Microsoft’s journey to launching SharePoint Server 2016 is one step further with its Release to Manufacturing (RTM) yesterday, release candidate announced late January and Beta 2 from November 2015. This indicates that the product will be available to the general audience in next few months.
As the excitement builds for the final release, it’s time to get ready for SharePoint 2016 and look into the features and improvements it offers.
Unified Hybrid Cloud Search
In the current SharePoint 2013 version, hybrid search allows you to search both on-premises as well as SharePoint Online content, but the search results are shown in separate blocks and it’s not consolidated or unified. For the new SharePoint 2016, SharePoint Online will also index the SharePoint 2016 on-premises data, providing a seamless, unified search experience.
SharePoint 2016 accomplishes this by leveraging the new Cloud Search Service Application which synchronizes the search experience across the environments and creates a unified index in the cloud. Notably it will improve the Delve/Office Graph experience by also curating the on-premises contents.
Performance and Security Improvements
- Fast Site Collection Creation: SharePoint 2016 has reduced feature activation overheads and uses the copy operation at the content Database level to improve the site collection creation performance. In order to use this new capability in SharePoint server 2016, template and “CreateFromSiteMaster” parameter needs to be applied to the PowerShell CmdLet.
- Encrypted SMTP Connections for security improvements
Zero Downtime Patching
SharePoint 2016 environment won’t go offline anymore during an upgrade or patch. Larger file patches are broken into smaller files using a dependency model with specific order. This model with the patching order removes the downtime required in the previous versions. The patches should be always applied in the specific order, a familiar process similar to existing cumulative updates.
10 GB File Support
SharePoint might not be an ideal place for storing large files, but still the previous 2 GB limit and has been increased to 10 GB. However, when dealing with these larger files, we recommend that best practices are followed to avoid any time out issues.
Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Capabilities
- DLP Policy Templates: Users will be able to leverage in-built policy templates for your DLP. The templates are equipped with specific keywords to form detection criteria and trigger policy action against the document.
- DLP Queries: Admins will be able to run DLP queries over any templates across the SharePoint environment. The eDiscovery site template is known as DLP query, which launches queries against the DLP templates.
List View Threshold Improvements
Microsoft has worked hard to make large list/library planning and handling stress-free in SharePoint 2016 by introducing auto indexing. This means users no longer have to change the list view threshold limit in order to create index columns. Index columns are automatically created when the number of items reaches around 2500. The auto index configuration is available in the list settings and is enabled by default.
SharePoint 2016 helps you redirect on-premises My Sites/OneDrive to OneDrive in the cloud. This streamlines administration and migration efforts on the on-premises side. Users can directly access the OneDrive in cloud and start moving or syncing their contents.
Followed Sites in One Place
Users can follow specific SharePoint sites by clicking on the star icon in the right corner of the SharePoint navigation, compiling frequently accessed sites from both online and on-premises into one unified experience. When a user clicks on the sites from the app launcher, it will display all followed online or on-premises sites.
App Launcher and UX Changes
If you are already familiar with the Office 365 app launcher or waffle menu, now it’s also part of the SharePoint 2016. This global navigation will help in navigating to apps like OneDrive, Yammer, Delve and others. Also, the ribbon contextual menu is improved to match Office 365. For hybrid users, this provides a consistent experience across the environments.
As usual on the upgrade path, SharePoint 2016 is targeting direct upgrades from SharePoint 2013. This can be achieved through either in-place or database detach and attach methods. If you are in SharePoint 2010, you need to upgrade to SharePoint 2013 before upgrading to SharePoint 2016.
Today’s blogger is Rajesh Sitaraman, Sr. SharePoint Architect at SADA Systems
SADA Systems is a Microsoft National Solutions Provider and Cloud Solutions Provider, offering direct migration from SharePoint 2003/2007/2010/2013 to SharePoint 2016/Office 365 with the help of ISV tools and other proven methodologies.
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