Microsoft rolled out the IT Preview of SharePoint Server 2016 on Monday, along with the new cloud hybrid search offering for SharePoint 2013 and 2016. The tech giant is gearing its new releases to the realities of enterprise IT, by including features for device responsiveness, simplified and intuitive controls, and hybrid cloud environments.
SharePoint Server 2016 is being built on the same core platform as SharePoint Online, and some of the new features have already been included in SharePoint Online. The release announcement also says that the IT Preview includes “just a fraction” of the final SharePoint 2016 product.
Provisioning capabilities have been improved to perform previously time-consuming tasks simply and efficiently, reducing the need for day-to-day IT management. SharePoint Server 2016 also leverages a heavy investment in HTML5 to deliver a consistent experience across different devices.
There is also a new App Launcher and document libraries have been improved based on SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. Sharing has been simplified, and file size supported for upload has been increased to 10GB. The release makes compliance and data loss prevention easier with In-Place Hold Policy and Document Deletion Centers.
Senior Technical Product Manager for SharePoint Bill Baer called SharePoint Server 2016 “our first ever converged code-base between on-premises and cloud.” For developers, Baer said the main advantage of SharePoint Server 2016 is the “build once, deploy twice” capabilities it delivers.
The cloud hybrid search offering allows SharePoint Server users to search a combined index in Office 365 to deliver unified on-premise and cloud results, although actual Office 365 support doesn’t open until September 7. Hybrid search also works with Delve to allow users to find information, access content, and organize content for sharing.
As Adam Stern of Infinitely Virtual wrote on the WHIR last week, “hybrid cloud” has become so ubiquitous in business functions that its meaning has become dubious. That ubiquity presents a market opportunity for SharePoint, as collaboration software matches with collaboration environments.