Wait for Great – SharePoint 2016 Is Coming

Chris McNulty

by Chris McNulty on 4/17/2015

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Date Revised:

Applies to:
SharePoint Server 2016

By now, I hope most of you have seen Microsoft’s blog post finalizing the release schedule for SharePoint 2016.

Microsoft made major strategic investments in three directions:

  • Innovative user experiences.
  • Cloud-driven accelerations and optimization to the core on premises infrastructure
  • People-centric compliance

  The sticker of the ninja cat on the fire breathing unicorn is very popular in the Microsoft community.

My new favorite Microsoft logo – the Ninja Unicorn

When can we expect this? Microsoft is committed to a Q2 2016 release with a beta in Q4 2015. Let’s cut to the chase: Many of you may have focused on changes to the release date, targeted for the 2nd quarter of 2016. I think it’s more important to focus on the quality of the release than the timing.

Since Microsoft acquired Yammer, they’ve adopted its more agile deployment methodology. Once a feature is ready, it can be released. However, on premises is not the cloud, and most IT pros couldn’t adopt continuous releases on a feature by feature basis even if they were released separately.

As a Microsoft MVP and participant in many Microsoft product stakeholder meetings, I get to peek “behind the Red(mond) curtain” from time to time. Could Microsoft repackage something, release it in the next month and just call it SharePoint 2016?

Of course – but that’s not a good result. The goal is the highest quality release. If we look at the rest of Microsoft releases across the stack, one trend becomes clear. Microsoft is positioning Windows Server, in part, as they way to seamlessly blend hosted private cloud-like services in local data centers alongside services sourced from Azure. SharePoint, too, is being retooled to deliver more seamless hybrid services. Remember the “on-ramp” for Yammer and OneDrive in SharePoint 2013 SP1? (It lets you redirect social and personal files to the cloud from an on-premises farm.) I hope to see more of the same from all of Microsoft’s next gen portal features in Office 365. I care a lot more about the depth of functionality on premises than whether or not Lync Server ships the same day. Release when ready is a cloud mantra, and it’s equally applicable here.

What excites me the most about SharePoint 2016? Probably knowing that Microsoft has learned more from operating SharePoint in the cloud for thousands of users than they have from all prior years of relying on user feedback alone. Just for scaling and performance, I can’t wait to bring all of that learning into the on-premises platform.

Because Server. :-)

In the cloud, when a feature is ready we release it. For SharePoint, I’d rather wait till all of the things that justify a new release are ready. Then and only then should Microsoft put out a new version. Release for release’s sake is a disappointment. A commitment to quality is a commitment to the platform. I can’t wait for 2016!

Topic: Administration and Infrastructure

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