Microsoft promised! Microsoft delivered!
During the launch of SharePoint Server 2016, Microsoft said you no longer are going to have to wait for the next major release of SharePoint to obtain new features and functionality introduced in SharePoint Online.
Guess what? They followed through by releasing SharePoint Server 2016 Feature Pack 1 in early November 2016. A feature pack is similar to a CU, or Cumulative Update, in the sense it includes all previous updates for SharePoint Server 2016, which means you don’t have to install them before you install Feature Pack 1. But a Feature Pack also includes the new features and functionality that have been deployed and tested in SharePoint Online.
As you know SharePoint Server 2016 on-premises is the first Microsoft product that was ‘born’ in Office 365 and then re-born as an on-premises application. Microsoft is constantly updating Office 365’s SharePoint Online, and will be periodically releasing the SharePoint Online updates as Feature Packs for SharePoint 2016 On-Premises. SharePoint Server 2016 Feature Pack 1 is the first release.
Feature Pack 1 of SharePoint Server 2016 includes several new features, extended support for hybrid scenarios, as well as developer requests. The primary components of Feature Pack 1 include:
- Administrative actions logging for common SharePoint administrative actions
- MinRole enhancements to support small and medium-sized farms
- OneDrive for Business modern experience
- Custom tiles in the SharePoint app launcher
- SharePoint hybrid auditing unified across site collections on-premises and in Office 365
- Hybrid taxonomy unified across on-premises and Office 365
- OneDrive API for SharePoint on-premises
Let’s take a deeper dive into what Feature Pack 1 has to offer:
Administrative actions logging: assists administrators in troubleshooting, by adding logging around key SharePoint admin actions, whether they are performed from within Central Administration, or using PowerShell.
MinRole enhancements: Provides two new server roles that are optimized for small and medium-sized farms: Front-end with Distributed Cache and Application with Search, allowing you to deploy a SharePoint 2016 farm with just two servers, or a SharePoint 2016 high availability (HA) farm with just four servers.
OneDrive for Business modern experience: makes it easier to organize your files, with easy selection and drag-and-drop functionality. OneDrive also has a new intuitive look and feel, with simpler navigation, and easy-to-access actions like edit, share, and upload which are all accomplished with one click or touch.
OneDrive API: Provides a set of HTTP services that can be used to easily connect your application to files and folders in OneDrive Personal, OneDrive for Business, as well as document libraries in SharePoint Online.
Customizable App Launcher: Allows you to add your own custom tiles to the App Launcher that point to SharePoint sites, external sites, legacy apps, and other resources, saving you time and allowing you to be more productive.
SharePoint Hybrid Scenarios: Support now exists for both auditing, and taxonomy hybrid scenarios. The Auditing hybrid scenario is managed through SharePoint Insights, where you can access reports and dashboards in Office 365 that are generated from SharePoint on-premises diagnostic and usage logs. The new Taxonomy hybrid scenario allows customers to integrate their taxonomy store with Office 365, providing a central location for creating and managing Terms, Term Sets, and Groups using a single Managed Metadata Service application.
This promise and delivery by Microsoft is a great indication that Microsoft is listening, and delivering on their promise to keep your on-premises SharePoint Server 2016 deployments updated with new features and functionality that normally would only be found in SharePoint Online.
It’s great to see that Microsoft is listening, promising, and delivering!