SharePoint Server 2016 and Project Server 2016 Release Candidate available

Building on our announcement of SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2 in November, we’re pleased to announce the availability of SharePoint Server 2016 Release Candidate (RC). SharePoint Server 2016 RC is mostly feature complete and represents an important milestone for customers and partners looking to deploy and evaluate SharePoint Server 2016 before general availability in Spring 2016.

Over 5,000 customers have downloaded the SharePoint Server 2016 previews to date, which, through customer feedback, has resulted in a high-quality Release Candidate.

SharePoint Server 2016 is our most reliable, scalable, secure and high-performant server release ever. With built-in Hybrid Cloud capabilities, it is the premier choice for organizations who are looking to take advantage of the latest innovations in Microsoft Cloud offerings while also maintaining critical content or custom applications on-premises. SharePoint Server 2016 will help organizations unlock breakthrough performance and resiliency as well as quickly build solutions and extend data across on-premises and Office 365 with the confidence that their data will be safe and secure.

The SharePoint Server 2016 RC showcases significant value for IT admins, developers and end users.

Enhanced IT—SharePoint Server 2016 provides unprecedented deployment flexibility, whether you’re looking to deploy on-premises, in the cloud or in a hybrid scenario. As business needs and technological advancements converge, IT professionals have a unique opportunity to take advantage of new innovations in their organizations across on-premises and Office 365. To learn more visit hybrid.office.com.

In addition, SharePoint Server 2016 helps provide enhanced data security and compliance by offering simplified configuration and administration for regulatory policies. SharePoint Server 2016 puts IT professionals in a better position to control access to company- and customer-sensitive data by making authorization and audit management more central, flexible and seamless.

Consistent development—Optimize developer productivity with a unified development experience across server and cloud with modern APIs. SharePoint Server 2016 enables a broad ecosystem through a standardized set of APIs and experiences that span on-premises and the cloud.

As a developer, you now have new ways to create contextual solutions that span SharePoint Server 2016 and Office 365 from the web, mobile apps and Office. You have simpler and more robust APIs and tool improvements to make building solutions easier than ever before. And your solutions have the potential to reach a vast number of users across businesses, government organizations and schools, who spend hours every day using Office or Office 365.

Better user productivity—SharePoint Server 2016 provides improved mobile access to content, people and applications along with touch-based experiences across devices and screen sizes. SharePoint Server 2016 also provides simpler and easier to use file storage and document collaboration. And, with seamless Hybrid integration to Office 365, users of SharePoint Server can now take advantage of new and improving productivity experiences like Delve, SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business.

Foundation for the future—In today’s rapidly changing business and technology environment, responding quickly to changing business needs or to user demands can be challenging. Whether you choose to deploy SharePoint Online with Office 365 or SharePoint Server on-premises, you need software that helps you more easily take advantage of new technology or services quickly. We’ve designed SharePoint Server 2016 to position our on-premises customers to take advantage of innovations more quickly whether SharePoint is deployed on-premises, in the cloud or somewhere in between.

In addition to these updates, SharePoint Server 2016 RC also includes the Project Server 2016 RC.

You can download SharePoint Server 2016 RC today via the Microsoft Download Center and share feedback directly with our engineering teams through the SharePoint Server 2016 Forum. We also welcome feature requests and feedback via the SharePoint Server Suggestion Box on UserVoice, @SharePoint on Twitter and in the comments below. We’re eager to hear your feedback and use it as we continue to drive toward our final release in 2016.

Learn more about SharePoint Server 2016 at technet.microsoft.com.

—Bill Baer, senior product manager for the SharePoint team

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can I upgrade SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2 to RC?

A. Yes. Release Candidate is an update to SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2 and can be installed over Beta 2.

Q. When SharePoint 2013 RC was released, there were new versions of InfoPath and SharePoint Designer at the same time. Will SharePoint Server 2016 RC include new versions of those products as well?

A. For the past decade, InfoPath and SharePoint Designer have been at the forefront of Microsoft solutions for professional developers and information workers building lightweight business applications for the enterprise. SharePoint Server 2016 extends our commitment to lightweight business applications.

As we continue to evolve, we recognize the need for a long runway as we augment existing business app offerings with new tools and capabilities. As a result, we’re updating the support timelines in conjunction with SharePoint Server 2016, specifically:

  • SharePoint Server 2016 will include an ongoing capability to host InfoPath Forms Services. InfoPath Forms Services on SharePoint 2016 will be supported for the duration of SharePoint 2016’s support lifecycle.
  • InfoPath Forms Services on Office 365 will continue to be supported.
  • InfoPath 2013 and SharePoint Designer 2013 will be the last versions of those products. SharePoint Designer is not being re-released with SharePoint Server 2016, although we will continue to support custom workflows built with SharePoint Designer and hosted on SharePoint Server 2016 and Office 365. Support for InfoPath 2013 and SharePoint Designer 2013 will match the support lifecycle for SharePoint Server 2016, running until 2026.

Embed video throughout your intranet

A video message that is easy to find and easy to view will be more successful than one buried in the depths of one, two, three clicks away. When you put a company message from the CxO or a status update from a project leader—front and center where employees and team members are—the information and insights will be better targeted, more fully understood and ultimately shared within the right context.

“The capabilities of Office 365 Video represent a tremendous productivity value: it’s not intrusive, and it’s reliable.
It’s a great way to reach large audiences and targeted audiences alike.”

—Jacob Skaggs, SharePoint developer at PulteGroup. Read their full case study.

Within Office 365, it is possible to place videos (embed) in-line and in-context where people work on projects, online and on-premises. You can do this within SharePoint Team Sites, custom company portals, internal blogs, wikis and more. Using the Office 365 Video solution, it is as simple as copy, paste and publish.

Learn more about how to embed a video to your online or on-premises SharePoint Team Site from Office 365 Video.

Let’s dive into three key scenarios where embedding videos improves corporate communications.

Embedding video scenarios

SharePoint Team Sites—SharePoint Team Sites are a place for working together with a group of people. They are great destinations to emphasize your brand and information out to your peers throughout the organization. They are central locations to manage content and information, sharing internally and externally to work in rhythm across the collective group of people you work with. As you continue to share documents, team notes, project timeline information and lists of data—so, too, can you easily place important video communications within the primary experience of a team site.

Embed video throughout your intranet 1

SharePoint Team Site showing an embedded video among an embedded PowerPoint, a document library, a KPI web part, plus navigation to other sites and subsites.

The company portalAn important part of the modern intranet is enabling companies to build their own custom portals and sub-portals (company intranet sites) that support search, custom design and navigation and business solutions on-premises and online. Here, too, it is critical for important, company-wide video messages—like a quarterly earnings report from the CFO—to be accessible; not a link to a video, but right there, playable on the home page where the eyeballs are and the desired action lives.

ContosoHomePortal

An embedded video within a custom portal home page, side-by-side with news and announcements, custom navigation elements and custom design.

Internal blog post—Blog what you want to say and do it in a modern way. That is the mantra of the new authoring canvas within the Office Delve profile experience. And spice up your posts with multimedia elements, including video, like a trip report; it’s easy! And because it’s integrated across Office 365, you can embed videos from the Office 365 Video portal—with inline playback—in seconds.

Embed video throughout your intranet 2

A video embedded within an internal blog post (rendered from a tablet device). Video plays back inline within the post, and can go full screen.

Watch a short video showcasing the Office 365 authoring canvas inside Office Delve, including adding a video within an internal blog post.

Take Office 365 Video beyond the portal

As you begin to embed videos onto team sites, portals and blogs, take advantage of the many ways to share video beyond the Office 365 Video portal and land your message to your intended audience. Share via email; post to Yammer; search and discover with Delve; make videos available on the go, accessible throughout your intranet—where users are active, engaged and ready to consume your information. Embed today, increase your reach and be heard!

If you have an idea for a future Office 365 Video feature, please visit our UserVoice page, submit your feedback and vote items up! Or join in the discussion about Office 365 Video with other organizations and the Microsoft team that builds it.

—Mark Kashman, senior product manager on the Office 365 team

Announcing SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2 and Project Server 2016 Beta 2

“Software innovation, like almost every other kind of innovation, requires the ability to collaborate and share ideas with other people, and to sit down and talk with customers and get their feedback and understand their needs.”  —Bill Gates

SharePoint Server 2016 has been developed applying these principles—listening to our customers’ feedback and understanding their needs.

Today marks an important milestone in the development of SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2. In conjunction with today’s SharePoint release, we’re also making available Project Server 2016 Beta 2.

In this post, I’ll summarize the updates we’ve made in SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2 since the IT Preview. Given where we are in the product cycle, these updates are primarily final touches on existing features, responses to IT Preview customer feedback and improvements to performance and hybrid scenarios. As we continue to drive toward the release of SharePoint Server 2016, we’ll continue to add new capabilities and features.

What’s new in Beta 2 since IT Preview?

SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2 builds upon the infrastructure strengths delivered in IT Preview and introduces new hybrid experiences that enable our customers to take advantage of the possibilities of the cloud.

Profile synchronization with Microsoft Identity Manager

SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2 adds new support and solutions for using Microsoft Identity Manager 2016 to enable rich, bi-directional synchronization and common identity scenarios. Microsoft Identity Manager 2016 simplifies the identity lifecycle management with automated workflows, business rules and easy integration with heterogeneous platforms across the datacenter and cloud to include SharePoint Server 2016.

Data Loss Prevention

Enhanced support for new Data Loss Prevention capabilities is included in SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2.

Extensible Hybrid App Launcher

SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2 adds support to extend the App Launcher to deliver a common access experience across applications and solutions in Office 365 and SharePoint Server 2016. Learn about the Extensible App Launcher and more at the new hybrid resource center.

Profile Redirection

SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2 builds on the strength of next generation hybrid investments enabling the mastering of profiles on-premises or in the cloud. Profile Redirection enables the extension of profiles to Delve About Me and additional Office 365 experiences for select users within an organization.

In addition to these changes, since the IT Preview, Project Server 2016 Beta 2 has introduced CSOM improvements for scale and performance and reduced the gap between object model and the PSI.

Learn more about what’s new in SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2 here. For more information on deploying SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2 and additional product resources see our deployment guide.

Try it out and share your feedback

You can download SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2 today via the Microsoft Download Center and share feedback directly with our engineering teams through the SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview Forum. We also welcome feature requests and feedback via the SharePoint Server Suggestion Box on UserVoice, @SharePoint on Twitter and in the comments below. We’re eager to hear your feedback and use it as we continue to drive towards our final release in 2016.

—Bill Baer, senior technical product manager for the SharePoint team @williambaer

Frequently asked questions

Q. Can I install SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2 in production environments?

A. It is not recommended to install SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2 in production environments.

Q. Can I upgrade SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2 to RTM when released?

A. SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2 cannot be upgraded to RTM.

Q. Can I upgrade from SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview to Beta 2?

A. You will not be able from SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview to Beta 2.

Announcing availability of Office Online Server Preview and the new SCOM Management Pack for SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview

In September 2012, we announced availability of the Office Web Apps Server as a standalone on-premises server, which provided browser-based versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote. In our journey to enable rich viewing and editing experiences through Office in the browser, we’re making available Office Online Server Preview (OOS)—the evolution of Office Web Apps.

OOS brings the features and improvements you experience with cloud-based Office Online to your on-premises solutions. SharePoint 2016 and Exchange 2016 are both designed to work with OOS. Here is an overview of the updates and improvements:

  • Improved co-authoring support
  • Significant additions to authoring features
  • Heavy investments in performance and stability

But one thing that hasn’t changed is the setup and management story for OOS. We have worked hard to make the transition from Office Web Apps Server 2013 to OOS as simple as possible. Also, while you’ll need OOS for SharePoint 2016 and Exchange 2016, OOS is completely backwards compatible with SharePoint 2013.

Get started with the OOS Preview

Get started with OOS Preview today by downloading the .ISO from the Microsoft Download Center. The OOS Preview works with products and services that support WOPI, such as SharePoint Server 2016, Skype for Business and Exchange Server 2016. An OOS farm can provide services to multiple on-premises hosts, and you can scale out the farm as your organization’s needs grow.

SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview Management Pack

In addition, we understand with new technology you need to be able to rationalize issues and respond quickly—to that end we’re also making available a new System Center Management Pack for SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview.

The SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview Management Pack is designed to be used for monitoring events, collecting SharePoint component-specific performance counters in a centralized location, and for raising alerts for operator intervention as necessary.

By detecting, sending alerts and automatically correlating critical events, the Management Pack helps indicate, correct and prevent possible service outages or configuration problems—allowing you to proactively manage SharePoint servers and identify issues before they become critical.

The Management Pack monitors and provides alerts for automatic notification of events indicating service outages, performance degradation and health monitoring.

The System Center Management Pack for SharePoint Server 2016 monitors:

  • SharePoint 2016-related services (Timer, Tracing and Search)
  • SharePoint 2016-related events
  • Internet Information Services-related events (only events emitted from SharePoint Application, not from IIS)
  • Microsoft SQL Server database-related events (only events emitted from SharePoint Application, not from SQL Server)
  • SharePoint 2016 server performance

To run the Management Pack, you need the System Center Operation Manager 2012 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 with Full-Text Search feature.

Try it out and share your feedback

You can download the SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview Management Pack via the Microsoft Download Center and share feedback directly with our engineering teams through the new SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview forum. We also welcome feature requests and feedback via the Systems Center Operations Manager suggestion box on UserVoice, @System_Center on Twitter and in the comments below.

—Bill Baer, senior technical product manager for the SharePoint team

Announcing availability of SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview and cloud hybrid search

Today’s post was written by Bill Baer, senior technical product manager for the SharePoint team.

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” —Walt Disney

In April, we broadly announced our vision, strategy, timeline and investment in three major areas: familiar and intuitive user experiences, cloud-inspired infrastructure with hybrid at the core and robust security and compliance for SharePoint Server 2016.

Today we’re excited to announce availability of both SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview and the new cloud hybrid search preview for SharePoint Server 2013 and 2016. As we continue to develop SharePoint Server 2016, we’re paying close attention to trends in content management, team collaboration, user experiences across devices, and how the cloud can be blended into existing on-premises scenarios in new and compelling ways. We’ve been working hard to get this out to you, and we know you’ve been waiting patiently since we announced that it was coming. This is a long post, but there is a lot of important information, so if you want to jump in and install the preview, I really encourage you to read it completely.

SharePoint 2016 Preview - tilted

What’s new in SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview

SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview provides a first look at a select set of new infrastructure investments that will help define the scope, scale and reliability of SharePoint Server 2016. Since we’re building SharePoint Server 2016 on the same core platform for SharePoint Online, you won’t be surprised to see similarities between the two. SharePoint Server 2016 unlocks new user experiences that are intuitive, yet familiar. For IT professionals, it delivers improved performance and scale with simplified management. And for developers, it offers an opportunity to build for cloud or on-premises.

As we move forward with future preview releases, we’ll continue to add new capabilities that represent our investments in audience and workload capabilities. What we’re sharing today is just a fraction of what will be in SharePoint 2016!

Improved provisioning capabilities

One of the more difficult challenges, beyond deploying software, is managing the IT infrastructure to support it. In many cases, IT investments directly impact the bottom line. SharePoint Server 2016 has been designed to reduce the emphasis on IT and streamline administrative tasks, so IT professionals can concentrate on core competencies and mitigate costs. Tasks that may have taken hours to complete in the past have become simple and efficient processes that allow IT to focus less on day-to-day management and more on innovation.

Improved provisioning capabilities help IT departments and hosting service providers maximize existing infrastructure investments while exploring new services, improved management and higher availability through an improved role-based installation architecture.

Mobile and touch

Making decisions faster and keeping in contact are critical capabilities for increasing effectiveness in any organization. The ability for end users to access information while on the go is now a workplace necessity. In addition to a consistent cross-screen experience, SharePoint Server 2016 provides the latest technologies and standards for mobile push and information synchronization.

You need to be sure your software works on the devices your users prefer. With deep investment in HTML5, SharePoint Server 2016 provides IT professionals and designers with capabilities that enable device-specific targeting of content. This helps ensure that users have access to the information they need, regardless of the screen they choose to access it on.

SharePoint Server 2016 further empowers your workforce by delivering a consistent experience across screens, whether using a browser on the desktop, a mobile device, tablet or slate. Through this rich experience, users can easily transition from one client to another without having to sacrifice feature fidelity.

App Launcher

The App Launcher provides a new navigation experience where all your apps are easily available from the top navigation bar. You can quickly launch your application, browse sites and access your personal files.

New and improved controls

Based on our investments in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Server 2016 document libraries inherit the new, improved control surface for working with files and content, simplifying the user experience for file creation, sharing and management.

Simple and natural sharing

SharePoint Server 2016 improves the sharing experience by making it more natural for users to share sites and files. Just click the Share button at the top right corner of every page, enter the names of people you want to share with, and press Enter. That’s it; you’re done! The people you just shared with will get an email invitation with a link to the site.

SharePoint still uses powerful concepts like permission levels, groups and inheritance to provide this experience, but you don’t have to understand those concepts anymore to accomplish everyday tasks like sharing a site.

Part of sharing is also understanding who can see something. If you want to find out who already has access to a particular site, simply go to the Settings menu in top right corner, click Shared with, and you’ll see the names and pictures of people who have access to the site.

Large file support

The world of collaboration has changed, and text-based files are shifting to modern media, videos, audio and more. SharePoint Server 2016 provides support for uploading files up to 10GB.

Compliance tools

Preventing data loss is non-negotiable, and overexposure to information can have legal and compliance implications. SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview provides a broad array of features and capabilities designed to make certain that sensitive information remains that way, and to ensure that the right people have access to the right information at the right time.

New In-Place Hold Policy and Document Deletion Centers, which allow you to manage time-based, organization-wide in-place hold policies to preserve items in SharePoint and OneDrive for Business for a fixed period of time, in addition to managing policies that can delete documents after a specified period of time.

Learn more about SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview and see many of these updates in action on this week’s Office Mechanics show:

Try it out and share your feedback

You can download SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview today via the Microsoft Download Center and share feedback directly with our engineering teams through the new SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview forum. We also welcome feature requests and feedback via the SharePoint Server suggestion box on UserVoice, @SharePoint on Twitter, and in the comments below. We’re eager to hear your feedback and use it to make SharePoint Server 2016 the best experience for information workers, IT professionals and developers alike!

Cloud hybrid search improving search and discovery

Today we’re also pleased to announce the availability of the new cloud hybrid search preview, which allows customers using SharePoint Server 2013 and Office 365 to retrieve unified search results through a combined search index in Office 365. This new hybrid search solution is also native to SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview.

With this new hybrid configuration, this same experience will also allow customers to leverage the power of Office Graph to discover relevant information in Delve—regardless of where information is stored. You’ll not only be able to get back to all the content you need via Delve, but also discover new information in the new Delve profile experiences and even have the ability to organize content in Boards for easy sharing and access.

Announcing availability of SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview and cloud hybrid search 2

On-premises and Office 365 search results in Office Delve.

Cloud hybrid search offers users the ability to seamlessly discover relevant information across on-premises and Office 365 content. With the cloud hybrid search solution, you index all your crawled content, including on-premises content, in your search index in Office 365. When users query your search index in Office 365, they get unified search results from both on-premises and Office 365 cloud services with combined search relevancy ranking.

Cloud hybrid search provides some key benefits to customers of both SharePoint Server 2013 and early adopters of SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview, such as:

  • The ability to reduce your on-premises search footprint.
  • The option to crawl in-market and legacy versions of SharePoint, such as 2007, 2010 and 2013, without requiring upgrade of those versions.
  • Avoiding the cost of sustaining large indexes, as it’s hosted in Office 365.

The new cloud hybrid search solution is the first step in our new hybrid vision that allows customers to take advantage of new innovation in Office 365.

You can download cloud hybrid search today via the Microsoft Download Center and share feedback directly with our engineering teams through the new cloud hybrid search forum.

To keep up-to-date with all of our hybrid scenarios across Office 365 visit our new hybrid resources center.

As Plato said, “The beginning is the most important part of the work,” and we’re excited to start the journey for the next generation of SharePoint with SharePoint Server 2016.

—Bill Baer @williambaer

Frequently asked questions

Q. Can I install SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview or the cloud hybrid search preview in production environments?

A. It is not recommended to install SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview in production environments.

Q. Can I upgrade SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview to RTM when released?

A. No, SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview cannot be upgraded to RTM.

Q. When can I start using cloud hybrid search?

A. While the cloud hybrid search preview is now available, it will not be available to be configured for use with Office 365 until early September.

Q. What will happen to my indexed content in Office 365 when the cloud hybrid search service is released?

A. The indexed content will remain in the Office 365 index when the cloud hybrid search service is released. You will not need to re-index any on-premises content.

Q. Where can I learn more about cloud hybrid search?

A. To learn more about cloud hybrid search see connect.microsoft.com/office/SelfNomination.

SharePoint Server 2016 update

Today’s post was written by Seth Patton, senior director of product management for the SharePoint team.

In February, we shared our vision on the evolution of SharePoint, outlining our plans for continued cloud innovation with SharePoint in Office 365, and providing a glimpse of the work underway to deliver our next on-premises server release, SharePoint Server 2016.  With Ignite just a few weeks away, we’re getting ready to share more details on the innovation we’re bringing to SharePoint 2016. In the meantime, I wanted to provide an update on release timing and share some of the key enhancements and new capabilities we’re focused on.

Today, we are confirming that SharePoint Server 2016 will become generally available in Q2 2016, with a public beta planned for Q4 2015.  We also want to confirm our commitment to delivering on-premises releases of SharePoint for the foreseeable future. We envision a future where we will continue to have customers who choose a combination of on-premises, cloud and hybrid deployments for many years to come.  We’re excited to start sharing information on our SharePoint investments at Microsoft Ignite, so below I’ve highlighted some of the most relevant sessions to attend if you’re interested in learning more about the road ahead.

As we think about the next version of SharePoint Server, we’re paying close attention to trends in content management, team collaboration, user experiences across devices, and how the cloud can be blended into existing on-premises scenarios in new and compelling ways. In particular we are focused on delivering value to customers as part of their on-premises deployments, while at the same time making it easier to take advantage of cloud innovation thru hybrid deployments of SharePoint Server with Office 365. With that backdrop, SharePoint Server 2016 will deliver enhancements and new capabilities in three major areas:

  • Improved user experiences
  • Cloud-inspired infrastructure
  • Compliance and reporting

SharePoint Server 2016 Update 1

Improved user experiences

Making decisions faster and keeping in contact are critical capabilities for increasing effectiveness in any organization. Users’ ability to access information while on the go is now a workplace necessity. SharePoint Server 2016 will provide improved mobile access to content, people and applications along with touch-based experiences across devices and screen sizes. It will make file storage and document collaboration more people-centric. And it will enable improved user experiences and capabilities derived from innovations in Office 365, available either as part of your on-premises deployment or through a hybrid implementation of SharePoint Server 2016 and Office 365. For example, users will be able to quickly discover contextually relevant information and data that is stored across both on-premises and cloud environments powered by Office Graph and Delve. And, we’re focused on helping you streamline communications with richer integration with Exchange and Yammer, as well as broadening access and management of new types of media thru integration with Office 365 Video as examples.

Learn more about improved user experiences and hybrid investments at Microsoft Ignite:

Implementing Next Generation SharePoint Hybrid Search with the Cloud Search Service Application

MVP Panel: SharePoint On-Premises, Online and Everything in Between

Cloud inspired-infrastructure

SharePoint 2016 is the first on-premises server release representative of our experience running SharePoint at scale in Office 365, bringing our own internal investments to your datacenter that improve performance, reliability and scale as well as enabling true hybrid scenarios that can enrich your existing on-premises investments.

In addition, with an improved, simplified user experience and integration with products such as the next release of Windows Server, the next generation of SQL Server, and Exchange Server 2016, SharePoint Server 2016 will simplify end-user training and support for IT.

Finally, we’re focused on enabling a broad ecosystem of solutions and partners through a standardized set of APIs and experiences that span on-premises and the cloud.

Learn more about how we’re reshaping SharePoint at Microsoft Ignite:

The Evolution of SharePoint:  Overview and Roadmap

What’s New for IT Professionals in SharePoint Server 2016

Compliance and reporting

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) is non-negotiable, and overexposure to information can have legal and compliance implications. SharePoint Server 2016 will provide a broad array of features and capabilities designed to make certain that sensitive information remains protected with investments in DLP, new scenarios to enable data encryption, and compliance tools that span on-premises servers and Office 365 while providing a balance between enabling user self-service and ensuring content usage adheres to corporate policy.

Dive into compliance and reporting with these selected Ignite sessions:

Microsoft SharePoint Data Security and Compliance

End-to-End Data Loss Prevention

Technology Adoption Program (TAP)

If you’re interested in providing feedback on early versions of SharePoint 2016, we invite you to nominate your company for the Technology Adoption Program (TAP). Joining the on-premises TAP provides companies with a number of advantages, such as providing input and feedback for future releases of SharePoint, Project Server, and/or Exchange Server; developing a close relationship with the product teams; and receiving Pre-Release information about SharePoint, Project Server and Exchange.

We look forward to seeing you at Ignite (May 4-8 in Chicago) where we’ll be sharing more details about SharePoint Server 2016, including a sneak-peek at an early version of the product. We’re excited about SharePoint Server 2016 and we’re sure you will be too!

—Seth Patton

World’s largest ‘SharePint’? It will happen ‘all week’ at Microsoft Ignite!

As promised in our blog post on the evolution of SharePoint a few weeks ago, this morning we released the complete list of SharePoint-related sessions that will be offered at Microsoft Ignite in Chicago, IL, May 4-8 2015.  Ignite is the premier Microsoft event for IT pros, and the only one that brings the vast community of people who work with SharePoint every day together with the people at Microsoft who build SharePoint. Be there as we lift the curtain on SharePoint 2016, announce new Office 365 innovations, and share our overall technology vision and strategy. It will be a week of SharePoint and Office 365 community events—like one, giant week-long #SharePint, with SharePoint community experts mingling, presenting, learning, sharing and grabbing a pint or two together.

Deep technical content

At Ignite, we’ll publicly demo SharePoint Server 2016 for the first time. In addition, you’ll have your choice of 50+ breakout sessions dedicated to SharePoint on-premises and online, 24 hands-on-labs—including several new hybrid labs—and two important pre-day training offerings for IT pros and developers. Many of all these offerings will be presented for the first time at Ignite. If you add in SharePoint-related technologies, there will be 130+ sessions to choose from, similar to the breadth of what you would have experienced at the SharePoint Conference of the past. So go deep with leading experts from Microsoft and the community on topics ranging from product overview, best practices, how-tos and deep-dives, to vision and roadmap—all tailored by role, level and specific interests.

Here’s a sampling of SharePoint breakout sessions (links take you to the individual Ignite session page):

Title Speaker Level
The Evolution of SharePoint (Overview and Roadmap) Bill Baer 200
MVP Panel: SharePoint On-Premises, Online and Everything in Between Chris McNulty; Christian Buckley; Dan Holme; Jennifer Mason; Laura Rogers 200
Build Solutions with Office Graph APIs Helge Solheim; Jon Meling 300
I Sync, Therefore I Am – a Deep Dive on OneDrive Sync Capabilities and Roadmap Jason Moore 300
The Social Intranet – Integrate Yammer into Your SharePoint Experience Eric Overfield; Naomi Moneypenny 300
SharePoint 2013 and Azure IaaS: Better Together Brian Alderman 300
Designing and Applying Information Architecture for SharePoint and Office 365 Scott Jamison 300
Transforming Your SharePoint Full Trust Code to the Office App Model Bob German; Chris O’Brien 400
Bose Turns Up the Volume with Microsoft Office 365 Brian Maher, Bose 200
Properly Scale and Deploy Enterprise Search Dan Benson; Paul Summers 300
Customizing NextGen Portals Using the New Video APIs, Doc Types and App Parts Daniel Kogan; Jeremy Kelly 300
What’s New for IT Professionals in SharePoint Server 2016 Bill Baer 200
Troubleshooting Hybrid Configurations and Workloads with SharePoint 2013 and Office 365 Aimme Triplett; Manas  Biswas; Neil Hodgkinson 300

View all SharePoint and related sessions here.

Unrivaled community and networking opportunities

If you’ve been to any of our past conferences, you know the real magic happens with the connections you make onsite—joining the SharePoint runners, ad-hoc syncs during session breaks and afterhours at the big and small parties.

“You start meeting people and making friends, then you find out they have the same problems and issues and you start figuring out how to solve those things. You go to learn about what’s new from Microsoft, and you stay for the community.” – Naomi Moneypenny, Ignite Speaker, and past SharePoint Conference Speaker, @nmoneypenny

We’re hosting six large theaters in the event’s ginormous expo hall to serve as community zones. These provide a platform for community leaders to share their knowledge and experience with attendees, as well as comfortable meeting places for the spontaneous conversations that crop up. The content in these theaters is 100 percent community-driven. You can expect community-run panel discussions, short fire-starter sessions, where you can share an idea with the community and get immediate feedback, and birds of a feather session in which people with similar interests gather for discussion and maybe some of that ‘controlled chaos with clarity’ this community is known for.

“We have this organic community in SharePoint. Being at the event, anyone can just jump in and be part of the conversation.”  – Laura Rogers, SharePoint Conference Alumni, @WonderLaura

Mealtimes and after hours provide a whole new slew of opportunities to network and make connections, from scheduled events including the Welcome Reception Monday night and Attendee Party Thursday night to more informal gatherings including meal-time mashups with seating by topic or geography so every meal at the conference becomes a chance to meet someone with similar interests.

And the legendary SharePint tradition will continue at Ignite with what no doubt will be the biggest SharePint ever. Three cheers to that!

Register today and join us at Ignite!

Ignite

They’re thinking, “Wow, Ignite is the place to be for the best SharePoint training and community.”

Thanks,

The SharePoint Team

How data encryption works in OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online

Have you ever wanted to know how your data in OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Online is stored and protected with the latest encryption technology?

When you store your data in OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Online, it’s safeguarded with the strongest encryption and detection technologies available.

For example, when your data is in transit, it is encrypted as data moves between you and the datacenter and between the server and the datacenter, which uses 2048 bit keys. However, the encryption technology applies not only when the data is moving between servers or datacenters, but also when the data is at rest. When data is at rest there are two types of encryption that are used: Disk encryption and File encryption.

At the disk encryption level, BitLocker is used to secure data and at the file encryption level, every file is secured with its own key that uses Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) with 256-bit keys and is Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 compliant.

For additional information about how encryption works to protect your data, see the article titled, “Data Encryption for OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online.”

Search for sensitive content in SharePoint and OneDrive documents

Wesley Holley is a program manager on the Office 365 team and Shobhit Sahay is the technical product manager on the Office 365 team.

Responsible organizations today use a variety of controls and policies to keep their data safe and secure. These controls become even more crucial if the data involved is sensitive information, which can range from industry-wide data (such as credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, or customer information) to proprietary information (such as patents or confidential documents). Protecting this sensitive data is important because it enables organizations to comply with industry, government, and other regulations.

Office 365 already provides these necessary capabilities for email with Data loss prevention (DLP) in Exchange, Outlook, and OWA, along with a series of built-in sensitive information types that you can use for your searches. We’re pleased to announce that we are taking our first steps for DLP in SharePoint and OneDrive, thereby allowing you to use the same sensitive information types to search documents and sites across your organization.

With this new capability you’ll be able to:

  • Search for sensitive content across SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business.
  • Leverage 51 built-in sensitive information types (credit cards, passport numbers, Social Security numbers, and more).
  • Identify offending documents, export a report, and adjust accordingly.

Let’s take a look at how this new capability can help you.

Search for sensitive content across SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business

DLP for SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business is now built into your existing Enterprise Search. It allows you to search for sensitive content in your existing eDiscovery Center, keeping content in place and enabling you to search in real time.

Display-sensitive-content-in-SharePoint-Online-and-OneDrive-for-Business

 Query search results display sensitive content in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business from the eDiscovery Center in SharePoint Online.

Your compliance officer can enter simple or complex queries and program Search to crawl a variety of sources, including team sites and users’ OneDrive for Business folders. Once the query is run, the results appear under the SharePoint tab, where you can review them in place. You can simply adjust the query, adding indexed properties such as “author” or “date” to fine-tune your results. It is important to note that permission to use the eDiscovery Center is role protected to ensure that the right people—not everyone in your organization—have access to run these queries and review sensitive content.

Leverage 51 built-in sensitive information types

Office 365 provides a wide range of sensitive information types from different industry segments and geographies, such as credit card numbers, Social Security numbers (SSNs), bank account numbers, and other types, many of which you may already be using to search for sensitive content in email. These sensitive information types are detected based on pattern matching and are easy to set up. You will now be able to extend these same sensitive information types to search across SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business by creating simple queries, as shown below.

SensitiveType=”U.S. Social Security Number (SSN)”

To search for U.S. Social Security numbers

SensitiveType=”U.S. Social Security Number (SSN)” OR SensitiveType=”Spain National ID”

To search for U.S. Social Security numbers or Spain National IDs

SensitiveType=”U.S. Social Security Number (SSN)|5..”

To search for five or more U.S. Social Security numbers

Learn more about all 51 built-in sensitive information types.

51 built-in classifications v2You can use one or more of the 51 built-in sensitive information types. Here you see a query using both the Credit Card Number and U.S. Social Security Number (SSN) sensitive information types. 

Identify offending documents, export a report, and adjust accordingly

You will now be able to review possible offending documents inline, in real time—right from the eDiscovery Center. You will also be able to export the list of documents for further review and then take manual actions such as adjust sharing permissions, remove data on shared sites, and more based on your review of the results.

Exporting the results is easy and you can download a copy of the files yourself with a report of the query results. You can save the query and then turn your attention to investigating the query results. Once you have saved the query, you can inspect the documents, check for false positives, and further hone or expand the query if needed. The location of each result is in the report and if you download the copy of the files, it copies the original file structure from SharePoint so all those paths are preserved in the downloaded copy.

 

Hovering on a result to display more about the discovered documents v2Hovering on a result displays more about the discovered, in-place document(s),
which you can then open for further review, or you can export the entire result set.

To sum it all up

Searching for sensitive content in SharePoint and OneDrive is now available worldwide for your use in your Office 365 environment. With this new capability, you can be better informed about what and where sensitive documents exist in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. And having this information will help you work better with content owners to ensure protection of sensitive data.

Later this year we’ll introduce additional capabilities that go beyond simply discovering and reviewing sensitive content. These future capabilities will allow you to create policies that automatically detect sensitive content and apply protection based on your organization’s needs, such as taking actions like deletion of content or quarantine until further reviewed. You’ll also see us unify the entire compliance experience for you across Office 365, providing you with consolidated, built-in security controls at your fingertips. You can find out more about future investments by watching Overview of Compliance in SharePoint Online and Office 365, the SharePoint Conference 2014 session in which we shared these.

To learn more, please read the Use DLP in SharePoint Online to identify sensitive data stored on sites article on TechNet.

 

Thanks,

Wesley and Shobhit

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I’m not seeing any sensitive content for eDiscovery queries. What can I do to change this?

A. Documents need to be scanned before they will show up in query results. Our scan process is built into the SharePoint Online Search crawler, so as you upload or edit documents, they will be scanned or rescanned if a version of the document already exists. This article provides a comprehensive outline of content discovery and search in SharePoint. Many of the topics in the article may be of interest to you, but sections about crawls and managing the search schema may be of particular use for this topic.

Q. Why do my DLP queries have no results in Exchange?

A. We are prioritizing bringing the ability to perform DLP queries on data in SharePoint Online first, based on customer feedback, and will be considering Exchange for future updates.

Q. What are the different files types that can be detected with this capability?

A. You can find a list of the file types that we support in SharePoint here.

Q. Will this scan the OneDrive for Business documents as well?

A. Yes, the eDiscovery Center will get search results from Site Collections and any OneDrive where you have granted it access. This is covered in more depth in our documentation.

Q. Are these features available for on-premises SharePoint releases?

A. While today we are bringing this capability to our SharePoint Online customers, based on customer feedback we will be considering this capability for future SharePoint on-premises releases as well.

Q. What are the future plans for DLP in SharePoint?

A. DLP in SharePoint is an ongoing investment and with this new capability we are laying the stepping stone for more improvements. Later this year we will introduce additional capabilities that go beyond simply discovering and reviewing sensitive content. These new capabilities will allow you to create policies that automatically detect sensitive content and apply protection based on your organization’s needs.

Q. I would like to participate in the early adopters plan for DLP in SharePoint, especially for the features coming up later this year. What can I do to participate?

A. The best way to try the new features in Office 365 is via the Office 365 First Release program. If you would like to get access earlier, please work with your account team to get an even earlier preview and provide your valuable feedback!

Taxonomy Refinement Panel Web Part and faceted navigation now available in SharePoint Online for intranet scenarios

Over the last months we’ve taken many steps towards enabling search-driven publishing for intranet sites in SharePoint Online. We enabled the Content Search Web Part (CSWP), the cross-site publishing feature, and a new group cache that improves the performance of the CSWP.

Now we’ve enabled two features that previously were available only in SharePoint Server 2013—the Taxonomy Refinement Panel Web Part (TRPWP) and faceted navigation.

Introducing the Taxonomy Refinement Panel Web Part

The Taxonomy Refinement Panel Web Part (TRPWP) is similar in both name and functionality to the Refinement Web Part (RWP). With the RWP, visitors can filter content that’s displayed on a page; for example, they can filter to display only items that have the color red. The Taxonomy Refinement Panel Web Part also allows visitors to filter content that’s displayed on a page. But the TRPWP differs from the RWP in two ways: the filters it uses are the categories from the site’s navigation, and it can display category-specific editorial content.

As a site builder, you can use the TRPWP to display content that combines the filtering from a RWP with category-specific editorial content. You can use the TRPWP only on sites that use managed navigation and category pages to display content.

Let’s look at an intranet scenario to see how this works. On the Contoso company’s intranet site, Contoso IT Web, employees can order different IT products.

TRPWP Intranet scenerio

The Contoso IT Web site builders set up the site to show category-specific editorial content on their category pages. By doing this they can fine-tune the information employees need for each category. In the image below you can see that the editorial content displayed on the Laptops page differs from the content displayed on the Tablets page.

Category specific editorial content

The site also has an RWP that employees can use to filter the content that’s displayed on a page. For example, under the category Computers, they can filter to display only red items (#1 in the image below). When Red is selected from the RWP ,the TRPWP shows the subcategories of Computers that have red items (#2 in the image below).

Taxonomy Refinement Panel Web Part

When employees want to further filter content to show only items from one of the subcategories, for example Laptops, the TRPWP will use the category page that is assigned to the managed navigation term Laptops to display content. The TRPWP also “includes” the filter that the user has selected (Red), so the category-specific editorial content and red laptops are displayed.

Laptops

Learn more about how to configure the TRPWP.

Introducing faceted navigation

Faceted navigation allows employees to use category-specific filters to narrow down the content that’s displayed on a page. For example, the filters that are available on the Laptops page (#1 on the image below) are different from the filters that are available on the Printers page (#2 on the image below).

Faceted Navigation

You can use faceted navigation only on sites that use managed navigation and category pages to display content. Even though different filters are shown for different categories, content managers do not have to create and maintain one unique page for each category. Content managers configure and maintain faceted navigation in the term store, and apply this configuration to a RWP on a category page.

Learn more about how to configure faceted navigation.

Availability

The Taxonomy Refinement Panel Web Part and faceted navigation features are available in the Office 365 Enterprise E3 and Office 365 Enterprise E4 plans, as well as Office 365 Government G3 and G4, Office 365 Education A3 and A4, and Office 365 E3 for nonprofits.

NOTE: These features are only available for private site collections.

Frequently asked questions

Q. Are these features available for public sites?

A. These features are available only for private site collections for intranet/extranet portal scenarios.

Q. Do I need to activate any SharePoint features at the tenant, site collection, or site level to use the TRPWP and faceted navigation?

A. No, you don’t have to activate anything. If you don’t see these features in your site right now, they will automatically become available soon.

Your SharePoint 2013 farm in Microsoft Azure is just clicks away

The Azure Preview Portal now supports the automated creation of a basic or high-availability SharePoint farm in Microsoft Azure.

SharePoint Server Farm

You can use your Azure subscription, an Azure trial subscription, or your MSDN subscription to set up your farm.

Setting up a farm in the basic configuration requires three servers: a domain controller, a SQL server, and a SharePoint server.

Setting up a farm in the high-availability configuration involves nine servers: two domain controllers, two SQL servers, a SQL Server quorum server, two SharePoint servers in the application tier, and two SharePoint servers in the front-end web tier.

For either of these two farms, you can specify the settings in just a few clicks, and the Azure Preview Portal does the rest.

Once the farms are built, you can access a basic team site as an Internet web client and use Central Administration to configure additional capabilities. For the details, see SharePoint Server Farm.

To see a step-by-step walkthrough, take a look at Step-by-Step: Deploy a Highly Available SharePoint Server Farm in the Cloud–in ONLY 8 Clicks!

For additional information about Windows Azure and Virtual Machines, see SharePoint on Windows Azure Virtual Machines.

JSON Light support in REST SharePoint API released

The REST SharePoint API has been an extremely popular way for Office 365 developers to work with SharePoint sites, lists/libraries, and list items/documents. One of the big bits of feedback we got from developers using the REST SharePoint API was about the payload of the data that was returned. Our response was to add support for JSON Light. JSON Light is an open standard that allows developers to provide in the header of the request how much metadata is returned. To check out more about JSON Light, head over to the Microsoft OData JSON spec document. You can also check out all the endpoints for the SharePoint REST API over on MSDN.

Before this, when calling the SharePoint REST API, Office 365 developers had to include in the header request : “accept: application/json; odata=verbose”. This header is now optional, and more OData options have been added. If you don’t require all of the metadata for your business solution, you can significantly reduce the payload of your calls by using one of these other options. Take a look at this set of OData examples based on a common scenario of requesting a set of list items from a list and the associated response size.

Option 1: verbose

“accept: application/json; odata=verbose” 46,647 bytes

Option 1 verbose

 

Option 2: minimalmetadata

“accept: application/json; odata=minimalmetadata” 11,173 bytes

Option 2 minimalmetadata

 

Option 3: nometadata

“accept: application/json; odata=nometadata” 6,832 bytes

The nometadata option reduces the size of the payload significantly, and for many scenarios this is all that you need when working with list items, for example.

Option 3 nometadata

Option 4: Don’t provide it

“accept: application/json” 11,173 bytes

You are no longer required to provide the OData property in the request header, unless you would like to specify one of the values above. This defaults to minimalmetadata option.

Now, with  support for JSON Light, you can choose the OData option you need for specific tasks and get an appropriately sized payload.

Using the SharePoint APIs with the Office 365 APIs Preview

You can use the SharePoint APIs in conjunction with the Office 365 API Preview by using the Azure Active Directory auth bearer token. This means that you can use the common consent framework authentication approach in standalone web and mobile device applications to take advantage of all the existing SharePoint APIs you know alongside the new Files OData API that shipped in the Preview.

 

If you have more feedback on the REST API or other Office 365 Developer platform experiences, please submit your feedback on UserVoice.