SharePoint 2016 – Is It Right For You?

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puzzle

Ever since the announcement of SharePoint 2016 release at Microsoft Ignite there has been a steady flow about the new features on the Office Blogs.

Taking a realistic view of our customer base, more than half are still running SharePoint 2010 or earlier. Should they upgrade to SharePoint 2016 or not? Unfortunately, this question can be best answered with “it depends”. If you have ever been part of a SharePoint upgrade process, you know it’s not without hurdles, and undertaking an upgrade project should be based on both business and technical needs.

From an investment perspective
The majority of changes in SharePoint 2016 over SharePoint 2013 has been made mostly under the hood. Basically lessons learned from running SharePoint on-line brought down to on-premises. If you patch your SharePoint 2013 often, then you know that coordinating outage schedules from business users to IT resources can be a challenge. From an end-user functionality level, bringing the Data Loss Prevention (DLP) feature from Office 365 to on-premises, a new responsive design, and the release of SharePoint mobile apps may be enough reasons to consider upgrading, but for others maybe not.

What are the improved features?
If you want a closer look at what’s new in SharePoint 2016, Microsoft summarized them here. Keep in mind that Microsoft has no plans on releasing new versions of InfoPath or SharePoint Designer; so you’re “stuck” with using the 2013 versions of these two products.

Take your time
Test out the new features first, document the gotchas, specifically if you have customizations or complex solutions. Before deciding on upgrading to SharePoint 2016 you should also consider if moving to Office 365 or SharePoint on-line might be a better option.

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Upgrade from SP2010 to SP2016RTM – Not Possible

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Back in March 2015, we all thought there was a possibility to upgrade directly from SP2010 to SP2016 according to this tweet.

SkipVersion

Well, I waited until I had a chance to build out SP2016RTM.  I was eager to test it out.

Unfortunately, it was a no-go.

2010-2016Failed

😦

 

Upgrade SharePoint 2016 from Beta 2 to Release Candidate (RC)

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The process of upgrading from SharePoint 2016 Beta 2 to Release Candiate (RC) was pretty straight forward.

I started with my existing SP2016 VM that I already had Beta 2 installed and configured.  My VM is a single server farm with no language packs running on Windows Server 2012 R2 and SQL Server 2014.

The version of SP2016 on my VM before the upgrade was 16.0.1406.1001. You can download SP2016 Beta 2 here.

I downloaded the following two zip packages:

SharePoint Server 2016 Release Candidate English Prerequisite Installer.zip and SharePoint Server 2016 Release Candidate Global Patch.zip from here.

After I extracted the two zip files, I started with the PrerequisiteInstaller.exe.  I only had to reboot my server once for the .NET Framework 4.6 to complete its installation.

After the prerequisites installation process completed, I installed the sts.msp from the Global Patch zip file.

What I found interesting was the pop up window indicating that this file is from an Unknown Publisher.

RCPublisher

After the patch was installed, it prompted for a reboot.

RCRestart

After the server rebooted, I checked to see what the new version would be.

RCUpgradeRequired

Of course, it’s the same as it was before as I had yet to run the PSConfig.

After the PSConfig completed, the new version is now 16.0.4327.1000

RCUpgraded

Now, I’m ready to perform my next task – upgrade SP2013 databases.

 

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