Vol. 20, #47 - November 23, 2015 - Issue #1057
SharePoint is naturally all about sharing. Don't you love sharing with others? We share the coffee maker, we share the water cooler, we even share our expertise sometimes. Of course sometimes others try to take advantage of our sharing as this Dilbert comic illustrates:
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And now on to our guest editorial by Goran Husman...
A super tanker needs about 20 minutes to go from normal speed to full stop. The captain and his crew needs to plan every action carefully in order to have full control over the ship, and if something goes wrong it may take time to correct it.
Microsoft is like a super tanker -- When they want to change anything fundamental, like moving from on-premise to cloud based services, they need to plan years ahead, and steadily perform the steps to reach that goal without breaking anything. If they do something wrong on the way, it may be hard to correct, and it may delay the expected date for completion. For at least the last 5 years it has been clear that Microsoft want to move many of its server products from local, i.e. on-premise, servers, to cloud-based services. They identified three major products that was the foundation to many customers' infrastructure: Exchange, SharePoint and Lync. Microsoft grouped them together, and offered these three products as a cloud packet, at first called BPOS, then later changed it to Office 365. The last two years, several other products as also been offered as cloud services, such as MS Dynamics CRM Online, MS Project Server Online and Power BI for Office 365. My personal focus is on SharePoint, and that is what this article will describe more closely.
In the autumn of 2014, there were rumors that next on-premise version of SharePoint would be the last on-premise version. It naturally created worries in many organizations that used SharePoint on-premised. Typical comments where -- "We cannot move our sensitive data to a cloud based services", and -- "We need custom code in our SharePoint, which the online version doesn't support". Many of these organizations already used cloud solutions, such as Dropbox, Sales Force and Project Place, so obviously the problem was not that Office 365 was cloud based. It was more likely to be a question about trust, especially among it administrators that may fear that moving important servers like Exchange and SharePoint to the cloud would affect their jobs in a negative way. Microsoft has since then repeatedly said that SharePoint 2016 will not be the last on-premise version. Still Microsoft has decided to make sure as many organizations as possible will move to Office 365 -- the question is how can they do it?
In September 2015 Microsoft released a technical preview of SharePoint Server 2016, plus a number of technical articles and video seminars, that explained what to expect. To start with, Microsoft say that the RTM version of SharePoint 2016 will be released in Q2-2016, which by the way is about 6 months after the expected release date we heard in 2014. Nothing strange about that, it happens all the time that release dates are moved, and it is better to get a good product version a bit late, than a buggy version released early.
NOTE: You can download the SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview here:
Some important changes in SharePoint 2016
The first impression from installing and running SharePoint 2016 is that it is very much alike its predecessor SharePoint 2013- most installation steps, and then configuration settings has not change. Then when you start looking into the details, you suddenly see that there are important changes, some of them to add, or enhance, features, some to make it smarter, and sometimes necessary, to run SharePoint Online along with SharePoint 2016 on-premise. Below are some of the more important changes listed.
No more SharePoint Foundation
The free on-premise version called SharePoint Foundation is now extinct -- If you want to use a free version of SharePoint your best option is to use SharePoint Foundation 2013, often abbreviated as SPF. That will be an issue for many organizations, both small and large -- Typically small companies and non-profit organizations use SPF, since it is free and good enough for their needs, but also larger corporations use SPF for project with a mix of internal and external user. The option for these organizations are to either stick with SPF for 4-5 years, or to move to an Office 365 subscription plan such as Office 365 Business Essentials. However, and this is important -- if you need a public web site, then Office 365 will not support that, not even the more expensive "Enterprise" plans. Microsoft supported public web sites until the beginning of 2015, then it was removed as a feature for all new Office 365 customers. Old customers that use this public web feature has until March 2016 to find another solution. Microsoft instead recommends using GoDaddy or Wix for public web sites, with special discount for Office 365 customers:
No more embedded SQL Express
Up to SharePoint 2013 on-premise, it was possible to do a simplified installation of a SharePoint server using an embedded SQL Server Express. It was not used in production environments, since the max database size was 4 GB, but it was popular among users that just needed a quick and easy installation to test SharePoint. Another group that often used this option was developer, that need a SharePoint installation on the same computer they run Visual Studio, in order to write custom code. This missing option is not really a big deal, since it is still possible to install a free SQL Server Express before installing SharePoint Server 2016 -- I know, because I have tested it, but Microsoft's documentations only list the full SQL Server 2014 and later versions as valid database options.
No more FIM
The SharePoint service application User Profile, among other things, are used to store properties about users, thus making it possible to search for people with specific skills, and other user properties. Those properties were typically imported from Active Directory. SharePoint 2010 and 2013 allowed imports from many other data sources, using the ForeFront Identity Manager, or FIM. That sounds great, but in reality many organizations struggled hard to get FIM working, and sometimes never solved it. SharePoint 2016 does not support FIM anymore -- instead you use the built-in replication engine to import from Active Directory, which is very easy to set up and manage. But if you still need to replicate with another data source than AD, it is possible to install FIM separately, and make it work with SharePoint 2016. My personal believe is that most SharePoint administrators are happy that FIM is gone in 2016.
Important changes for Excel Web App
A popular feature in SharePoint Server Enterprise 2013 is the built-in support for Business Intelligence. The most common BI feature used is the Excel Service application, typically used to display Excel spreadsheets on a web page, using the Excel Web Access web part. That feature is now removed from SharePoint 2016, and you will need Office Online Server, OOS, to use the Excel Web Access web part, and to view and edit Excel spreadsheets using a browser. The OOS is replacing the existing Office Web App server, used with SharePoint 2013. Note that OOS must be installed on a separate server, just like the Office Web App. You can learn more about OOS on this page:
New Server Roles
In all previous versions of SharePoint Server on-premise, you could choose between a stand-alone server installation, or a full server installation. Typically, the full server installation was used, then you had to decide what service applications to enable, to configure the server for a specific role, such as a front-end server, or a search server. In SharePoint 2016 you have a choice list of different roles called "MinRole" to choose between, when running the configuration wizard after the installation, see below. When selecting one of these roles, the server will be automatically configured and optimized for that role.
Figure 1: Specifying a server role in SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview.
If you are happy with a single server farm configuration, you can either choose the role "Single Server Farm", or the role "Custom" and then enable all service applications you need.
NOTE: For more information on MinRole see here:
Hybrid Solutions is the way forward
With SharePoint Online users have access to the Delve feature -- this is dependent on SharePoint's search engine, and the Office Graph to analyze user activities in SharePoint and Outlook. Delve gives the user a very easy way to find links and previews of recently modified documents. Delve will also show what documents the people she have most contact with is working on. However, Delve and Office Graph will not be available in SharePoint 2016 on-premise -- it is an exclusive online feature. But with SharePoint 2016 it is possible to set up an integration with SharePoint Online, thus making Delve available also for on-premise users. This is referred to as a Hybrid Search Solution, and will later also be available for SharePoint 2013 on-premise farms. There are a number of steps before this hybrid solution will work, such as configuring synchronization of user accounts between the on-premise Active Directory and Office 365, and then also configure the hybrid features in SharePoint 2016, using PowerShell. This area is under development, so expect a lot of changes before the final release of SharePoint 2016 in Q2 next year. This MS Office Blog post is a good start for finding more information about hybrid search:
SharePoint Server 2016 will be an excellent replacement for SharePoint Server 2013 on-premise. But you should really start looking at SharePoint Online now, since there we can expect more hybrid configurations to come. If you just want to play with SharePoint 2016, and you don't mind a slow performance, you need at least an 8 GB server, with Windows Server 2008 R2, and SQL Server Express 2014, and you are good to go. If you also want to try out the Office web access, and the Excel web part, you will need to install the OOS on a second server. Remember that you cannot upgrade the technical preview version to the RTM, once it will be released, so don't use it in a production environment!
About Goran Husman
Goran is a computer geek, that loves MS SharePoint. He has received Microsoft's MVP award for 12 consecutive years, and has written 4 books about SharePoint and Exchange. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, where he runs the consulting company Human Data AB:
You can follow Goran on Twitter (@Ghusman)
You can also find him on LinkedIn:
Got feedback about anything in this issue of WServerNews? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Office 365 Cloud Myths - Free eBook
What does it mean to "move to the cloud"? This free eBook breaks down the myths about the cloud and tells you what you really need to know when considering Microsoft Office 365. [requires registration]
Plan and Configure User Access for SharePoint 2013
If you would like to learn how to plan and configure authentication and authorization for SharePoint Server 2013 deployment, check out this course. Join a team of experts, as they explain how to support federated identities and how to configure server-to-server trusts. Plus, get the details on planning and configuring all aspects of authorization, including permission levels, SharePoint groups, and web application policies:
Create and Maintain Site Collections in SharePoint 2013
What is a site collection, and how can it help you? Get the details in this informative course! Learn about site collections, which are made up of one top-level site and all sites or subsites below it. It is the top-level or root site of a web application. You create a site collection to host sites that are going to have something in common. As such, site collections are a way of organizing sites for a common purpose. Check out this course to learn about the types of site collections that are available, explore the considerations involved when creating them, walk through how to create them in both Central Administration and using PowerShell, and look at how to manage them in SharePoint 2013:
"At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer. -- Anonymous
Until next week,
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RemotePC lets you access your PC or Mac remotely from any computer:
TailExpert is a reliable and useful application dedicated to helping you analyze log files, eventlogs, system logs or debug logs:
Excel-DNA makes it easy to create high-performance Excel add-ins with user-defined functions, ribbons and real-time data streams:
GOT TIPS you'd like to share with other readers? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
TXT records are a type of DNS resource record used to enable the association of unformatted text with hosts or other entities. TXT records are the preferred resource record type used for verification purposes when configuring your domain for Office 365. This post by Rhoderick Milne on the 250 Hello blog explains how to use Nslookup to check DNS TXT records:
Still got public folders kicking around in your Microsoft Exchange environment that you're trying to get rid of? If you aren't able to remove them using standard means, you can use ADSI Edit to get rid of them--the MukutDasBlogs blog explains how here:
Ed Wilson of The Scripting Guys at Microsoft has a simple PowerShell one-liner you can use to clone a virtual disk:
Convergence on April 4-7, 2016 in New Orleans USA
2016 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference on July 10-14, 2016 in Toronto Canada
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Convergence 2015 EMEA on Nov 30 - Dec 2, 2015 in Barcelona Spain
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The following SharePoint blogs are recommended by Goran Husman who contributed the guest editorial for this issue of WServerNews:
Marc D Anderson:
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VMware has introduced a new idea of stretched clusters in vSphere Metro Storage Cluster (vMSC). Find out what it is, the benefits and capabilities it offers, and how vMSC can fit into overall workload availability in your data center.
GOT FUN VIDEOS or other fun links to suggest you'd like to recommend? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
This week we've dug into Flixxy archives for videos on some really, really small stuff!
Every grain of sand is a jewel waiting to be discovered. Amazing microphotography shows spectacular colors, shapes, and patterns:
This video was put together using different instruments. Light microscopes are limited to magnifications of 2000 times. Electron microscopes can get magnifications of up to 2 million times. Scanning tunneling microscopy is a powerful technique for viewing surfaces at the atomic level:
Willard Wigan specialises in sculptures that are so small, they fit inside the eye of a needle! You need a microscope to view them:
In Hong Kong, because of the space, apartments are small and expensive. Gary Chang, an architect, decided to design a 344 sq. ft. apartment to be able to change into 24 different designs, all by just sliding panels and walls. He calls this the "Domestic Transformer."
Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of WServerNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. Mitch was lead author of the bestselling Windows 7 Resource Kit and has been author or series editor for almost fifty books mostly published by Microsoft Press. Mitch is also a ten-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his outstanding contributions in support of the global IT pro community. Mitch owns and runs an information technology content development business based in Winnipeg, Canada. For more information see www.mtit.com.
Ingrid Tulloch is Associate Editor of WServerNews and was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press. Ingrid is also manages research and marketing for our content development business and has co-developed university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration program.