SharePoint 2016: Patchwork Perfection?

The build up to the Release-to-Manufacturing (RTM) SharePoint 2016 is starting to seem reminiscent of the build up to the arrival of The Beatles in America back on February 7, 1964. “SharePoint 2016 is coming!” is the cry at large in the tech community. “We haven’t a clue when, but it’s coming!”

But it’s possible to say that the Fab Four in this case are named: Hype, Hybrid, Hit and Myth.

According to the usually on-the-money CMS Wire, the big day is March 14 (“Maybe”), hand-in-hand with Office Online Server (OOS). Their source is a tweet a Microsoft Program Manager, with no official confirmation, other than a statement that the SharePoint Server 2016 release is “on track.”

The marrying of dates between SharePoint 2016 and OOS does makes sense when considering that Microsoft MVP Vlad Catrinescu apparently suggested that hybrid SharePoint® deployments will require OOS to support various features of SharePoint 2016.

On top of that, a keynote given at this year’s SPTechCon in Austin, Texas, Senior Director of Product Management for Microsoft and OneDrive, Seth Patton, and Senior Product Marketing Manager for SharePoint and Office 365, Chris McNulty, promised an ongoing commitment to on-premises, but one that was described as “hybrid at the core.”

So, does all this amount to various clues carefully collected the SharePoint faithful, or strategically sprinkled crumbs designed to build expectation and get people talking? If the latter is true, it’s certainly working. Expectations are sky high and everybody is talking. SharePoint 2016 is already a hit.

The facts ought to be more straightforward, but even they leave tantalizing questions about SharePoint 2016. SharePoint expert and author Todd Klindt was quick to point out that SharePoint 2016 Release Candidate (Released 20 January), is just a patch away from the earlier beta 2 release. Microsoft’s Bill Baer has talked often about how patching will get better in SharePoint 2016, but this is now in evidence.

Baer’s words are backed up the fact of a simple patch – a small download of Release Candidate for those who have beta 2 – rather than a wipe and reinstall. Is this a sign of things to come? Well, it was promised and it was delivered in advance, in full working order, so it’s probably time to take that one to the bank.

Hybrid enthusiasts (with hybrid search configured), can also look forward to being able to index one million items for every 1TB of hybrid storage they use and search legacy versions of SharePoint without having to upgrade those versions. Nice.

So how much is true and how much is rumor, speculation, or misinterpretation? Only time will tell.

And, happily, there isn’t much time left to wait. If you believe the hype.

Coming soon on Bamboo Nation: SharePoint 2016: With Great Power Comes Great Sensitivity.

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