SharePoint 2016 Preview

Released over the summer on the 24th August 2015, SharePoint 2016 Preview is now available for testing, allowing users to try out some of the new features that will be released with the upcoming full version of SharePoint 2016, available in the following 12 months.

Our technical team have already been busy exploring some of the new features, and rather than talk through them all in length, the team have focussed on two that they feel are the most exciting.

The Minimum Role Feature (MinRole):

As well as the reduction in downtime during patching, MinRole will make SharePoint much easier for customers to set up in a stable manner and maintain. This simplification will allow customers (with or without help from a Microsoft partner) to concentrate on getting the value out of SharePoint, rather than technical operations.

Specifically, the MinRoles feature will let administrators specify whether the new server is going to be a Web Front End, a Search server, an Application server or a Distributed Cache server. When an administrator selects a role, SharePoint will automatically configure the services associated with that role. The servers cannot however, be multiple roles. If the server is needed to perform several role functions, ‘Special Role’ needs to be selected during installation to allow various services to be chosen rather than those which are predefined to set roles. This contrasts with earlier versions of SharePoint, where an administrator had to configure each individual service manually, often with the risk of misconfiguration.

The Cloud Search Service:

In addition to providing a unified search index in a hybrid scenario, this new feature unlocks the ability for your on-premises content to be surfaced in Delve. This further enhances the ability for Delve and the Office Graph to be an “intelligent fabric” connecting all of the content you interact with.

Not only available for SharePoint 2016 Preview, the Cloud Search Service Application is also available in SharePoint 2013 with the August 2015 Cumulative Update.

In summary, SharePoint 2016 develops some features found in the 2013 version as well as pushes forward with elements that have arisen through user demand. The Hybrid Search particularly is a way that Microsoft acknowledges that some organisations are still reluctant to move their businesses entirely into the cloud and thus provide a compromise with a view that it’ll provide the confidence needed to make the leap.

For more information about SharePoint 2016 or anything else mentioned above, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

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