SharePoint 2016 RTM has officially released and it is for important for us to understand the why customers’ needs to move to SharePoint 2016. If they decided, what are the option and tools available with us to upgrade to SharePoint 2016 and the challenges and best practices to be followed.

Why SharePoint 2016?

Share Point Foundation for the future

In SharePoint 2016, Microsoft focused on infrastructure improvements and manageability updates to create foundation for the future. This means us that, all the best practices followed in office 365, has been integrated to SP 2016. And also, now Microsoft has single code base for both SharePoint 2016 and Office 365. If any new innovations or new features are added to Office 365, it would be easy for the team to add it to SharePoint On-premise environment.

Hybrid Unified Experience

If customer has both SharePoint On-premise and Office 365, then hybrid features helps customers to have a unified user experience. Once administrator, configure the Office 365 URL, the same user experience available in SharePoint on-premise environment.

Upgradepath_1

Hybrid Sites features – allows your users to have an integrated experience while using SharePoint Server and SharePoint Online sites

Hybrid OneDrive for BusinessUsers can sync files with Office 365 and share them with others

Cloud hybrid search – Crawl, index and search all content from one place including on-premise content (SP 2007, SP 2010, and SP 2013)

Microsoft SharePoint Insights (Preview)

A new hybrid feature that is currently in progress for SharePoint 2016. Microsoft SharePoint Insights aims at helping SharePoint administrators manage their infrastructure more efficiently.

With SharePoint Insights, Office 365 reports are generated using your SharePoint 2016 on-premise diagnostic and usage logs.

Simplifying the Installation and Configuration

MinRole feature in SharePoint Server 2016 helps an administrator select the right server role for a specific server when provisioning SharePoint Server 2016. Read more from my blog.

SharePoint Framework – Open and Connected Platform

Many customers started to adopt a client side development model over the last two years either they use SharePoint App Model or injecting the JS in the page to get the desired customization.

Now Microsoft comes up with a new Framework, to help developers to solve the challenges they are facing today. With SharePoint Framework, Microsoft have a structured approach to modern app development, end-to-end that’s not dependent on .NET.

Upgradepath_2

Other considerable improvements

  1. Patching Improvements – Patches will down to 4 MSIs in a single patch.
  2. Suite Navigation – Suite Navigation is themable now.
  3. Content Database Sizing in TB’s. In previous release the recommendation was 200GB.
  4. Maximum File size is increased to 10 GB.
  5. 100,000 site collections per content database.
  6. List view threshold is greater than 5000 items. Now, index will be created automatically in List items.
  7. SharePoint Search – Search scaled to 500 million items per search index.
  8. Compliance features with complex rules (51 out of the box) to support identification and protection of sensitive data
  9. Fast Site creation based on copying a master template Site Collection from the database level using “SPSite.Copy” function. Read more from my another blog.
  10. Files shared via “Durable Links” will reference a site ID and document ID, so renamed or moved files will not result in broken links

Upgrade to SharePoint 2016

As similar to earlier version, Microsoft provide a native upgrade option with SharePoint 2016. To upgrade from SP 2013 to SP 2016 is a direct way of upgrading the site. The only pre-requisite is all the database must be upgraded to version 15.0.4481.1005

The upgrade stage is as follows.

Upgradepath_3

Stage 1: Create a new SharePoint Farm using MinRole.

Stage 2: Copy the SP 2013 Databases to new Farm.

Stage 3: Upgrade the Service applications

Stage 4: In this stage, there are two steps required.

  1. Copy all the new customization to the new farm.
  2. Upgrade the database                                                           Upgradepath_4

SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2016.

Upgrading the content from SP 2010 is a two-step process. Move the content to SP 2013 and from there move to SP 2016.

Upgradepath_5

Note: There are some customers in SharePoint 2007. Moving the content to SP 2016 is a three step process. First the content has to move in this way. SP 2007 à SP 2010 à SP 2013 à SP 2016.

Consideration for Specific services

  1. Excel Services à Excel services is deprecated. This services has moved to Office online.
  2. Search à Search architecture has changed from SP 2010 to SP 2013/2016. So generally, I will go with reconfigure the entire search farm.

Best Practices for Upgrade

  1. Do the full analysis of the content. There may be an unused content and sites.
  2. Clean up the environment before upgrade.
  3. Setup the test environment with similar to the existing environment.
  4. Do the trial migration with the real data, even if it is big.
  5. Run the multiple iteration of the upgrade and automate the remediation issues.
  6. Don’t ignore errors and warnings.
  7. Optimize your environment before upgrade
  8. During the upgrade process in production, set the source database as read only.