SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview

SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview

A few weeks ago, Microsoft made the SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview available for download. I was excited to check it out, and will be sharing some findings over the course of several blog posts. The Preview can be downloaded here. Make sure to check the Install Instructions for the product key, you’ll need it. I installed it in a VM with no trouble at all.

The installation steps are similar to SP 2013, and the Product Configuration Wizard looks nearly the same, except for this new screen:

SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard Specify Server Role Screen

Back in May, I attended Microsoft’s Ignite conference here in Chicago and sat in on a session called “What’s New for IT Professionals in SharePoint Server 2016.” One of the new features they talked about was that Server Roles in SharePoint 2016 would now be something defined programmatically instead of simply being based on what services were running on the server. This new configuration screen should make it easier to set up multi-tier SharePoint farms by allowing administrators to set up servers with predefined roles. Additionally, the SharePoint Health Analyzer will include rules that will generate warnings if a server is running services that do not correspond to its role.

For my first look at the SharePoint 2016 IT Preview I went with a Single-Server Farm, but I am hoping to take a look at multi-tier farms in a future blog post. After the farm was set up, I opted for the farm configuration wizard instead of setting up everything manually. The farm configuration wizard looked pretty much the same as in 2013, although there were a few more services to pick from. After setting up the root site collection, I was offered an option to Configure Hybrid Features:

SharePoint 2016 IT Preview

I will take a closer look at hybrid configuration in SharePoint 2016 in another post.

Look and feel out of the box is a lot like 2013, but this is a technical preview for administrators, so this could still change:

SharePoint 2016 IT Preview

At the SharePoint 2016 Ignite session, the announcement that there would be increases to various thresholds, especially the List View Threshold, got the loudest applause from the audience. Since we seem to run into the 5000 item limit somewhat regularly, I was really curious to see what that limit had been increased to. However, it looks like the out-of-the-box Resource Throttling thresholds are still the same as they were in 2013:

SharePoint 2016 IT Preview

Since we’re still at least half a year away from the release of 2016, there’s still plenty of time left for those thresholds to get increased, though.

My initial takeaway from this first look at the SharePoint 2016 IT Preview is that most of what Microsoft is showing off in this release falls on the administrative end of things. So with that in mind, stayed tuned for next time when I’ll be taking a look at a few configuration options in the 2016 Preview. I'll explore Hybrid configuration, and also take a look at just how easy Microsoft has made Server Role configuration.

If you want to take a look at the SharePoint 2016 preview yourself without installing it locally, Microsoft has also made the preview available in the Azure virtual machine gallery. Keep in mind that if you spin up this virtual machine, it will be billed against your Azure subscription.

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