WP_20150506_08_20_14_Pro_smWell this was the day I had been waiting for.  If you’ve wanted to get more information on SharePoint 2016, today’s recap is for you!  I’ll briefly review some tips from the great duo of Todd Klindt and Shane Young on upgrading to SharePoint 2013. Then I’ll dangle some awesome new not yet released tools for Dynamics CRM and Office 365 straight from the mouth of the great Girish Raja.  I then got several great insights from the master himself, Spence Harbar, on OneDrive for Business migrations. I rounded out the day diving deep in the new hybrid search service application for SharePoint 2013 / 2016.  If anything of this interests you, keep reading!

I apologize in advance for the length of today’s entry but too much great information to leave any out.  Now let’s get to SharePoint 2016.

Session – What’s New for It Professionals in SharePoint Server 2016

WP_20150506_08_17_30_Pro_smThis is what I was waiting for – to get an early peek at the details of some of the changes coming in SharePoint 2016.  There was a ton of information in this session. I'll struggle to try and boil it down to a few summary nuggets of information but no promises.  Again led by Bill Baer a Senior Technical Product Manager for SharePoint.  The huge amphitheater was packed, with attendees lined up waiting to get in. 

DISCLAIMER - One thing to remember with all this information – we are still almost a year from release. This is all tentative, subject to change and probably will etc., etc. 

What is SharePoint 2016?

imageWhat really defines SharePoint 2016?  Microsoft is looking to the cloud to see what SharePoint 2016 should be.  Office 365 was born from the SharePoint 2013 code base and this is when things diverged.  Microsoft made improvements, innovations and changed the way SharePoint worked in Office 365 but made only standard updates to 2013 on-premise.  Today, there is a large disparity between Office 365 features and SharePoint 2013 on-premises.  SharePoint 2016 aims to solve this by basically becoming the new code-base for on-premise.  They are back-porting almost all the capabilities in SharePoint Online and bringing them to the on-prem builds. 

Hardware Requirements for SharePoint 2016

The hardware requirements really don't change from SharePoint 2013. 

RAM:  12-16 GB RAM for production, more for development
CPU: 4 cores
Disk: 80GB for OS

Software Requirements for SharePoint 2016

Things start to change a little when it comes to the software requirements.  The minimum OS and SQL get a bump.

SharePoint 2016 software requirements

No More SQL Server Express

The big change is that standalone / single server installs will NOT support the Windows Internal database or SQL Server Express.  You MUST install and use SQL Server Standard / Enterprise / Datacenter, etc. It can be on the same server. 

Upgrade Paths to SharePoint 2016

The paths are the same as from 2010 to 2013. You can either DB attach or use a 3rd-party migration tool. That hasn’t changed.  But there has been speculation around if you are required to go to 2013 before 2016 or if you can skip.  Bill seemed to put this to rest.  You MUST upgrade to SharePoint 2013 before you can upgrade to SharePoint 2016.  In addition, any site collections that use the 2010 format will have to be converted to 2013 (15) mode before upgrading to 2016. 

Another huge change coming down the pipe in upcoming months is a new migration API.  This has been mentioned a lot this week when looking to migrate content to Office 365.  This will help facilitate easier upgrades from on-premise to SharePoint Online / OneDrive for Business scenarios. 


SharePoint 2016 identityIn SharePoint 2016, SAML claims becomes a first-class citizen and the default authentication though it will still support Windows Identity over SAML claims.  Basically this is aimed to set the stage for cloud integration, being cloud ready and trust Azure AD.  This in essence is one authentication provider to rule them all. 


Roles & Services

SharePoint 2016 MinRolesThere are some HUGE and fundamental changes going on here.  Defined roles are coming back (think 2007 WFE) to SharePoint 2016 but in a whole different way.  We’ve all seen where a CU will get released; gets pulled due to regression and has to be re-released.  This is because Microsoft can’t test reliability in every combination of service configuration.  They have established what they call MinRoles.  After you install the bits and fire up psconfig then you choose what role this server will perform in the farm.

SharePoint 2016 MinRoles

Think of Search. When you deploy it you have to run all this PowerShell.  Now SharePoint will configure the server with only the necessary bits and services for Search to run on this box and nothing else.  Since SharePoint configured it, they know how it should be and can plan for and test this configuration.  This is seen in new rules in the Health Analyzer and even a Fix it button in Services in Farm in Central Admin if things get out of compliance configuration wise.  You can still create these in PowerShell using a new switch called –isserverrole for psconfig.  Scaling an environment becomes very expected and easy: just stand up a new server; join to the farm and pick a role.

This allows for tremendously smaller update patches: from 40 installer files to 2; 18 language pack files to 1. 

Boundaries and Limits

This information is more fuzzy but these are the currently planned new limits in SharePoint 2016.

Content Database size >1 terabyte
# of Site Collections per content DB 100,000
List threshold >5000 (woohooo!)
Max File size increased from 2GB to 10GB

removed character restrictions
Search Index 500 million items

Other Improvements

  • SharePoint 2016 real time telemetryThe User Profile Service will NOT be included in SharePoint. It will be separated and can be run independently from SharePoint
  • Project Server has its databases consolidated into the Content DB”
  • Files shared will have “durable” links. If they are moved, renamed, etc., the link will still work using resource ID
  • Leveraging BITS for faster download/upload of these 10GB files
  • Fast Site Collection creation – basically does a SQL table row copy instead of going through API (spsite.copy) in content DB
  • Real time telemetry
    • Basically much more robust dashboards and analytics from an improved health and usage database
  • Allow storage of ODF files in document libraries which any editing program can edit
  • Enhancements in compliance for document fingerprinting, classification IDs, etc.
  • Cloud Search Service - I will talk about this later
  • Extranets – some form of ability leverage Office 365 identity federation service - think external users in SharePoint Online but now in on-prem
  • Much easier way to configure hybrid via new UI tool

Session - Upgrade to Microsoft SharePoint 2013 and Ready for Cloud Potential

Information from Todd Klindt and Shane Young – fun-filled and informative session with solid information!  I’ve done whole webinars on upgrading issues and migration from SharePoint 2010 to 2013 so I won’t go into detail here.  There is plenty of guidance out there on this topic.  Some key points:

  • If running classic authentication, upgrade to 2013 first then convert the webapp to claims authentication because convert-spwebapplication is way awesome
  • Start to consider using FQDN URLs in your webapps for thinking ahead to cloud since it requires FQDN for hybrid scenarios
  • With the February 2015 CU you can redirect 2010 My Sites to OneDrive for Business in Office 365
  • FAB 40 is dead!
  • Per Todd, “Don’t upgrade crap.”  Review those old sites and don’t migrate them if you don’t use them!
  • Get familiar with Azure AD as it will be a crucial component moving forward in the SharePoint landscape

Session – Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online: What’s New?

imageThis was lead by two well known Senior Product Managers at Microsoft:  Girish Raja and Luis Camino.  A lot of this was standard new stuff shown at Convergence or other online places.  However there were a couple new things I want to call out for our Dynamics CRM users.

New Outlook App for CRM

WP_20150506_13_55_38_ProReleasing in the next few days there is a new “Outlook app” that will be available in the store.  This doesn’t directly replace the current CRM for Outlook client but it helps to alleviate some of its pain.  It allows you to track email as well as configure folder-based email tracking.  Constantly track an email to the same account or opportunity?  Just drag the email to a folder and it will be tracked.  This works in Outlook desktop, OWA and mobile!   You can do so much more - even create a contact right from email (uses the quick create form and CAN be customized). 

This is enabled by IT / administrators but configured per user by going to CRM options –> Email, configure folder tracking rules –> add new folder mapping.  And yes, you can add multiple mappings.

Using Office in CRM

  • Office 365 Groups
    • Group activities, documents and members are surfaced on a CRM record contextually
  • Excel
    • When you are looking at a view you pick edit in Excel instead of Export to Excel, and if you make a change in Excel and save, it will update the record in CRM
  • OneNote
    • This requires document management integration to be configured
    • The OneNote notebook is stored in SharePoint, and can be created from CRM
    • This cannot be customized per say or get hooks into it
  • Future – Delve
    • Over time they are working to integrate CRM activities into Delve as well


Session - Configuring OneDrive for Business Deployment: Options and Best Practices

imageIn this session our fearless Certified Master and Architect Spence Harbar reviewed the options for moving to OneDrive for Business and configuring the redirection of on-prem OFB to Office 365 OFB.

Why would you want to do this?  When you want to take advantage of cloud-based personal storage but you are not yet ready for the full-blown Office 365 environment.  This lets users get the benefits of OFB in the cloud and still leave everything else on-prem. 

In order to do this you need SharePoint 2013 with SP1 or SharePoint 2010 with February 2015 CU and some form of directory sync or SSO setup.  Here are the basic steps:

  • Create an audience and establish membership rules to include the users you want to redirect
  • In on-prem Central Administration configure the Office 365 OFB link (My Sites root URL)
    • Select the audience you created
    • Likely leave the redirect site page not checked unless you want to redirect everyone
  • In Office 365 assign a license

There is a migration API coming that is basically a bulk CSOM API.  You can call this API “CreatePersonalSiteEnqueue” from code or from PowerShell.  This API can be used when you need to bulk migrate.  It is done in batches via a queue limited to 200.  You need to be sure to create the OFB sites in Office 365 beforehand, and then assign permissions to the bulk user. 

You can also use the OneDrive for Business network bandwidth calculator to check what impact this will have on your network bandwidth.

Session - Implementing Next Generation SharePoint Hybrid Search with the Cloud Search Service Application

imageThis was yet another packed session!  Here we were taken on a tour and given a deeper look into this new and elusive creature called “SharePoint Server Cloud Search service application”.

Basically this is a new service application coming to SharePoint 2013 by the end of the year (2015), and baked into SharePoint 2016 at release.  It provides the ability to aggregate your content index from multiple sources, farms, etc., and push the index to Office 365.  This allows on-prem content to show up in search results from SharePoint Online and even in Office 365. Content to show in a 2010 search center (if configured) with preview! 

Why do I care?

imageWhen you previously setup hybrid search it worked. But the different result sets showed that way - separate in the results.  It wasn’t a very unified experience and required hosting of ALL the search components.  Now the search cloud service app can be on-prem, in Azure, anywhere.  It only hosts the crawler and then pushes the encrypts the files / metadata to the index in Office 365. 

How do I create / configure it?

Here’s the basic, high-level procedure:

  • imageIn Central Admin create a new search service application (you can still use PowerShell to scale the environment as desired)
  • By default it isn’t connected to Office 365 so you execute an onboarding script
    • this needs global admin credentials in Office 365
    • currently this is a PowerShell but may be different at release
    • this onboarding script does all the main setup and configuration for you
  • If you need to make the online results show in 2010 on-premise, you publish this new search service application and consume from the 2010 farm


WP_20150506_18_01_57_ProSecurity trimming is still respected and is calculated at the source of where the document / item lives.  The new service app maps the value of the user’s SID to their PUID in Office 365 and stores this on-prem SID in a new property called “msOnline-OnPremiseSecurityIdentifier”. 

There is also a new managed property called IsExternalContent (boolean).  This allows easy creation of content sources to include or exclude content from on-premise or cloud, etc., via query rules. 

Much more will be released on this topic. This is an early peek.  But there is TREMENDOUS promise in a number of scenarios and looks to make hybrid configurations much better!  The speakers were swarmed after the session. More than I’ve ever seen if that’s any indication of how much interest there is on this topic. 

For more information about C5 Insight or this blog entry, please Contact Us