Unless you have been asleep for the past week, then you should have seen that SharePoint 2016 hit Release Candidate. Here's what that means, now and moving forward.
What does Release Candidate mean?
According to Wikipedia, release candididate "is a beta version with potential to be a final product, which is ready to release unless significant bugs emerge. In this stage of product stabilization, all product features have been designed, coded and tested through one or more beta cycles with no known showstopper-class bug.”
For those of us that have been with SharePoint for a while, this means that it is only a matter of time before we hit the final build. Now, of course, the decision to go with it, to upgrade and start using it, is up to you as a business. I've been using it for quite a while now and have found that it works well and is pretty solid. Many of my clients, however, will wait until it hits Release to Web (RTW) or even Release to Manufacturing (RTM).
What do you need to have in order to upgrade?
The Release Candidate is an update to Beta 2. That means you need to have Beta 2 installed before you can install it. In one of my last posts I talked about Zero Downtime patching and updating; this releases follows that model.
What does the Release Candidate have that Beta 2 doesn't?
From the original Microsoft blog post the following areas are called out:
Enhanced IT: The hybrid focus along with the data and compliance features are supported by simplified configuration and tighter administration to give IT more control over access to company- and customer-sensitive data. This also means authorization and audit management that is more flexible and seamless.
Ongoing Development: The new SharePoint offers a set of standardized APIs that cover both cloud and on-premises experiences for better hybrid environments. There are also new ways to create contextual solutions that span SharePoint Server 2016 and Office 365 from the web, mobile apps and Office. The APIs also make tool development easier.
User productivity: There is easier mobile access to content, people and applications through touch-based devices of all sizes. Users of SharePoint Server can now take advantage of new and developing productivity apps like Delve, and OneDrive for Business.
Future Foundations: The RC has been designed to ensure that improvements to the online version will be passed on to the on-premises version a lot quicker.
How do you get the patch?
To get the file, simply browse to the Download Center, select Download, then choose the version you need.
Notice when choosing the update that it is called a patch and is only 364.2 MB, not a 1GB+ file. This is truly a great enhancement and will make patching and updating the servers easier.
Check out this post on TechNet for assistance in setup and installation.
And this table details the new enhancements and changes:
As you can see, there are some great enhancements for you to play with. (But there are also some features that have been deprecated out.)
All in all, this is a solid release--one that goes a long way toward justifying the investment that Microsoft made to its On-Premise clients. If you have not had chance to install, set up and use SharePoint 2016, I recommend that you do so now, in preparation for the final release.