SharePoint 2013 to 2016 should you upgrade

In this article I will give the key points you need to take into account when deciding to upgrade your SharePoint farm to SharePoint 2016.

  • What are the new features in SharePoint 2016 and are they worth upgrading your exiting SharePoint farm
  • What are you loosing, features that are no longer supported.
  • Migration hurdles from your pervious platform to SharePoint 2016  and custom features.
  • Differences in infrastructures and additional expenses.
  • Migration plan and content migration what to consider.
  • Estimate on how long should building a SharePoint 2016 farm takes and collaboration needed.

What are the new features in SharePoint 2016 and are they worth upgrading your exiting SharePoint farm?

Access Services

New features are available in the 2016 Access Services, Access services is part of the SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection features and allows users to host Access databases inside SharePoint using Access App model. the new features in 2016 includes :

  • Support apps for Office.
  • Pivot Access tables and export to excel
  •  Improved Related Item Control
    • Chose exiting views
    • Add new item
    • turn off the Add link

for more details information please visit this link

Compliance features

You can set policies  to delete user’s OneDrive for Business  documents based on a specific periods of time. Enhanced capabilities to preserve specific files. For more information visit this link.

Customized web parts

Faster page rendering when using the content query web part , Summary Links, and Table of Content Web Parts, since the  XSLT compilation time was improved.

Document library accessibility – New document library accessibility features.

Durable links – Internal SharePoint Resource links can now retain Dynamic Url when documents are renamed or moved in SharePoint.

Encrypted Connections  – supports TLS 1.2 connection encryption.

Fast Site Collection Creation – SQL server based template that generates sites more efficiently by reducing the roundtrips between SQL server and SharePoint servers.

Filenames – expanded support for special characters  – Additional support for special characters in file names, you can now use  the following   characters &, ~, {, and } .

Hybrid in SharePoint 2016 – enable to integrate between on-premises and Office 365.

Additional new / improved features from Microsoft :

Identify and search for sensitive content SharePoint Server 2016 now provides the same data loss prevention capabilities as Office 365. For more information, see Identify and search for sensitive content in both SharePoint Server 2016 and OneDrive documents.
Image and video previews You can now preview images and videos in SharePoint Server 2016 document libraries. For more information, see Image and video previews.
Information Rights Management SharePoint Server 2016 provides Information Rights Management (IRM) capabilities to secure information by encrypting and securing information on SharePoint libraries with OneDrive for Business. For more information, see Information Rights Management.
Large file support SharePoint Server 2016 now supports uploading and downloading files larger than 2,047 MB. For more information, see Large file support.
MinRole MinRole is a new feature in SharePoint Server 2016 that allows a SharePoint farm administrator to define each server’s role in a farm topology. For more information, see MinRole farm topology.
Mobile experience SharePoint Server 2016 offers an improved mobile navigation experience. For more information, see Mobile experience.
New features in November 2016 PU for SharePoint Server 2016 (Feature Pack 1) The November 2016 Public Update for SharePoint Server 2016 (Feature Pack 1) offers seven new features for SharePoint Server 2016. For more information, see New features in November 2016 PU for SharePoint Server 2016 (Feature Pack 1).
New controls for working with OneDrive for Business SharePoint Server 2016 provides controls at the top of your personal document folders that make common tasks in OneDrive for Business more accessible. For more information, see New controls for working with OneDrive for Business.
New Recycle Bin in OneDrive and Team sites SharePoint Server 2016 adds a link for the Recycle Bin in the left navigation area of the OneDrive and Team sites. NA
Open Document Format (ODF) SharePoint Server 2016 adds support for Open Document Format (ODF) files to use in document library templates. For more information, see Open Document Format (ODF) available for document libraries.
Project Server New Project Server features are available in SharePoint Server 2016. For more information, see Project Server 2016 .
ReFS file system support SharePoint Server 2016 now supports drives that are formatted with the ReFS file system. For more information about the ReFS file system, see Resilient File System Overview and Resilient file system.
SharePoint business intelligence SharePoint Server 2016 now supports SQL Server 2016 CTP 3.1 and the Power Pivot add-in and Power View. For more information about SharePoint business intelligence, see Power Pivot add-in and Power View are now available to use with SharePoint Server 2016.
SharePoint Search SharePoint Search Server Application has significant changes to its deployment. For more information, see SharePoint Search Service application.
Sharing improvements SharePoint Server 2016 has many new sharing improvements available. For more information, see Sharing.
Site Folders view SharePoint Server 2016 provides a new Site Folders view that lets you access the document libraries in sites that you’re following. For more information, see Site folders view.
Sites page pinning This new feature helps you see and follow sites. For more information, see Sites page pinning.
SMTP Connection Encryption SharePoint Server 2016 supports sending email to SMTP servers that use STARTTLS connection encryption. For more information, see SMTP connection encryption.
SMTP ports (non-default) SharePoint Server 2016 adds support for SMTP servers that use TCP ports other than the default port (25). For more information, see Use SMTP ports other than the default (25).
Web Application Open Platform Interface Protocol (WOPI) You can now rename files, create new files, and share files from within the WOPI iframe on the browser page. NA

What are you loosing, features that are no longer supported

  1. No foundation version – free foundation SharePoint version that was available in previous SharePoint versions is no longer available in SharePoint 2016.
  2. Self-services which was part of the service applications is no longer part of SharePoint 2016, this functionality has moved to office online servers.
  3. Project server is integrated with SharePoint 2016, it is no longer a different SKU.Migration

Migration hurdles from your pervious platform to SharePoint 2016 .

  • Setup a new farm Infrastructure Dev Stage Prod
  • Licenses
  • Set Network infrastructure
  • Replicate web apps
  • Replicate security, ADFS ?
  • Content Migration Plan
  • Security structure migration
  • 3th party tools licenses  

Setup a new farm Infrastructure

  1. You will need to create a dedicated farm following Microsoft recommendation or you are risking to a limited support from Microsoft until you upgrade your farm to the minimum requirements.
    • Highly consistent intra-farm latency of <1 ms one way, 99.9% of the time over a period of ten minutes.
    • The bandwidth speed must be at least 1 gigabit per second.
    • Use the standard best practice guidance to configure redundant service applications and databases.
  2. On a three-tier farm :
    1. App server – one app server
      1. min 16 GB RAM.
      2. 46-bit, 4 core.
      3. 80 GB system drive
      4. 80 GB second drive
      5. Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2012 R2 update: April 2014.
    2. Web Front-End server
      1. min 12 GB RAM.
      2. 46-bit, 4 core.
      3. 80 GB system drive
      4. 80 GB second drive
      5. Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2012 R2 update: April 2014.
    3. SQL server One of the following:
      1. The 64-bit edition of Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Service Pack 1 (SP1)
      2. Microsoft SQL Server 2016 RTM
      3. Microsoft SQL Server 2017 RTM for Windows
      4. To take advantage of any BI scenarios, you must have the latest Powerview and PowerPivot add-ins for Microsoft SQL Server 2016 RTM. To download the PowerPivot add-ins see, Microsoft® SQL Server® 2016 PowerPivot® for Microsoft SharePoint® 2016
      5. One of the following server operating systems:

        Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard or Datacenter

        Windows Server 2016 Standard or Datacenter

      6. SharePoint Server 2016 only supports the “Server with Desktop Experience” installation option of Windows Server 2016. For additional information about Windows Server offerings, see Windows Server Semi-annual Channel Overview
SharePoint 2016 – SQL Server Hardware requirements
Scenario CPU RAM Hard Disk
Fewer than 1,000 users
Small deployments
64-bit, 4 cores 8 GB 80 GB for system drive +
additional storage [3]
Between 1,000 to 10,000 users
Medium deployments
64-bit, 8 cores 16 GB 80 GB for system drive +
additional storage
Scenario CPU RAM Hard Disk
3-tier farm,
Development or Evaluation,
Minimum Services enabled
64-bit, 4 cores 12 GB 80 GB for system drive
80 GB for second drive
3-tier farm,
Pilot, User Acceptance or Production,
All Services enabled
64-bit, 4 cores 16 GB 80 GB for system drive
80 GB for second

Please read “Storage and SQL Server capacity planning and configuration (SharePoint Server 2016)” [4] to estimate your own requirements:

Set Network infrastructure

Pending on the business requirement you will need to take into consideration provisioning new IP addresses and domain name or use the existing farm IP and domain name.

setting your network depends on your migration strategy,  using tools to migrate or doing a content migration using the detach attach method.

You will need to communicate with  your network team to make sure the network infrastructure is set up correctly. Define were you servers are located within the network infrastructure.

Licenses

Make sure you have trial or temp licenses for the new farm during the testing phases to enable testing all the functionalities, including work flow migrations.

Project Plan :

  1. Build  DEV ( Two Server environment )
    1. Provision IP
    2. Provision Server Name
    3. Provision SSL Certificate
    4. Provision AD System Accounts
    5. create VMs
      1. following Microsoft Guidelines for minimum requirements.
    6. install software
      1. SQL server
      2. SharePoint server
    7. Create Web Apps
    8. Set-up security provider – ADFS
    9. Activate SP services based on the server roll
    10. connect SMTP server
    11. Profile Sync service
    12. Install 3th party tools
    13. Test farm structure
    14. Content migration
    15. Test content migration
  2. Build Stage – Implement the same steps from dev on a three tier environment.
    1. Provision IP addresses and server name for 4 servers
      1. two web front-end
      2. one app server
      3. one sql server
    2. Build two web front-end  VM.
    3. Build one App VM server.
    4. Build Physical SQL server.
      1. install SQL server
    5. Provision system accounts.
    6. Install SharePoint.
    7. Setup web application
    8. setup security provider and ADFS
    9. setup SP services
    10. setup 3th party tools
      1. reporting tools ( licenses ?)
      2. migration tools ( licenses ?)
      3. workflow tools ( licenses ?)
    11. Detach attach main site collection

 

 

3. Build Prod- Implement the same steps from dev on a three tier environment.

  1. Provision IP addresses and server name for 4 servers
    1. two web front-end
    2. one app server
    3. one sql server
  2. Build two web front-end  VM.
  3. Build one App VM server.
  4. Build Physical SQL server.
    1. install SQL server
  5. Provision system accounts.
  6. Install SharePoint.
  7. Setup web application
  8. setup security provider and ADFS
  9. setup SP services
  10. setup 3th party tools
    1. reporting tools ( licenses ?)
    2. migration tools ( licenses ?)
    3. workflow tools ( licenses ?)
  11. Testing

 

 

References :

New and improved features in SharePoint Server 2016

SharePoint 2013: Access Services

Hardware and software requirements for SharePoint Server 2016

SharePoint 2016 Requirements

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