SharePoint Server 2016 Overview

Here are my notes from Ignite 2015. These notes are from this session: What’s New for IT Professionals in SharePoint Server 2016

Launch dates

  • Beta 1 – Q4/2015
  • RTM – Q2/2016


  • Zero downtime patching for build-to-build updates (like Cumulative Updates)
  • Patch size significantly decreases.
  • Responsive interface and new mobile experiences based on what’s available in O365

Hardware Requirements

About the same as SP2013. Compute doesn’t really change.

Software Requirements

  • W2k12R2 and Windows Server 10
  • .NET FW 4.5.2 for w2k12R2 or .NET FW 4.5.7 for WS10.
  • 64bit SQL Server 2014 SP1 at a minimum


  • Standalone installations are no longer supported. Single Server install will require a regular install on SQL Server on the local machine.
  • The role guidance that we had in SP2013 becomes specific roles in code in sp2016. Conceptually, there are three role types
  • User Services roles – any request coming directly from a user.
  • Robot services – any request that does not originate from an end user.
  • Cache services – DCS

The goal is that a request from a user is managed from end-to-end by a single machine. This will reduce latency. No need to traverse the topology and send the request from server to server. This is called “min-role topology”

During install, you pick from one of server roles.

  • Special load does not use min role. Same flexibility you had in SP2013. This server can play any role just like before. Recommended for third-party or custom-dev services.
  • Web Front End – responding to a web user request from end to end. User services role.
  • Search – Indexing/Crawling.
  • App Server role – robot services role.
  • Single Server Farm – This does not include SQL Server Express any longer. You need to install SQL Server on that machine separately. All SP bits are installed, like Special Load.


  • 5 mode (SP 2010 mode) site collections need to be upgraded to v15 (SP2013) before an upgrade.
  • DB attach upgrade from SP2013 to SP2016. There will be direct path from SP2010.
  • Think of SP2013 as the base kernel for future SP release. For the most part, there is schema parity from 2013 to 2016.
  • Service app architecture does not change
  • When developing SP2016, MSFT took a point-in-time snapshot from O365 was taken and a new branch has been created.


  • SAML is the default and a first class citizen. Basically, there is one auth provider that is both claims and cloud ready. This helps make the cloud more transparent from an app-dev point of view.
  • MSFT is moving away from domain/classic mode auth and moving towards cloud-based auth. What about Windows Identity over SAML? This is supported but still deprecated.
  • SMTP Connection encryption. StartTLS connection encryption. Can use non default ports, other than TCP 25. Fallback to unencrypted SMTP is not supported.

Perf and reliability

  • Performance is expected to be significantly improved with the min-role concept covered during installation.
  • Health analyzer is specific for the role. It detects a service that deviates from the role. Can you start a service on a server that is incompatible with its role? Health analyzer does not run against Special Load.
  • Not in compliance means the health analyzer compares what’s running and what does it expect to find. There is a Fix link to resolve this.


  • Size of the patch has been reduced significantly. Number of MSIs and MSPs reduces down to 2 and 4 respectively. Previously this was 37 + (10 x number of language packs).
  • The upgrades install faster with no downtime. In the past, achieving 99.9% uptime has been too difficult. This is definitely possible now.
  • Build-to-build upgrades are an online operation. Completely transparent to users. Upgraders used to run offline where services were stopped.
  • With the fewer number of configuration combinations (e.g. using min role topology), this simplifies the testing and increases over the stability of the system. This is also how the patching footprint can be much smaller and faster.

Distributed Cache (DCS)

In SP2013, AD needed to be consulted for each cache request which really slowed down the perf. This has been eliminated by using a new transport layer.

Boundaries and limits

  • Moving away from FSSHTTP. Using Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS). What about Shredded Storage? Nothing discussed here.
  • SPSite (site collection) provisioning is much faster. SPSite. Copy is used at the db layer. Basically just adding new rows at the table level based on the template. Things like feature activation does not slow it down now.
  • MSFT is still thinking about incorporating Traffic Mgmt as with O365. New end point on web servers. This is not official yet, but in the planning/feasibility stage.

User Profile Services

Two-way FIM support is pulled out of SP. If you need this, you can use the full external ForeFront Identity Manager. SP only supports the simple, one-way sync from AD.

Project Server database gets merged into a content db. Brings Project Server closer to SP. SP2016 doesn’t include Project Server.

Durable Links

Files can be moved in between site collections or renamed and the durable link still works. This is based on a resource ID that has an affinity on the document.


Lots of new telemetry in SP2016. Lots of new reporting on usage, storage, health, perf. This is the first time I’ve seen this degree of reporting in any edition of SharePoint. This will definitely diminish the value of Report Centre.


  • O365 Compliance Centre can also cover on-prem content.
  • In-place hold and e-discovery on both O365 and on-prem.
  • Classification ID – a discrete representation of a particular piece of IP. For example, there is a credit card class ID, but in addition, they look for something else to corroborate it. For example, expiration date. There will be many others, SSN, Driver’s license, etc.

Search – unified search result set.

No longer separate result blocks. One search to rule them all. Also brings the power of Delve and Office Graph onto On-Prem. Is there a unified search index in O365? Did I hear that right?




Keywords# SharePoint Server 2016 Overview

Notes Captured# Randy Williams

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