Posts Tagged ‘Office 365’

#O365 #SharePoint Online–Information Rights Management #IRM–what works, what doesn’t in a business context-Part 5

October 3, 2015 Leave a comment

This article is part of a series:

In the first article of this series we discussed what IRM was, some scenarios and high level device supportability.

Part 1:

In the second article we covered file type support.

Part 2:

In the third article we covered file type support in detail as well as the document library experience.

Part 3:

In the fourth article we covered IRM permissions in comparison with SharePoint permissions.


Ok, next up is the client experience.  We all work in a connected world with multiple devices from mobile to desktop to web.

Let’s take a look at the experience people get across the various devices.  The devices I shall be looking at are:

  • Windows
  • Mac OSX
  • iOS – iPhone
  • iOS – iPad
  • Android
  • Windows Mobile
  • Web

For this test, I have a Word document which had its IRM rights applied last week with an expiry set to 1 day.

This is an example of the settings I am using against my list:


So without further ado:

Windows – Microsoft Word 2016

As per Word 2013 on windows, Word 2016 asks you to login to your work account to proceed.


Windows – Microsoft Word 2013

As we showed in earlier posts – expired content asks for it to be re-authenticated when off the network where the document came from.


Interestingly, if you are already on the same network, it re-authenticates in the background and it just opens the document.

Windows – Microsoft Word – Universal App

Now that we have Windows 10 upon us and the new rules around the Microsoft Office Mobile Apps being free (screens 10.1” or under), this feels likes a perfect opportunity to try this out on my HP Stream 7 running Windows 10 with the Microsoft Word Universal App.

As you can see, it recognizes the file and is prompting for the credentials to open the file!  Editing is not supported yet, but with the appropriate credentials it can call home and you can view the content.


Windows – Word Pad

The hacker in me likes to try other, non-standard avenues… WordPad doesn’t know what to do with the document…


Windows – Open Office

OpenOffice (Apache Foundation – 4.1.1 – latest) doesn’t know what to do either.  It doesn’t recognize the file format.


Windows – Libre Office

Libre Office, also based on Open Office, opens the file and it appears corrupted.  You cannot tell any of the original contents.


Mac OSX – Microsoft Word 2016

With the 2016 revision you can see it fully recognizes the file format and gives the ability to login with your work account!


Mac OSX – Word 2013

In Word 2013 on the Apple Mac, we can see that the document is protected but we do not have the ability to open with our work account.


iOS iPhone – Microsoft Word

Word on the iPhone supports IRM protection and in this scenario, I was off the network using my non-company account.

As you can see, it tries to load, tells me there’s a problem and states that it is under rights management.  Exactly the experience you would hope for from the Microsoft suite of applications.

I suspect a future release will expand on this area.

IMG_1685 IMG_1686 IMG_1687

iOS iPhone – Documents Free (Mobile Office Suite)

No support for IRM on a free MS Word alternative on the App Store.  Further proving that the protection is in the file as expected!


iOS iPad – Microsoft Word

As per the iPhone app, we get the same experience.  In a future release I suspect we will see a more expansive feature set when it comes to IRM.


iOS iPad – Documents Free (Mobile Office Suite)

No support for IRM on a free MS Word alternative on the App Store.  Further proving that the protection is in the file as expected!


Android – Microsoft Word

As you can see, the Android version of Office also supports IRM in terms of detection, but not in terms of opening or editing.  I suspect this will appear in a future release.


Windows Mobile 8.1 – Microsoft Word

As we can see, Word on Windows Mobile as expected doesn’t open the protected file, but rather than recognizing that it is protected with IRM, we get this…


Web – Office Online – Microsoft Word

Office Online understands that it is protected by IRM and stops access.


Interestingly however you cannot edit IRM protected documents online, which means you have to use the desktop application to update the documents.

You get a clue when you try to preview the document from within the library:


Then when you open it in Word Online, you have no option to edit:


From a usability point of view, I will be recommending to my users to always ensure that this setting is enabled to avoid confusion:


This will stop the preview of the document showing and it will only open in Microsoft Word

Web – Google Docs

We just get an unknown error from Google Docs…



So there you have it.  Although this doesn’t consider all applications, it covers most common and some uncommon applications across the majority of platforms (Sorry Blackberry users… just didn’t have the platforms around to test.).

It is fair to say that whether the application supports the SharePoint implementation of IRM or not, you are protected.  It is also fair to say that really you should limit your experience of updating files to the Microsoft Office suite.

To summarize the above findings; take a look at the table below:


Although I focused on the Word application in this post, Excel and PowerPoint on the core platforms (Windows, Apple OSX) work in the same way.

We are assured that the mobile apps that Microsoft produce for iOS, Android and Windows Mobile will support IRM properly soon, but no timeline has been given at the time of writing for this article.  (Please note we will be looking at Azure RMS support in the next few articles where mobile capabilities are available with latest releases)

Next Post(s)

I think we have covered the SharePoint IRM enough… Let’s take a look at Microsoft RMS (Rights Management Server) in Azure next.  It is a similar technology but not the same as IRM (Information Rights Management).

After we have had a look at that, I’ll compare and contrast against my scenarios here at work!

Till the next time… stay nerdy!

#O365 #SharePoint Online–Information Rights Management #IRM–what works, what doesn’t in a business context-Part 4

September 24, 2015 Leave a comment

This article is part of a series:

In the first article of this series we discussed what IRM was, some scenarios and high level device supportability.

Part 1:

In the second article we covered file type support.

Part 2:

In the third article we covered file type support in detail as well as the document library experience.

Part 3:

So we have talked about what IRM in SharePoint is, file type support and limitations, document library experiences etc. lets get down to permissions.  What can you restrict…

A good place to start is here:

To quote specifically from the site:

How IRM can help protect content

IRM helps to protect restricted content in the following ways:

  • Helps to prevent an authorized viewer from copying, modifying, printing, faxing, or copying and pasting the content for unauthorized use
  • Helps to prevent an authorized viewer from copying the content by using the Print Screen feature in Microsoft Windows
  • Helps to prevent an unauthorized viewer from viewing the content if it is sent in e-mail after it is downloaded from the server
  • Restricts access to content to a specified period of time, after which users must confirm their credentials and download the content again
  • Helps to enforce corporate policies that govern the use and dissemination of content within your organization

How IRM cannot help protect content

IRM cannot protect restricted content from the following:

  • Erasure, theft, capture, or transmission by malicious programs such as Trojan horses, keystroke loggers, and certain types of spyware
  • Loss or corruption because of the actions of computer viruses
  • Manual copying or retyping of content from the display on a screen
  • Digital or film photography of content that is displayed on a screen
  • Copying through the use of third-party screen-capture programs
  • Copying of content metadata (column values) through the use of third-party screen-capture programs or copy-and-paste action

So seems pretty straight forward and of course this applies to the file types mentioned in the previous posts on this subject.

  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • XPS

Interestingly, this Microsoft article mentions InfoPath but at the time of writing for this article, that did not appear to be the case in SharePoint Online (2015-09-23)

At the bottom of the article is starts talking about how list / library permissions compare to IRM permissions.  Again to quote from the site (just for completeness):


So I hear what you are saying… come on Giles… now you are just copying content from a web site and re-purposing it.  To a degree that is true… but lets put the above into something that makes more sense to the standard Business User that doesn’t really know what permission levels mean etc.

So we can essentially translate the above to the following:


Now it makes a bit more sense.

So lets get some users together in these groups and see what effect that has on the IRM permissions when you open a document…


So we can see as an owner of the site, I own the document and have full permissions to Copy, Print, Save, Export etc.

If you notice, I also have no expiry on this document either.  Which means downloading the document offline means that the permissions will stay with me as long as I am on a domain controlled PC logged in as the user mentioned in the pop up.



As a member, we can View, Edit, Copy, Print and Save.  This makes sense since as a member you are likely to be creating documentation in the first place.


Remember you can also control who can see versions of documents within SharePoint as well as the ability to control if you can only see your only content.

You can find these configurations in the Library Settings under Versioning Settings:


So what we are seeing here is IRM permissions layered on top of SharePoint’s standard permissions working hand in hand!

Also notice that the expiry for these permissions come into effect on Thursday, September 24, 2015.  At this point, the document (if it is offline from SharePoint), will be entirely locked down, even if you are authorized and you would have to go back to the source library to get a new copy.

When something has expired, this is what you see in the application:



Lastly, as a Visitor to my site, you can only view the document.  Now as mentioned earlier, it does not control any other application.  So you could still print screen potentially or use a tool like Snag It to capture the information.  The rules below only pertain to the application implementing the IRM rights.



On a high level, it would appear IRM really comes into its own when you want to prevent your content from leaving the organization.  It stops the content being shown to unauthorized users and since this is implemented at a file level, USB drives and Email Attachments cannot circumvent the protection in place.

However, at the end of the day, if you have an authorized user that wants to be malicious then they can open the documentation, copy the content from the screen and re-produce it in an un-protected form.  So just to confirm, this isn’t a magic bullet to solve all your IP protection woes and lets not forget, content is created in an unprotected form first and is only protected once it is uploaded into SharePoint.

Next Post(s):

  • The Client Experience. Windows, OSX (if I can find a mac), Mobile, Web – you name it, I will endeavor to try it
  • Unsupported Files – A look at the desktop RMS client and how that works with SharePoint

Useful Links:

Apply IRM to a list or library:

#O365 #SharePoint Online–Information Rights Management #IRM–what works, what doesn’t in a business context-Part 3

September 23, 2015 Leave a comment

This article is part of a series:

In the first article of this series we discussed what IRM was, some scenarios and high level device supportability.

Part 1:

In the second article we covered file type support.

Part 2:

Welcome to the third article in this series about the IRM implementation in SharePoint.  This post will be mostly focusing on how Windows Explorer interacts with Document Libraries with IRM enabled.

The Scenario

We are maintaining the same settings as the previous two articles, but using a document library instead of a list. 


As stated previously, behavior is the same but of course with a document library you can interact with it via Windows Explorer, drag and drop, in application via Word etc. as well as the standard upload process.  Let’s see if it maintains the protection that we have put in place…

To recap the supported file types:

  • Word, Excel, PowerPoint 2003 to 2016
  • PDF

Now as part of my ongoing research I have found mentions of XPS and InfoPath as well, so we shall give those a go as well.

In these tests I shall try all variants of the files for doc to docx and the macro and template versions in between.

Also unlike the previous articles I shall widen the uploads to include Excel and PowerPoint in the examples.

So without further ado…

Standard Upload

  • Supported File Type (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, XPS,)
  • Unsupported File Type (PNG, InfoPath)
    From my standard upload testing the results are as follows:


Document Library Screenshot:


XPS files uploaded fine and were protected by SharePoint IRM however, my client was not configured and could not access the IRM server in my setup.

Furthermore, I got this result when trying to open a protected XPS in the browser (IE11):


The client result was:


PS. I found that InfoPath was not supported in SharePoint Online (as of 2015-09-23 – not surprising given that it is not part of Office 2016 anymore.  (Office 2016 was released this week by the way – yay Smile)

Drag and Drop

In true scientific experiment fashion, same files, different upload method…

  • Supported File Type (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, XPS,)
  • Unsupported File Type (PNG, InfoPath)
    For this I shall be using the drag and drop capability that was introduced in SharePoint 2013 and is still available in 2016.  I shall drag and drop all files (supported and unsupported at once)

It is good to say that the result is the same as the standard upload method and the error messages it returns for unsupported file types make sense.



Just remember the issues with XPS I experienced this time round and the PDF IRM supportability issues from the last post are still present in the document library.  See Part 2 for details.

Windows Explorer

One more time around…same files, different upload method…

  • Supported File Type (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, XPS,)
  • Unsupported File Type (PNG, InfoPath)

Like the drag and drop method to the document library I shall be dragging all files into the Windows Explorer view that opens up when you click this button on the library ribbon:


Dragging the files into Windows Explorer view… in progress:


So everything was going will until I got to the unsupported files:


So as you would expect, it definitely stopped the file getting into the library as you would expect.  You have the option to skip the file which moves on to the next file and processes it based on the same rules.

The good news is, we have stayed in compliance!

The bad news is that error message:

An unexpected error is keeping you from copying the file.  If you continue to receive this error, you can use the error code to search for help with this problem.

Error 0x80070021: The process cannot access the file because another process has locked a portion of the file.

Now as a techy, I would totally expect that error from Windows Explorer… after all, it doesn’t know what SharePoint is, it just knows that it has failed.

From a business user perspective, this is confusing and will no doubt start calls to the help desk.  The help desk may not know the answer either and it will result in an escalated call to the SharePoint Admins / Operations teams.

Not much to be done, but adds credence as to why I am blogging on this subject.  Hopefully some google’rs / bing’rs will find this post and have a bit more information about what could be going on.


So there you have it, whatever way you get files in, it works… I can confirm that in each case, opening the files showed that they were protected with IRM.  Windows Explorer for unsupported files is a bit messy but not surprising.

Next Post(s)

  • I will eventually get to how to deal with unsupported file formats with the desktop RMS client but as I dig deeper, more and more topics become more appropriate to discuss
  • IRM permissions vs. SP Library permissions
  • Client Experience – Protect & Unprotected…
    Anyway, till the next one…  stay SharePointin’

#O365 #SharePoint Online–Information Rights Management #IRM–what works, what doesn’t in a business context-Part 2

September 22, 2015 1 comment

This article is part of a series:

Part 1:

In the first article of this series we discussed what IRM was, some scenarios and high level device supportability.

Let’s dig a bit deeper with what works in SharePoint Online:

Setup within SharePoint Online.

So I could talk about the Tenant Administration side of things but honestly, its not difficult, and these articles are more business focused.  If you are interested, take a look here:

Assuming you have Information Rights Management (IRM) turned on in your Office 365 tenant, you will have the following options in the settings of your lists and libraries:


Do not get confused with Information Management policy settings at the bottom, this is entirely different involving audit trails, bar coding etc.

Once you click, you get a screen as follows (pre-filled in for my example in this blog series)


Most of these are fairly self explanatory, but allow me to get into specifics on some of these items:

Set additional IRM library settings > Do not allow users to upload documents that do not support IRM

Seems, kind of vague and initial Google (Bing…) searches did not help me, after some digging however, we find something… only certain file types are supported within SharePoint:

  • PDF
  • The 97-2003 file formats for the following Microsoft Office programs: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • The Office Open XML formats for the following Microsoft Office programs: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • The XML Paper Specification (XPS) format

And in my further research, for Word, Excel and PowerPoint, your standard office suite has been supporting this capability since Microsoft Office 2003 on Windows and since Office for Mac 2011 on OSX.

But what about Multi-factor Authentication I hear you cry out…

Well that was supported in Office 2013 in an update around November 2014 (last year):

The end result of this is fairly painless to the user.  They upload unprotected files (that are supported).  SharePoint protects the files and when you open them from SharePoint, you get this:


Word opens the file, checks the RMS server for the permissions against the user opening the file and if you have the rights, you can see the document.

If you don’t have the rights, you get this:


Further Gotcha’s / Things we need to know: PDF Support

Essentially what we are seeing here is that we need to have a level of support for IRM in both the server (to set the policy) and on the client (to enforce the policy)

As stated above, Microsoft Office has been supporting this in some form since 2003 for Windows and 2001 for the Mac.

On the Adobe Reader side of things, it is a little different.

Adobe Reader does not support IRM protected PDF’s unfortunately and when you try you get this response:


So for the well initiated or hacker minded, I know what you are thinking… Microsoft Word can open PDF’s… what happens then:

Well they thought of everything:


Thankfully you can use some alternative PDF Readers.  Here is the run down on supportability:


Foxit Reader (Free) does display the PDF but with a suggestion that you should buy the RMS plugin:


I can confirm that you can view the whole document with the free product with the IRM restrictions in place.  However the watermark shown above appears on every page.

Lastly, just to confirm the security Foxit supports for IRM PDF files:


Further Gotcha’s / Things we need to know: Other / Unsupported File Types

If you attempt to upload a file that is unsupported, you get the following message from SharePoint.


File Type Conclusions

So bottom line is, if you need to protect Word, Excel & PowerPoint files than this solution provides a way to protect content without much trouble to the end user.

If you want to use PDF files as well then you will need to use Fixit or NitroPDF on Windows and unfortunately for OSX, it won’t be supported.

Lastly, all examples so far shown are using a standard custom list with attachments.  The functionality in a document library is the same in 99% of cases.

The Next Post

As I look further and further into this topic, more and more questions are unraveling.  In the next post(s), I shall be exploring:

  • What happens when we use Windows Explorer view with a document library?
  • How does the Microsoft RMS plugin help us for unsupported file types?

I am sure there will be more questions as I look further, but as this is a pressing concern for my company, you will see more posts soon.  Till the next time…

Useful Links:

Microsoft Office Compatibility (older information):

Microsoft Office 2007 IRM support:

Microsoft Office 2003 IRM support:

Microsoft Office 2013 MFA Support:

#O365 #SharePoint Online–Information Rights Management #IRM–what works, what doesn’t in a business context-Part 1

September 21, 2015 2 comments

I know I said I would get to the new features of Document Management in SharePoint 2016, and the plan is still do to that… but at work I have come across the need to use IRM for one of my internal customers.  So without further ado…

The Scenario

Migrating a site with Restricted Confidential data from On-Premise to SharePoint Online.  Everything within the network is nice and secure requiring two factor authentication to connect to the VPN from a domain connected laptop.  It is nice and secure!  Couple that with strict password and domain communication policies, security within the network seems good.

Of course, now as a company we want to take advantage of the great savings offered by Office 365.  Office 365 doesn’t require a VPN to connect any more and suddenly the need for information rights management feels way more important than ever.

Multi Factor Authentication

So combat some of this, we can require multi-factor authentication to connect to the Office 365 tenant.  If you do this properly, then you will have a nice, unhindered experience within your corporate network and a multi-factor authentication login from outside your network.  (Please note you will need Microsoft Office 2013 as a client for outside your network).

This is all well and good but that doesn’t stop you logging into your personal PC and downloading the file using your corporate account.  That is where IRM comes in…

Information Rights Management (IRM)


As a brief overview, IRM essentially controls what a user can do in a client application regarding a document based on who they are logged in as and the group they belong to.

For Example:

Corporate Network

You have a protected Word document and you are authenticated inside your corporate network.  You have permissions to View, Print, Edit the file etc…


You have a protected Word document and you open the file on your personal computer.  You cannot View, Print or Edit the file regardless of how you received the file (link to a SharePoint site, an Email Attachment or perhaps via a USB drive).

Personal Computer

So ideally what we are looking for is this:


And just so we know what I mean by the Red, Amber, Green symbols above…



Guest Devices

Of course in this very modern bring your own device to work world, guest devices means a lot of different platforms and form factors.

  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Windows RT (Maybe…)
  • Windows
  • Mac OSX
  • + others no doubt (blackberry for example…)
  • Thankfully, thanks to Microsoft view on being portable in this world is not tied to device, they have for the most part covered all devices with their Microsoft Office suite which fully covers IRM protection standards across the above listed platforms.

      However, in this changing world, there are always some caveats…  this series of articles will begin to discuss…

    Stay tuned for the next article when we talk about:

  • SharePoint specifics such as setup, file type support, unsupported file types…
  • What you can do about unsupported file types etc.

Useful links for learning…

Yammer Roadmap Session #msignite

A small post to go over the Yammer Roadmap session and to highlight the key parts.

New Features:

Single Sign On (Future)

A major investment coming soon is Single Sign On with the rest of Office 365.  You can already link your Active Directory accounts but currently Single Sign On is not implement.  Watch out for this feature soon.

External Messaging (Available Now)

You can now invite any external user into your Yammer conversations by simply adding their email address as part of your post (section at the bottom).

  • When you do this, a small yellow dot icon is next to the name to signify that it is external
  • The post button has a small globe next to it to show that it is now interacting with external users.

Once you post the message it appears in the external users yammer private message inbox (assuming they have one) and an email is sent to their inbox with the ability to sign up if they need to.

They can reply via email or via the yammer private message system.

The author of the conversation has the ability to take the external user out of the conversation at any point.  The private messages are deleted out of the users inbox and they can no longer reply.

If you wish, you can stop external messaging across your organizations Yammer tenant within Administration settings.

Compliance (Future)

Currently Microsoft is working hard to move Yammer into their own infrastructure and once it has done, compliance will be a priority.

Group Focus (Future – Coming Soon)

Improved focus on Groups within Yammer (not to be confused with Office 365 Groups)

  • Navigation for creation of groups as well existing groups has moved from the Top Navigation to the Side Navigation.
  • New users will be able to search for new groups as soon as they sign up, helping to improve the overall experience.

Delve Cards (Mostly available now / when Delve is in your tenant)

Watch for a different post on what Delve is… but in the meantime…

Yammer “signals” are built into the Delve boards, allowing you to start a discussion from any article or item that appears within Delve.

Next to the icon, notification counts show others discussing the item in Delve within Yammer (Please note this relies upon Single Sign On being implemented in the future)

image image

Mobile App Improvements (Coming Soon)

  • Notifications are being added to iOS and Android clients with swipe actions to take you straight into the discussion within the app
  • Inline @mentions within the discussion rather than a separate list at the bottom of the discussion post
  • Photo publisher within the app with annotation capability
  • New mobile experience and UI will surface important content first by group (with number of items not seen).  This is designed to ensure you always see the latest content without missing a thing!


Office 365 Group Sync (Far Future)

Towards the end of the session a number of people asked about integration with Office 365 Groups.  It was mentioned that this is in the road map but not timeline could be confirmed as they are working hard at bringing Yammer into the Microsoft infrastructure.

The #msignite experience from the view of a customer–SharePoint 2016

Putting things in context…

If you have followed this blog over the last few years, you will know that I am no longer part of the Microsoft Partner Network and I now find myself working on the other side of the fence.

Rather than looking for the very latest technologies and keeping myself up to speed to aid my customer’s requirements, I now have a specific customer in mind, with specific requirements.

Right now I manage a team of .NET and SharePoint developers and contractors with a heavy emphasis on wanting to know how to develop in cloud based technologies such as Office 365, Azure etc.

Anyway, so lets talk about the sessions (multiple blog posts to come) and discussions at the Office Expo area (vendor stands)

SharePoint 2016 Roadmap and New Features

Delve and the Office Graph API

So they are bring SharePoint 2016 to the On-Premise environment with the key feature that Microsoft is bringing down is Delve and along with that the office graph API.

For those not in the know… Delve has been around for little in the Office 365 space but this will be the first time bringing the technology to the On-Premise environment and if you are to believe the hype in the conference… Delve and more to the point the Office Graph technology is the future in bringing disparate information to the end user from most technologies in the Microsoft Online space.

So lets talk about the Office Graph API… essentially it is the API to their machine learning engine behind the scenes, designed to bring together the information that is relevant to you!

Delve is the current front-end view of this API that surfaces the information from SharePoint, OneDrive, Search, Office 365 Video, & Exchange for now… but the API is in place for you to add your own custom apps!

New Blog Experience / Next Gen Portals

Along for the ride is new terminology called Next Gen Portals.  Designed to be a single consistent experience for a particular piece of functionality.

For example,

  • Blogs with the ability to drag images into the page that automatically get uploaded and stored
  • Knowledge Management portals
  • You Tube like Video Portals (O365 Video API’s are coming we are told!)
  • New Personal Profile (as part of Delve) – the Me Contact Card

The theme being very much, why do all this customization to your portals, the 1st class experience is available out of the box and will be available On-Premise as well as on Office 365.

Hybrid Cloud Search

Introduced with the 2016 release will be a new Managed Service that will allow us to combine Office 365 Search and On-Premise Search into a single set of results (yes, all refiners will work across both indexes!).  This is to help with Office 365 adoption in hybrid scenarios.

This coupled with the fact that the Office Graph API (built on top of search) essentially means you can inject search results and have them surface up in delve makes the whole proposition very powerful.

This hybrid Managed Service capability is also coming to SharePoint 2013 later this year!

Document ID’s

The Document ID is no longer limited to a Site Collection and now works across the Farm.  This is now known as Durable Links.

The User Profile Service is dead! long live the User Profile Service!

So what on earth do I mean by that?  Well it will no longer be a Managed Service within SharePoint 2016.  AD Import will still exist within SharePoint but if you want to still use the User Profile service, you will need to setup FIM (Forefront Identity Manager) as a separate server outside of the SharePoint Farm.

Personally I believe this is a good thing… FIM was cut down within SharePoint caused no end of troubles!

Testing / Reliability

Also highlighted was the amount of testing that has gone into SharePoint 2016.  It is clear that this version is only a step change compared to SharePoint 2013 but as a result, we have better experiences that are well tested from the various learning and implementations of the Office 365, SharePoint Online solutions.

Distributed Cache has been vastly improved in reliability.

As part of this, there is a solemn promise that One Drive for Business Sync will be improved with a brand new version coming soon.  (Thank goodness for that – no more Groove / SharePoint Workspace related products please!)

Installation and setup changes

You can now build servers with specific roles from the Product Config Wizard… this includes roles such as:

  • Web Front-end
  • Search
  • Application
  • Distributed Cache
  • As well as other, depending on your need.

This is designed to minimize workloads for specific purposes and although you could do this before… it certainly makes life easier!

Zero downtime patching

It has been recognized that patching is a nightmare nowadays with the bi-monthly patches often being bigger than SharePoint’s initial install to allow for differences in patch versions.

Install’s are long and the farm is out of commission whilst doing so.

It is also recognized that patches need to be tested thoroughly still, due to the amount of changes inside them.

So to help improve this situation for On-Premise… they introduced the idea of Zero downtime patching with SharePoint 2016.  Patches can be applied without downtime of the servers.

Not too much more was said about this during the roadmap session but I suspect to learn more throughout the week!

Release Schedule

Lastly, what we all really wanted to know and confirm!  The release schedule for SharePoint 2016

  • SharePoint 2016 Beta 1 – Q4 2015
  • SharePoint 2016 Release Candidate – Q1 2016
  • SharePoint 2016 RTM (Release To Manufacturing) – Q2 2016

Ok that’s it… more to follow when I get time…


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