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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Notes from Microsoft Ignite
What's New for IT Professionals in SharePoint Server 2016

Microsoft Ignite is proving to be an exciting conference with new technologies and announcements about how Microsoft is evolving their technology stack to help us collaborate in new and better ways. I'm at the conference attending sessions on security, data protection, migration and other topics and want to share my notes so that they may be a resource to others as well.

Presented: Wednesday May 6, 2015
Presenters: Bill Baer

Management Perspective

  • Converged Code Base - took a point in time snapshot of SharePoint Online build and made that their SharePoint 2016 offering
  • Requires Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 10 at minimum
  • Requires Windows SQL Server 2014 minimum
  • SharePoint will continue to be supported App Fabric, regardless of end of support by other teams
  • Installation change - standalone installs no longer support built in database engine; must install database separately
  • Upgrade from SharePoint 2010 requires double hop: upgrade to SP 2013 and then upgrade to SP 2016 - no direct upgrade from SP2010 to SP2016
  • Going forward, SharePoint 2013 is the genesis block for all future versions
  • Effective parity from a schema perspective
  • Service app architecture is not changing from SharePoint 2013
    • Many of same services are available
  • Service that did not exist in SPO (ex. performance point services) were back-ported to SP 2016
  • Any site collections in SP 2013 that are running in SP 2010 mode, must first be upgraded to SP 2013 mode
  • Migration processes
    • Can do a database attach upgrade
    • Can do data migration as usual
  • SP 2016 normalizes authentication on OAuth and SAML with WSFed - SAML authentication is a first class citizen
    • Only 1 authentication provider exists now - authentication is now cloud ready
    • Has BI implications because in past rest of stack did not support CBA
  • What about Windows identity over SAML claims - still supported
    • Older identity models are supported
    • Moving forward they are moving away from domain authentication
  • SMTP connection encryption supported - not relegated to only port 25
    • There is no fall back if encryption fails or is not available
    • Configurable through central admin

Performance and Reliability

- Roles in SP 2013 were defined primarily by documentation (all binaries laid down and deployed; defined the role by enabling services and creating service applications)
  • Distributed Cache and Request Management
  • Web Servers
  • Batch Processing - crawl, machine translation, excel services, etc...
  • Specialized - Excel calculation, performance point, project, search, foundation web application

- In SP 2016 have 3 distinct roles to isolate requests to a single machine as opposed to have 1 request traverse a topology
  • User Services (any request initiated by an end user is processed by that user services role - sync client, OneNote, user profile, page rendering, excel services, sandbox code, project, subscription settings
  • Robot Services (any request not initiated by an end user) - provisioning, timer jobs, search
  • Caching Services - distributed cache

DEMO: Min Role Provisioning by Product Configuration Wizard

- Remember Single Server Farm does not support SQL Server Express or MSDE - you must install your own full version of SQL server (standard, enterprise, developer or data center editions)

- In SP 2016 Product Config Wizard select from:
  • Web Front End
  • Application
  • Specialized Load - use this to go old school, as specified in SharePoint 2013
  • Distributed Cache

- If you want a server to serve more than 1 role you must specify Specialized Role

- Can use PS Config through PowerShell or command line
  • Specify IsLocalServer Role parameter when using PowerShell or automating the install
  • Use same PSConfig or PowerShell commands as in SP 2013

- SharePoint Health Analyzer will validate each role
  • built to scan each server in the farm daily
  • Scans all roles except special load - special load does not participate in any of the rules built for min role topology
  • Compares service instances on server to expected configuration

- Goal: make SharePoint easier to operate and be able to scale SharePoint
  • With Min Role Topology can scale environment on a unit basis

- Look and feel of central admin remains mostly the same

- Servers in Farm
  • New columns - In Compliance
  • code that checks which services are running on a server role compared to what is expected
  • Provided a FIX button that will resolve any out of compliance issues if desired

- Patching
  • Minimizing the size/footprint of a patch
  • Reducing MSIs and MSPs down to 2, plus 1 per language patch (was previously 37 MSIs and MSPs plus 18 per language patch)
  • Patches will execute faster and be smaller, and will deploy with zero downtime
    • In place, online, installation - can do now without stopping/starting services
  • Designed to help Microsoft maintain a 3-9s SLA
  • Entropy - the number of different ways a customer has configured the system (some services turned on and others off)
    • Microsoft tests a patch against all the different services, but they cannot test against every possible combination of services (on and off)
    • By reducing the number of patches they reduce entropy
  • Atrophy - the wasting away of systems
    • Now we don't have patches that are wasting away as part of the installation itself

- Distributed Cache - can move up to supporting 4x9s
  • Introduced feature to resolve NTLM authentication issue with authentication to the distributed cache cluster
  • This previously caused much of the downtime in a system
  • Under high load the system would be unresponsive due to the number of authentications against AD

- Boundaries and Limits
  • Content DBs - sizing into TBs
  • Site collections - 100K site collections per content DB
  • List threshold - increased well above > 5000
  • Max file size increases to 10 GB and removed character restrictions
  • Indexed items - 2x increase in search scale to 500 million items

- Files Performance
  • Moving away from file sync over soap over http
  • Using new BITS protocol - accommodating large file size

- Fast Site Creation
  • New logic
  • Improves site collection creation performance - copies site collections using SPSite.Copy and Content DB level
  • Traditionally site creation is a heavy operation
  • Implements master copies of site collections - will be a template within the database
    • So going forward, a site collection creation operation will simply be an SPSite copy command into the database and don’t need to do any site feature activation
  • Mitigates feature activation overhead

- Traffic Management (in progress now)
  • Platform resiliency - improves reliability to allow 4x9s availability
  • New end point running on web servers
  • New end point on front ends - establishes affinity between web servers and load balancers
  • Isolates requests and provides intelligent routing based on variables (health, services, etc.)
  • Provable health remotely verifies health, can initialize remediation and provide services for conditional access scenarios

- User Profile Service - no longer building in FIM
  • Improved bidirectional sync
  • Removed built in FIM service
  • Supports external FIM service
  • Unidirectional sync provided through native AD sync

- Project Server
  • Consolidating database into content DB

- Durable links
  • Resource ID based on URLs - URL remains intact with rename and move - enables discrete URL on visibility
  • Moving and renaming files does not break links

- Operations/Real Time Telemetry
  • Advanced data analysis and reporting
  • Real user monitoring
    • Services
    • Actions
    • Usage
    • Engagement
    • Diagnostics
  • Examples of how Microsoft does it - give us an indication of what to expect
    • Storage utilization - provides growth trends and help plan for future storage
    • Storage by site template - which site templates are resonating with users
    • Ex. personal sites might be used more than team sites - can help me from an adoption perspective - look at these as adoption metrics
    • Perhaps you want to retire some features if they are not being utilized

- Open document format - ODF
  • Allows creating new files in DOC library and saving as ODFs

- Compliance
  • Classification IDs - a discrete representation of a piece of IP
    • Ex. have a Credit Card classification ID - in addition to matching a regular expression they are also looking for corroborating information like expiration ID
    • Will have 51 expiration IDs
  • Compliance across cloud and on premise
  • Identify, monitor and protect sensitive data through deep content analysis
  • Discover and preserve with eDiscovery
  • Investigate and prove with auditing
  • Unified compliance center in Office 365
  • Hybrid investments allows you to leverage the compliance center and online features for on-premise content in hybrid scenarios
    • Services like item level encryption/RMS, compliance center...

DEMO: Delve supports both online and on premise content with the unified index in hybrid scenarios

- Extranet
  • Site publishing
  • Publish internal sites to internet
  • Leverages O365 identity federation services

- Team Sites - hybrid team sites

- Hybrid deployment automation - Scenario Picker
  • Enables scenario selection - search, one drive for business
  • Automated configuration and prerequisites and core infrastructure
  • UI based configuration


SharePoint 2016 is a comprehensive solution for connected information work that preserves structure processes, compliance, IT investment optimized for the way people work through an easily managed and integrated platform.

You can watch the entire presentation here:


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