Day 3 of Microsoft’s Ignite conference I went to sessions covering what’s next for SharePoint 2016 for an IT Pro, a session on App /Add-in provisioning and deployment, planning for Internet performance and capacity, how to deploy Project: online and server and the final session was on a developer session for Project.
The first session of the day was on what’s was new for SharePoint 2016 for an IT Pro covered all of the new features and changes in SharePoint 2016 that will improve the performance, deployment and availability of SharePoint. As most of you know, my focus is Project / Project Server / Project Online (the site title gives that away :)) so I was keen to hear about what was going to change in the SharePoint world as that will directly impact Project Server too. All of these great new features that the SharePoint product team are introducing in SharePoint 2016, Project Server 2016 also benefits from these.
The key changes mentioned this morning were that SharePoint 2016 requires Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 10 for the OS and SQL Server 2014 SP1 x64 or SQL Server vNext x64. SharePoint 2016 no longer supports a standalone install using SQL Express, SQL Server will need to be installed on the box. The upgrade path from previous version is the database upgrade approach. If the SharePoint farm is earlier than 2013, the databases will need to be upgraded to SP 2013 before SP 2016.
SharePoint 2016 uses a MinRole approach for User roles / services, Robot services and cache services. The user services are for all user generated requests such as page loads, project, excel and one note etc. The robot service all for all system generated requests such as timer jobs and provisioning. I’m sure you can guess what the cache role is for :). The roles are setup on the install using the configuration wizard, you can choose whether the server is a web front end, application server, search, distributed cache or a specialised role. The specialised role option enables you to determine the server role by starting / stopping the services running on the farm (like 2007, 2010 and 2013). There is a new health analyser for the MinRole feature. This health rule will check that the correct services are running on that server based on the role selected on the install. If the specialised role is selected that particular server will be ignored by the new health check.
Patching of SharePoint 2016 has greatly been improved as mentioned here. There is now zero down time for build to build patches with SharePoint 2016 as this a an online process where as before the process took services offline. The patches are also a lot smaller, with a lot less MSI and MSP files so the patching process is quicker.
The software boundaries have not yet been confirmed but will be increased, the indicated boundaries are content DBs in the Terabytes, 100,000 site collections per content DB, the list threshold will be great than 5000, the max file size has been increased to 10 GB and character limit restrictions removed, index items increased to 500 million items.
Other key changes include, a change to the user profile service to remove the built in FIM service, this is now possible to use an external FIM server. The Project Server database has been merged into the SharePoint content DB but it is still licensed separately. Links are now durable so that if a link to a document is emailed to a colleague then at a later date the document name changes or the document is moved in 2013 the link would be broken but in 2016 the link would still work as the links are based on resource ID based URLs. There are options to view how the systems is used, browsers, sites accessed etc. to give you insight and have a better understanding of trends. There are improvements to the “Follow” functionality so that it works across on-premise and online. Hybrid deployment configuration is now possible via the UI rather than PowerShell.
The second session I went to was around app / add-in provisioning and deployment, nothing new here in the technology just an overview of what can currently be done. Only new (ish) change is the name, apps are now known as add-ins.
The third session I went to was planning for Internet performance and capacity with Office 365. This session covered the things your network admins should be aware of. If migrating from on-prem to Office 365 (or any cloud based solution for that matter), it is key that you have good baseline information for the network bandwidth usage so that you can work out if you need a more bandwidth. For Exchange / Outlook: http://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Exchange-Client-Network-8af1bf00 for Skype for Business (Lync): http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=19011 for OneDrive for Business: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=44541&751be11f-ede8-5a0c-058c-2ee190a24fa6. Other general recommendations for SharePoint are around caching with proxies, also considering using WAN accelerators and for working with documents using the Office Web App rather than the rich clients. For Outlook it is recommended to use Cache mode and by pass any proxies and also use the latest version of the Outlook client.
The fourth session was on Project Online and Project Server – an intro into deployment for both environments.
This evening finished with an MVP social event at the House of Blues which was great.
That’s it for today.