What’s New in SharePoint 2016

SharePoint

SharePoint is a web-based intranet-portal from the Microsoft Office system that allows an organization to maintain and share data. It includes a variety of features like document management, content management, business intelligence and so on.

SharePoint allows an organization to help its employees connect with each other as well as share their work and content. It also helps employees to be better organized.

SharePoint was released by Microsoft in 2001. Currently SharePoint Server 2013 is the latest version. Microsoft is planning to release SharePoint 2016 in the second quarter of 2016 but its beta version will be out by end of this year.

What’s new in SharePoint 2016

The SharePoint 2016 product is based on a snapshot of SharePoint Online that’s part of Office 365, which Microsoft is turning into an on-premises release. The “kernel” of both this online snapshot and SharePoint 2016 itself is SharePoint Server 2013. This means SharePoint 2016 will be focused, like its predecessor, on managing files, content management, sites and portals.

There are many new features that are coming in SharePoint 2016. Apart from that, there are many improvements to the existing features. Following is the brief description of the features that are expected to be rolled out in the newer version.

Link Durability

All URLs will be Resource ID based URLs. That means that if one of your documents is renamed, the document link won’t be broken. Links that are shared to documents on SharePoint 2016 can still work even if the filename is changed or if it moves to a different site collection.

Hybrid Search

SharePoint 2016 is a Cloud Inspired Infrastructure. The emphasis here is building a hybrid platform to let users benefit from enhanced cloud innovations that Microsoft often releases for Office 365. One of the most important experiences that Microsoft will be introducing to On-Premises clients is the use of Cloud-based Search. The power of Delve & Office Graph can also be now applied to the On-Premises Content and the integrated cloud of course. Searching SharePoint gets easier with results shown from cloud and on-premises locations, no matter where you search from.

PerformancePoint Services

PerformancePoint Server is being ported back to SharePoint Server 2016. Project Server will be more tightly integrated, from a database standpoint, with SharePoint Server, though still remain a separate and separately priced product.

Deployment

A major deployment change is that standalone installations will no longer be supported. Also, single server farm deployments do not include SQL Server Express. Instead, organizations have to connect to a database server installed on the same machine. Microsoft will also be expanding the content database size, site collections per database, list threshold size, maximum file size and number of indexed items.

Security

Authentication in SharePoint 2016 is going to begin to standardize around SAML and OAuth. Both SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language) and OAuth are open standards. While both of these authentication methods are currently available in SharePoint 2013, we’ll see more standardization around their use in SharePoint 2016.

There are some security improvements coming in SharePoint 2016 around the SMTP service. SharePoint 2016 will use StartTLS connection encryption for encrypting emails sent from SharePoint, and the SMTP service will be able to use non-standard ports.

Roles and Services

SharePoint 2016 is taking a very different approach to roles and services. In 2013, whether your server was a “search server” or a “distributed cache server” was determined by the services you ran on it.

In 2016, that gets a new wrinkle added to it through the use of MinRoles. MinRoles apply a set of services to a server based on the role you assign it during installation.

MinRoles will let you specify whether your new server is going to be a Web Front End, a Search server, an Application server or a Distributed Cache server. Installing any of those roles predefines what services will be installed on the servers. Any services running on those servers that are not in that role, or stopped services that should be running, will cause the SharePoint Health Analyzer to report that the server is out of compliance.

Some things to note about MinRoles is that you cannot choose to have the servers be multiple roles. If you want a server to perform multiple role functions, you’ll want to select “Special Role” during the installation, which will let you pick and choose the services on the server in the same way as you do in SharePoint 2013.

These are just some of the highlights anticipated in SharePoint 2016, which may help you determine your future needs.

September 15, 2015