SharePoint 2016 IT Preview Released - The Yammer Post Heard Round-the-World
Yesterday the release of a SharePoint 2016 beta was a buzz among SPTechCon attendees in Boston. Among rumors of missing the deployment deadline, the beta release arrived. All the details available are interesting. We’ve been looking at earlier builds internally for a little while, prior to the Preview going live.
For this blog, I will initially focus on the newly published supporting materials and the questions from attendees in my “Slippery Slope of Migration” seminar. First, an Office 365 Network Post announcement on Yammer presented two pieces of collateral to support the IT Preview release. The documents focus on business language to describe and encourage a move to SharePoint 2016. These materials create a checklist of features to directly compare to 2010 or 2013. The documents are:
SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview Datasheet
As you can imagine, this is a brief, high-level overview of the features that were released in the 2016 IT Preview. The document is broken into two pages, with sections for Infrastructure (IT Pro), Experiences (Developers) and Compliance (Security). The first page provides a high-level overview equivalent of the 2007/2010 pie charts of SharePoint features, while the second page details the bullets of the first. This information is useful when explaining to your IT department why you need new Virtual Machines to install and test the 2016 Preview release.
NOTE: The link within the PDF currently does not link to a detailed page of minimum requirements. As far as I understand, the SharePoint 2016 requires Windows Server 2012 R2 and SQL 2014 or 16 with the same amount of resources of 2013.
SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview Reviewer Guide
If the data sheet wasn’t enough to convince your IT department, then crack open this guide and you will see the continuation of the same overarching themes of Infrastructure, Experiences and Compliance with much more detail. It’s a well drafted document that really highlights how the SharePoint team has been listening to customer feedback and/or has learned from their experiences with Office 365 in the cloud. Ignore some of the jargon such as “experiences” and “intuitive” and you have the beginning of a good business case.
Now we come to the discussion between Jill Hannemann and I with our attendees at SPTechCon yesterday afternoon. A vast majority of IT Pros in attendance are moving from 2010 to 2013, with a few moving to the cloud, and a tiny fraction already waiting for 2016. So naturally, during the hours of our tutorial, several of the attendees started to ask, “Should I wait for 2016?” As the technologist who loves shiny new things, I am tempted to say yes. However, even with our preview of 2016 it’s too early to make a recommendation, but I have to admit things are looking rosy. Here are some things to consider when deciding to move to 2013 now or wait for 2016:
What’s the actual timeframe for SharePoint 2016 Release to Market (RTM) compared to your desired upgrade and/or budget availability?
Really good news – SharePoint 2016 looks like 2013 so you do not have to train your users all over again
Are you, or will you soon be, a hybrid organization using both Office 365 and SharePoint on-premises?
Is it worth waiting for SharePoint 2016 no-downtime rolling upgrades?
Armed with the new collateral from Microsoft and a first round of considerations, I believe SharePoint 2016 will be the place to leap to in late 2016 or early 2017. They’ve heard and felt the pain of supporting their own SharePoint deployment, and are attempting to apply the experience gained from operating Office 365 to our own on-premises environments. Put in the requests for VMs now, you’ll want to start kicking the tires soon.
Adam is a Director of Product Management at Metalogix and a Microsoft MVP advocating for collaboration by connecting business needs with the right technology. Prior to Metalogix, Adam was a Practice Lead for Office 365 in a cutting edge Microsoft Consulting firm where he was responsible for moving customers to the cloud, designing and implementing information architecture (SharePoint Farm and content) and increasing user adoption. Adam is an ongoing member of the SharePoint Saturday DC coordinating committee and active speaker at various events.