I was fortunate enough to attend the SharePoint conference 3 years ago and the difference from then to today is just amazing. I attended three sessions here at Microsoft Ignite and the next generation is just beautiful. The TL:DR version is that Microsoft has been forced to use their own products for the last 3 years and are now giving users the corrections for all the headaches they found.
For those of you that want some more details, let me tell you some things I heard at #msignite sessions.
- The build will be smaller. This is a recurring theme in the 2016 editions; lower overhead in all aspects. Given that Microsoft is looking to utilize resources as efficiently as possible for O365 and this is one lesson they've learned that we can all benefit from.
- The cloud is now the trendsetter. Any on-premise edition will be a follow up to whatever advances are made in cloud capabilities.
- Hardware requirements for SharePoint 2016 are pretty much right in line with SharePoint 2013. This is great to see that a new hardware investment won't be necessary.
- No more SQL Server Express with any version of SharePoint 2016. You will have to have a SQL license to use SharePoint 2016
- Roles: You can install SharePoint 2016 with specific roles and SharePoint will hold you to it. This is a move designed to improve health and simplify patching. The current style of complete customization of services is still available if needed.
- Central Admin is generally the same, but checking your servers in the farm has much more information like whether the server matches the server role you picked for it.
- I hear promises of 0 downtime patching. A SharePoint 2016 server can be patched without services being suspended. I'm going to cross my fingers on this one. Again, it makes sense with Microsoft's own maintenance of O365.
- Incredible new boundaries and limits! Check here for a graphic with details of promises about halfway down the page. I didn't get a good picture of the slide. 1 TB+ Content Databases!
- User Profile service can be offloaded to a server other than SharePoint! I have a stab in the dark that this has to do with not being able to use the service from InfoPath Forms Services in Office 365.
- Durable links: Resource id based URLs will let you keep links to documents working regardless of document renaming or moving to different locations.
If you're at Ignite, stop by booth #591 to say hi, get a t-shirt, and play some 8-bit memories. See you tomorrow!