Microsoft is ready to release a couple of its new services for public technical preview: SharePoint Server 2016 and a new cloud hybrid search offering for SharePoint Server 2013 and 2016.
Officials detailed their plans for SharePoint Server 2016 back in April, when they confirmed it would become generally available in 2016, possibly by the second quarter. They also emphasized their plans to release future on-premises versions of SharePoint with better user experiences and stronger security and compliance.
Now, Microsoft has announced SharePoint Server 2016 is ready for preview. The service is built on the same platform as SharePoint Online, so IT administrators who download the preview will recognize similarities between the two, along with some new features.
One of the core focus areas in developing the new release of SharePoint is to lessen the burden on IT by streamlining administrative tasks. This way, IT workers can focus more on their day-to-day responsibilities and on innovation.
Notable additions to SharePoint Server 2016 include an App Launcher, which simplifies navigation with apps located in the top navigation bar. Document libraries within SharePoint now have a new control surface for creating, managing, and sharing files and content. The process of sharing documents is easier, and you can view who has access to certain websites by selecting "Shared with" in the Settings menu.
SharePoint Server 2016 will also handle larger files to support the growth in sharing audio and video content. The new release will allow you to upload files up to 10GB in size.
The upcoming edition of SharePoint also brings new tools to address compliance: the In-Place Hold Policy and Document Deletion Centers. You can preserve content in SharePoint and OneDrive for Business for fixed time periods through organization-wide, in-place hold policies or manage policies that delete content after a certain period of time.
IT admins planning to download the SharePoint Server 2016 preview should note the preview cannot be upgraded to RTM at the time of release.
Also available for preview is a hybrid cloud search tool. Customers running SharePoint Server 2013 and Office 365 can use the new search service to access information they have stores in on-premises servers or in the cloud.
Through Microsoft's new hybrid search service, you can browse cloud and on-premises content in a search index within Office 365. The hybrid search model lets you access this information, regardless of where it is stored, in Office Delve. You can search for specific data, discover content through Delve profiles, or arrange and share information in Boards.
It should be noted that, while the cloud hybrid search tool is available for preview, you cannot configure the service with Office 365 until early September.