Understanding SharePoint 2016

By | October 12, 2016

I recently attended SharePoint Training Core Solutions of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013. However, SharePoint 2016 is already out, meaning I need to get my hands on it!

SharePoint Server 2016 has been designed, developed, and tested with the Microsoft Software as a Service (SaaS) strategy at its core.

SharePoint is a robust and complex product. In my opinion, Microsoft has made it even more complex by having multiple products that use the SharePoint name. There have been various versions of SharePoint since SharePoint 2000, but in SharePoint 2016, we say goodbye to one of the SharePoint products and welcome some others. Let’s get the goodbye out of the way first. SharePoint Foundation included, for free, really were paying for as part of the licensing with Microsoft Windows Server was the most widely distributed version of SharePoint.

SharePoint Foundation has been discontinued with the 2016 SharePoint releases, so there is no SharePoint Foundation 2016. It’s easiest to think of the SharePoint Server products as a single, integrated platform that can be hosted in two different locations, and it has two broad levels of capabilities. SharePoint Server 2016 is the On premises version of SharePoint Server. It’s installed on your organization’s servers whether those are physical blades in a server room, or virtual servers like the one that I’m using for this course.

And there are two versions of SharePoint Server, Standard and Enterprise. SharePoint Server 2016 Standard includes the core capabilities of SharePoint, creating sites, having collaborative community, sharing content, content management, search, and so on. SharePoint Server 2016 Enterprise includes all of these and more, advanced search, business solutions, business intelligence, services that extend the capabilities of SharePoint. SharePoint Server Enterprise also costs more per user than SharePoint Server Standard, no surprise there.

SharePoint Online is the Microsoft hosted version of SharePoint. Organizations can purchase SharePoint Online with an Office 365 plan, or by itself. While the SharePoint Online and Office 365 plans aren’t called Standard and Enterprise, they actually are all some version of Enterprise. Nevertheless, the SharePoint Online package choices mirror the SharePoint On premises choices. The most expensive plans, the Enterprise plans, include the most features.

However, there are some amazing features like delve and video portals that are only available in SharePoint Online, they are not available on the On premises only version. So we have SharePoint Server 2016 Standard, SharePoint Server 2016 Enterprise, SharePoint Online in several different plans or flavors, and then one more item, SharePoint Designer. And there’s is no new 2016 version of SharePoint Designer, we’re using SharePoint Designer 2013, part of the Office family.

SharePoint Designer is installed on your local machine and it’s used to customize SharePoint, to create and customize sites, to work with forms, to build workflows, to brand SharePoint sites, and to create those composites that we saw in the earlier slide. The world is more complex than this simple table. A growing number of organizations are running SharePoint in a hybrid environment, which means they’re using both an On premises version of SharePoint Server, and SharePoint Online.

SharePoint 2016 was designed for this mixed environment and there’s increased support for hybridization being added on a regular basis. The new features that you’ll see in SharePoint 2016 On premises, Standard, and Enterprise, were developed and tested in SharePoint online across the last year or so. SharePoint Server 2016 really was born in the cloud. Microsoft is committed to future versions of SharePoint Server On premises, but SharePoint Online will continue to evolve with new features added on a regular basis, while SharePoint On premises will be modified as On premises software has been modified in the past, through patches and service packs.

So if you want to see the newest features of SharePoint, and what’s likely to be included in the next release of SharePoint Server On premises products, you would look at the Enterprise versions of SharePoint.