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At Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft said that the first preview release of SharePoint 2016 will happen in the month of August. And reportedly the 2016 version is called SharePoint Server 2016.
Bill Baer, senior technical product manager and Microsoft Certified Master for SharePoint, had said at the Microsoft Ignite conference in May that the SharePoint Server 2016 preview would arrive later this summer, but recent developments suggest that Microsoft has decided to prepone its preview release plans from the current schedule.
What to expect in SharePoint 2016?
Cloud improvements in focus
SharePoint Server 2016 will have the cloud as its foundation and that will affect how Microsoft thinks about its premises-based products, said Baer. A new cloud search service will be a new feature in SharePoint 2016 which will allow organizations to unify their search index across cloud and premises environments.
Microsoft plans to make it easier to use hybrid architectures (SharePoint Server plus Office 365 services) and make it easier for organizations to perform migrations when they are ready, according to Seth Patton, global senior director for SharePoint and OneDrive product marketing, in the “Evolution of SharePoint” Ignite session. Microsoft is adding new experiences to SharePoint that are based on making it more social and mobile, as well as being capable of leveraging machine learning capabilities, he added.
Microsoft is going to add a new server role installation wizard to SharePoint Server 2016 and it has already added compliance reporting in SharePoint Server 2016 to help with role installations in the new product. Now organizations won’t have to dig through many pages of PowerShell commands to perform hybrid installations.
SharePoint Server 2016 will have a built-in health analyzer that ensures that the roles will stay as provisioned in a SharePoint farm. It will scan everything for compliance, except for specialized loads. Baer explained that the health analyzer will compare the farm’s service instances to what Microsoft expects them to be and will report if they are compliant with Microsoft’s topologies. Microsoft will include a new fix button in the central administration console that will allow organizations to address instances when a server is out of compliance.
A few other SharePoint Server 2016 developments were highlighted
Microsoft is moving more to a cloud-based identification model with SAML and OAuth
Site creation is no longer a “heavy operation” but now will be “small and fast”
Project Server will be integrated into SharePoint content databases (not free)
Microsoft is adding an ODF file saving capability
Microsoft will make “durable links” for finding files so that it won’t matter if the file name gets changed or if the file gets moved