Getting Started with Feature Pack 1 for SharePoint Server 2016

Author by Drew Madelung

SharePoint 2016 went RTM (release to manufacturing) on May 14th 2016.  This was only a short 6 months ago but Microsoand ft has already released its first Feature Pack to bring some of the new cloud innovations back to our on-premises environments. The introductions to Feature Packs for SharePoint is a breath of fresh air to the legacy release cycles SharePoint used to live in.  Major product releases would take 2-3 years.  The speed that the collaboration space was changing made it impossible for Microsoft to keep modern standards up to date with this model.  Basically they would have to predict what people would want 3 years from now, then build to that and hope it didn't change.  This does not work in a cloud first world where your on-premises experiences began to greatly differ from the available cloud solutions.  This obviously is not a solution that works moving forward so the Feature Pack era began.  And our first Feature Pack even came out ahead of schedule!  

A good thing to note is that Feature Pack 1 released and is installed just like a standard Public Update (PU) for SharePoint 2016.  There is no separate install so the November PU includes not just the features but also any security/bug fixes of a standard PU.  

This post will outline:


Download Info

Feature Pack 1 Includes

Logging of administrative actions performed in Central Administration and with Windows PowerShell.

This was one of the number 1 requested items on UserVoice and will ensure that we know what SharePoint admins are actually doing out there. 

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  • Trevor Seward put up a nice blog post digging into some more details on what this is doing and how we can view these logs via PowerShell. 

 

Enhanced MinRole

MinRole was originally designed for larger farms and had a very high server requirement; 4 servers for a regular farm which means 8 servers for a high availability farm.  Microsoft heard us loud and clear that this was too many servers for many farm deployments.  MinRole was enhanced to include 2 new "Shared Roles"  that combine services so we can shrink the overall farm count.  All of these roles can still be used together to build an architecture that best fits your needs.  

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OneDrive for Business modern user experience

This is the first release of the new modern experiences back to on-premises.  This feature REQUIRES software assurance. Your Software Assurance benefits are determined by your Volume Licensing agreement, such as the Enterprise Agreement (EA), Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA) or Open Value agreement—and by the qualifying license purchases you have with Software Assurance. You can use the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) to view and activate SA.  The enabling of this feature is still capable without having SA but will be mandated by the honor system for activation.

This brings us such this as:

  • Fast and responsive design
  • Move to & copy to funcionality
  • The right side information panel
  • Easier rename capabilities

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Custom tiles in the SharePoint app launcher

he app launcher (or waffle) came to on-premises with SharePoint Server 2016 but you had no control over what was actually in it.  With FP1 you can now add whatever custom tiles you want to point to anything whether it is in SharePoint or external.  Once activated, the custom tiles are held in a list that you can access via the url http://web_app/lists/custom tiles. 

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Hybrid auditing (preview)

With this feature you can get unified audit logs within your Office 365 security and compliance center that includes logs that were uploaded to Office 365 from your on-premises farm.  You can then use the "Audit Log Search" to search through everything at once.  

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Hybrid taxonomy (preview)

The managed metadata service has been around in SharePoint since 2010 and is used to build hierarchies of metadata that you can use to classify content.  This is a great tool when building up your information architecture.  With a new hybrid taxonomy you can have a unified taxonomy across Office 365 and on-premises by seeding the online term store from on-premises.  You will then manage your managed metadata service just in Office 365.  You can choose which term groups are shared between online and on-premises. 

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OneDrive API 2.0

If you are building any custom applications and want to access the OneDrive API it is now easier with FP1.  The OneDrive API includes enhanced support for many of the API features that were available only in Office 365.  

  • The OneDrive dev site is a good place to go to learn about and try to the OneDrive API

Installing Feature Pack 1

The installation of this update is done just like any other Public Update for SharePoint server 2016.  The links I included in the sections above include detailed info on what to do for each of the features.  Here are the instructions on how to Deploy software updates for SharePoint Server 2016.

Here are the steps to install a new SharePoint 2016 farm with FP1 via Troy Starr's comments from the office blog post.

  1. Install SharePoint Server 2016, but do not create a farm yet.
  2. If you’d like to add support for additional languages, install the appropriate SharePoint Server 2016 language packs.
  3. Install the November 2016 Public Update (or later) for SharePoint Server 2016. Note that the public updates for SharePoint Server 2016 are split into two separate patches: the “core” patch and the MUI/language pack patch. You must install both patches, even if you don’t have any additional language packs installed.
  4. After all of these steps are performed, you can then create a new farm by running the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard, our Windows PowerShell cmdlets, or the PSConfig.exe command line tool.

Feature packs moving forward

The cadence for future releases of Feature Packs is already planned and Feature Pack 2 is currently planned for H2 of 2017 as announced at MS Ignite.

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Other handy links

Happy patching!

Author

Drew Madelung

Technical Architect