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Everything you always wanted to know about SharePoint 2016 – Part II

Welcome back to the Part II of SharePoint 2016 article. If you haven’t’ yet read the Part I of this blog, please check it before proceeding.

Let us continue with what is New in SharePoint Server 2016, the migration approach, the overall upgrade process and more today. Here is what we will discuss today.

  • What’s new and what’s been deprecated in SharePoint Server 2016?
  • What has been deprecated in SharePoint 2016?
  • Migration approach to SharePoint 2016
  • Feature Packs in SharePoint 2016:

What’s new in SharePoint Server 2016?

Microsoft never fails to excite its customers by releasing many new features in the new release of every product it develops and SharePoint 2016 is no bar for that. The below mentioned image gives a complete overview of all the new features that has been released in SharePoint 2016.

Note: When I say new features, they might be newly introduced with this release of SharePoint or might be the enhanced version of a feature/service application in the previous release.

SharePoint 2016 new features

As you can see in the image above, SharePoint 2016 comes with almost close to 28 new features.

What has been deprecated in SharePoint 2016?

Of course, Microsoft removes few features too which was available in the previous versions of SharePoint and the reason for this is because Microsoft keeps listening to its customers through many user voice channels and based on the feedback given by its customers it either deprecates certain features or tries to enhance a specific feature and releases it once again as a new feature in the next new release or through service packs /CU’s etc.

So, listed below are the features that has been deprecated in SharePoint 2016,

SharePoint 2016

Migration Approach to SharePoint 2016:

The below mentioned image depicts the Migration approach to SharePoint 2016.

Migration approach to SharePoint 2016

So, the good news is if you’re running SharePoint 2013 you can directly migrate to SharePoint 2016 and the bad news is you can’t directly migrate to SharePoint 2016 if you’re running SharePoint 2010 version in your environment. However, please note that using third party tools like Share Gate and Metalogix you can migrate from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2016 and even from any legacy version to SharePoint 2016.

Note: To upgrade from SharePoint Server 2013 to 2016, minimal build SharePoint Server 2013 SP1 + March 2013 PU, build number (15.0.4481.1005)

Steps to plan the migration:

  1. Version to Version upgrade
  2. All Site Collections must be in 15 modes
  3. Database attach upgrade (content only)
  4. Create new SharePoint 2016 farm and attach SharePoint 2013 databases to SharePoint 2016
  5. SharePoint Server 2016 does not support SharePoint 2010 mode (i.e., compatibility level 14) site collections.
  6. SharePoint Server 2016 supports an upgrade from SharePoint Server 2013 with Service Pack 1 (SP1) with March 2013 PU, version 15.0.4481.1005 or higher

The below mentioned image should depict the overall upgrade process:

SharePoint upgrade process

Feature Packs in SharePoint 2016:

With SharePoint 2016 the big new is Microsoft won’t be releasing Service Packs anymore, Feature packs would be taking over Service packs from SharePoint 2016 onwards. However, the release cycle for Feature packs differs from Service packs and let’s talk in detail about that.

The below mentioned image should give you a complete overview of the patching cycle for SharePoint 2016.

overview of the patching cycle for SharePoint 2016.

So, this is what the image says, Microsoft shipped SharePoint 2016 from March 2016 onwards and as per their normal patching cycle every month they would be releasing a Public update (i.e. Cumulative update) and what happens in this process is, in a specific month’s CU Microsoft would roll out all the new features/fixes etc. and that would be called as a Feature Pack. So, unlike the previous version of SharePoint where Microsoft releases all the new features/services in the form of Service Packs such as SP1 & SP2, for SharePoint 2016 it would be Feature Packs. However, the catch here is that, Microsoft won’t be releasing a specific package once in a year as Service packs instead all the new updates/features would be rolled out in a specific month’s CU and that will be called as a Feature Pack

As of now, Microsoft has released two Feature packs (i.e. Feature Pack 1 & Feature Pack 2). So, before we jump in and talk a look at what’s available in these Feature Packs, let’s try to understand what a Feature Pack is all about.

So, what’s a Feature Pack in SharePoint 2016?

Unlike previous versions of SharePoint, release-to-manufacture (RTM) did not define the end of innovation, but the beginning. As Microsoft continued to develop SharePoint Server 2016, they’ve paid close attention to customer feedback, trends in content management, team collaboration, user experiences across devices, and how the cloud can be blended into existing on-premises scenarios in new and compelling ways. Feature Packs allow us to accelerate delivery of cloud-first features to our Software Assurance customers of SharePoint Server 2016 outside of the traditional 2- to 3-year release cadence.

So, to make this simpler to understand, Feature Pack is an innovative step taken by Microsoft to add new features to SharePoint Product line which were not really announced as part of the initial Product release. Earlier a new feature made its way to SharePoint only as part of Product Launch which happened in three years interval. SharePoint Team will now be taking feedbacks and new features will be deployed as feature packs to SharePoint Server at regular intervals. This will keep SharePoint Server updated with new Cloud features introduced in SharePoint Online.

Alright, so this covers Part II of “Everything you want to know about SharePoint 2016 “. Will see you all soon in part III of this article. Stay tuned!!! Happy SharePointing!!!

 

Vignesh Ganesan

Written by Vignesh Ganesan

A Microsoft/ITIL Certified SharePoint & Office 365 Technical Specialist specializing in the implementation, management and support of SharePoint On-premises servers /SQL Server, Office 365 tenants, SharePoint migrations, Microsoft Intune & Azure. He shares his insights via his blog vigneshsharepointthoughts.com, and occasionally contributes to Hubfly too.