town. Well I hope you won’t mind when I say that SharePoint 2016 is the new kid in town considering the fact that it has been more than a year since Microsoft has released SharePoint Server 2016 and it has also announced the release of SharePoint Server 2019 a month back at Ignite Conference. However, there’s reason for me to still call SharePoint 2016 as the new kid in town because it still remains to be a cutting-edge platform for many SharePoint professionals out there and I’ve seen many organizations actively working on adapting SharePoint Server 2016 as the modern collaboration platform for their IT workspace.
So, in this article I’m going to help you with some good amount of information that should help you in planning the SharePoint Server 2016 Implementation in your organization. Alright, let’s get started ….
So, these are the topics I’ll be discussing in detail in this article …
- Evolution of SharePoint
- Software & Hardware requirements for Implementing SharePoint Server 2016.
- Pre-requisites for SharePoint server 2016.
- Supported browsers for SharePoint 2016.
- Boundaries and Limits in SharePoint 2016.
- Focus areas of SharePoint Server 2016
- What’s new and what’s been deprecated in SharePoint Server 2016?
- Migration approach to SharePoint 2016
- Deployment guidelines & best practices for implementing SharePoint 2016
- Feature Packs
- MinRole in SharePoint 2016
- Converged codebase in SharePoint 2016
- Zero downtime patching in SharePoint 2016
- Hybrid Features in SharePoint 2016
- SQL Server Best Practices for SharePoint 2016
- Evolution of SharePoint:
The above-mentioned image should give you a detailed overview about the evolution of SharePoint. I personally remember starting my career with SharePoint 2010 6 years back and at that point of time I’ve seen many experienced SharePoint folks really getting excited about the rich and cool UI of SharePoint 2010 and its rich capabilities. It has indeed come a long way since then and has grown very rapidly compared to its competitors and still remains to be the most preferred solution for Enterprise Content Management. As SharePoint grew, the range of problems businesses could solve with SharePoint grew wider, and changes in technology and business models brought customers new problems as well as new opportunities. Microsoft kept investing in SharePoint, creating a well-rounded collaboration platform that meets the needs of businesses and – most importantly – has the ability to grow and adapt when new challenges are presented. So, with that being said, let’s dive bit deeper and see what the latest version of SharePoint on-premises (i.e. SharePoint 2016) has for us and how it can help to enhance our business.
2. Software & Hardware requirements for Implementing SharePoint Server 2016:
Every time Microsoft introduces the next version of any product the software and hardware requirements for implementing that product keeps changing and that remains true for SharePoint 2016 as well. So, what should I have in terms of software and hardware for implementing SharePoint Server 2016? The details are as follows ….
Software Requirements for SharePoint 2016:
3. Pre-requisites for SharePoint 2016:
SharePoint 2016, the prerequisites are almost essentially the same as they were for SharePoint 2013, with one or two differences (e.g. .Net Framework 4.5.2). The following is a list of all the SharePoint 2016 Prerequisites components you need to download if you are doing an offline installation.
Note: If your machine is connected to the internet, the prerequisite installer module of the SharePoint 2016 media will automatically take care of downloading and installation of prerequisites, so you don’t need to manually download them all.
- Application Server Role, Web Server (IIS) Role
- Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Service Pack 1 (SP1)
- Microsoft .NET Framework version 4.6
- Microsoft WCF Data Services 5.6
- Microsoft Information Protection and Control Client (MSIPC)
- Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1) Native Client (installs with Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Feature Pack)
- Microsoft ODBC Driver 11 for SQL Server
- Microsoft Sync Framework Runtime v1.0 SP1 (x64)
- Windows Server AppFabric 1.1
- Cumulative Update Package 7 for AppFabric 1.1 for Windows Server
- Visual C++ Redistributable Package for Visual Studio 2012
- Visual C++ Redistributable Package for Visual Studio 2015
- Microsoft Silverlight 3
- Exchange Web Services Managed API, version 1.2
- Microsoft Identity Extensions
4. Supported browsers for SharePoint 2016:
5. Boundaries and Limits in SharePoint 2016:
6. Hardware Requirements for SharePoint 2016:
7. Hardware Requirements for Min Role Architecture:
Note: I’ll be explaining in detail about the Min Role Architecture later in this article
8. Focus areas of SharePoint Server 2016:
Being a cloud-born on-premises platform, SharePoint 2016 focuses on the above-mentioned areas …
- Improved User Experiences:
- Cloud-Inspired Infrastructure
- Compliance and Reporting
a) Improved User Experiences:
Making decisions faster and keeping in contact are the most critical responsibilities for increasing effectiveness in any organization. Users’ ability to access information while on the go is now a workplace necessity. SharePoint Server 2016 will provide improved mobile access to content, people and applications along with touch-based experiences across devices and screen sizes. It will make file storage and document collaboration more people-centric. And it will also enable improved user experiences and capabilities derived from innovations in Office 365, available either as part of your on-premises deployment or through a hybrid implementation of SharePoint Server 2016 and Office 365. As a result of this, users will be able to quickly discover contextually relevant information and data that is stored across both on-premises and cloud environments powered by Office Graph and Delve.
b) Cloud-Inspired Infrastructure:
SharePoint 2016 is the first on-premises server release representative of our experience running SharePoint at scale in Office 365, bringing Microsoft’s own internal investments to the customer’s datacenter that improve performance, reliability and scale as well as enabling true hybrid scenarios that can enrich the customer’s existing on-premises investments.
In addition, with an improved, simplified user experience and integration with products such as the next release of Windows Server, the next generation of SQL Server, and Exchange Server 2016, SharePoint Server 2016 will simplify end-user training and support for IT.
c) Compliance and Reporting:
Data Loss Prevention (DLP) is non-negotiable, and overexposure to information can have legal and compliance implications. SharePoint Server 2016 will provide a broad array of features and capabilities designed to make certain that sensitive information remains protected with investments in DLP, new scenarios to enable data encryption, and compliance tools that span on-premises servers and Office 365 while providing a balance between enabling user self-service and ensuring content usage adheres to corporate and security policies .This ensure that the privilege you have doesn’t become intrusive to security and compliance .
9.What’s new in SharePoint Server 2016?
Microsoft never fails to excite its customers by releasing many new features in the new release of every product it develops and SharePoint 2016 is no bar for that. The below mentioned image gives a complete overview of all the new features that has been released in SharePoint 2016.
Note: When I say new features, they might be newly introduced with this release of SharePoint or might be the enhanced version of a feature/service application in the previous release.
As you can see in the image above, SharePoint 2016 comes with almost close to 28 new features.
10.What has been deprecated in SharePoint 2016?
Of course, Microsoft removes few features too which was available in the previous versions of SharePoint and the reason for this is because Microsoft keeps listening to its customers through many user voice channels and based on the feedback given by its customers it either deprecates certain features or tries to enhance a specific feature and releases it once again as a new feature in the next new release or through service packs /CU’s etc.
So, listed below are the features that has been deprecated in SharePoint 2016,
11.Migration Approach to SharePoint 2016:
The below mentioned image depicts the Migration approach to SharePoint 2016.
So, the good news is if you’re running SharePoint 2013 you can directly migrate to SharePoint 2016 and the bad news is you can’t directly migrate to SharePoint 2016 if you’re running SharePoint 2010 version in your environment. However, please note that using third party tools like Share Gate and Metalogix you can migrate from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2016 and even from any legacy version to SharePoint 2016.
Note: To upgrade from SharePoint Server 2013 to 2016, minimal build SharePoint Server 2013 SP1 + March 2013 PU, build number (15.0.4481.1005)
Steps to plan the migration:
- Version to Version upgrade
- All Site Collections must be in 15 modes
- Database attach upgrade (content only)
- Create new SharePoint 2016 farm and attach SharePoint 2013 databases to SharePoint 2016
- SharePoint Server 2016 does not support SharePoint 2010 mode (i.e., compatibility level 14) site collections.
- SharePoint Server 2016 supports an upgrade from SharePoint Server 2013 with Service Pack 1 (SP1) with March 2013 PU, version 15.0.4481.1005 or higher
The below mentioned image should depict the overall upgrade process:
12. Feature Packs in SharePoint 2016:
With SharePoint 2016 the big new is Microsoft won’t be releasing Service Packs anymore, Feature packs would be taking over Service packs from SharePoint 2016 onwards. However, the release cycle for Feature packs differs from Service packs and let’s talk in detail about that.
The below mentioned image should give you a complete overview of the patching cycle for SharePoint 2016.
So, this is what the image says, Microsoft shipped SharePoint 2016 from March 2016 onwards and as per their normal patching cycle every month they would be releasing a Public update (i.e. Cumulative update) and what happens in this process is, in a specific month’s CU Microsoft would roll out all the new features/fixes etc. and that would be called as a Feature Pack. So, unlike the previous version of SharePoint where Microsoft releases all the new features/services in the form of Service Packs such as SP1 & SP2, for SharePoint 2016 it would be Feature Packs. However, the catch here is that, Microsoft won’t be releasing a specific package once in a year as Service packs instead all the new updates/features would be rolled out in a specific month’s CU and that will be called as a Feature Pack
As of now, Microsoft has released two Feature packs (i.e. Feature Pack 1 & Feature Pack 2). So, before we jump in and talk a look at what’s available in these Feature Packs, let’s try to understand what a Feature Pack is all about.
So, what’s a Feature Pack in SharePoint 2016?
Unlike previous versions of SharePoint, release-to-manufacture (RTM) did not define the end of innovation, but the beginning. As Microsoft continued to develop SharePoint Server 2016, they’ve paid close attention to customer feedback, trends in content management, team collaboration, user experiences across devices, and how the cloud can be blended into existing on-premises scenarios in new and compelling ways. Feature Packs allow us to accelerate delivery of cloud-first features to our Software Assurance customers of SharePoint Server 2016 outside of the traditional 2- to 3-year release cadence.
So, to make this simpler to understand, Feature Pack is an innovative step taken by Microsoft to add new features to SharePoint Product line which were not really announced as part of the initial Product release. Earlier a new feature made its way to SharePoint only as part of Product Launch which happened in three years interval. SharePoint Team will now be taking feedbacks and new features will be deployed as feature packs to SharePoint Server at regular intervals. This will keep SharePoint Server updated with new Cloud features introduced in SharePoint Online
Alright, so this covers Part 1 of “Everything you want to know about SharePoint 2016 “. Will see you all soon in part 2 of this article. Stay tuned!!!
Happy SharePointing!!!…Thanks for reading this post and good luck with your SharePoint 2016 implementation