The RTM release of SharePoint 2016 in March was an important milestone for SharePoint Product line as a whole which include new capabilities for end users, IT professionals, administrators and architects. And this release is a next step towards hybrid capabilities across on premise and Office 365 after a cumulative update for SharePoint 2013. Let’s look at what’s new in SharePoint 2016 and what’s deprecated.
MinRole allows you to install and configure the role that you want in particular for that server in the farm. Not only from an installation standpoint that it would configure the required features for that role but also from administrative standpoint it would make sure that the roles the server belongs to are complaint. You can at any point of time convert to new roles if required. You can look at the services to verify compliance status.
- A document library could go upwards of 25 million documents with a threshold of 5000 view threshold beyond which SharePoint would start throwing weird messages unless you index your columns. While the technical threshold still remains for performance reasons, SharePoint would auto create index columns and the user won’t have to worry about explicitly adding index.
- Support for ODF document is added.
- Files are now shared via durable links which is combination of site id and document id. Will not break the link if file name changes.
- Filename length and other character restrictions are removed. However, Restricted characters such as % and # are still not allowed in file names.
- Project Server is now consolidated into SharePoint content database.
- You can now rename files, create new files, and share files from within the WOPI iframe on the browser page.
- You can now preview images and videos in SharePoint Server 2016 document libraries.
- You can now apply themes to your Suite Navigation.
User Profile Management
- User Profile page will now include content from Delve and Open Graph API.
- Forefront Identity Manager is now no longer included in user profile sync service application. Unidirectional sync is available though.
- Using Microsoft Identity Manager to sync identity is now supported.
- Blogging feature now supports drag and drop of images and enhance user experience.
Performance & Security Improvements
- Reliability improvements to Distributed Cache.
- SharePoint Logging API allows easier ability to record and report on analytics and telemetry across a whole range of objects in the farm.
- Fast Site creation based on copying a master template Site Collection from the database level using “SPSite.Copy” function
- SMTP connections now support TLS.
- SAML claims based authentication will be preferred though NTLM/Kerberos would still be supported.
- SharePoint Server 2016 now provides the same data loss prevention capabilities as Office 365.
- The compile time for customized XSLT files used for Content Query, Summary Links, and Table of Contents Web Apps is improved.
- eDiscovery and Legal Hold will now traverse SharePoint Online in O365
- Search Service can query SharePoint Online in O365 and provide a single ranked results set with integrated relevancy (no separate verticals)
- Consolidation of Social features to ensure followed on premise and online content appears in a single social profile
- Delve and Office Graph API can surface content from on premise services along with content in O365 (will be released for 2013 this year)
- Item level encryption using Azure AD Rights Management Services
High Availability & Scalability
- Patches would be much smaller.
- Patching would support nearly zero downtime to the farm and no disruption to the users.
- Content DBs would scale to terabytes. (although I would prefer it much smaller and structured)
- Maximum upload size has increased from 2 GB to 10 GB.
- Index partitions support upto 500 million maximum items.
- BITS now replacing FSS over HTTP and Cobalt to reduce IO between servers and bandwidth to the end user
- Traffic Management endpoint automatically routes user requests based on server health.
- There is no direct upgrade path from 2010 to 2016 (sites and databases must be running in 2013 mode)
- The upgrade process is the same as 2010 to 2013 (2013 databases are attached to a new 2016 Farm and are upgraded)
- SharePoint Foundation is not supported.
- No Stand Alone option which installs SQL Express. Only Supports use of SQL Server.
- Forefront Identity Manager is no longer included. Instead support for Microsoft Identity Manager is encouraged.
- SharePoint Designer will not be shipped with SharePoint 2016. Instead, support for SharePoint 2013 Designer will continue.
- Duet Enterprise for Microsoft and SAP cannot be deployed with SharePoint 2016.
- Excel Services and its associated business intelligence capabilities are no longer hosted on SharePoint Server. Excel Services functionality is now part of Excel Online in Office Online Server (this is the next version of Office Web Apps Server), and SharePoint users can use the services from there.
- The Tags and Notes feature is deprecated in SharePoint Server 2016. Users can no longer create new tags and notes or access existing ones. However, an administrator can archive all existing tags and notes by using the Export-SPTagsAndNotesData cmdlet.
SharePoint 2016 comes with number of features that were either missing in SharePoint 2013 or half-baked. While there are financial implications due to some of the deprecated features, Microsoft has certainly poised SharePoint for growth and user adoption.