We're all familiar with Microsoft's overarching message -- it's a mobile-first-cloud-first world and we're all computing in it. We're all familiar with Microsoft's three top priorities: to usher in an era of more personal computing; to reshape work and productivity via new products and processes; to build and provision an intelligent cloud. But what does that mean on a practical, "you're using this software" level?
First, it means don't panic if you're still in an on-premises sort of world. Although Microsoft didn't use their Exchange 2016 roadmap and architecture sessions to reiterate a commitment to on-premises Exchange, that doesn't mean it'll be neglected. As Tony Redmond says:
Microsoft has obviously used an enormous amount of engineering resources to harvest developments that are tried and tested in Exchange Online and package then technology in a suitable form for on-premises deployment. I can’t see how this work would have been done if a strong commitment existed to upgrade on-premises customers, even if the commitment was not voiced or emphasized during the session.
and he reports that Microsoft is making a big investment in REST-based APIs across Office, so Exchange 2016 will use new mail, contact, and calendar REST APIs. All Exchange 2016 servers will be multi-role (the CAS is no more) and the preferred architecture is deemed to be the right way to deploy Exchange.
When you reflect on the growing collection of components brought together under the Groups banner, it’s clear that Microsoft view these objects as a kind of unifying influence for many different parts of Office 365. In short, becoming a member of a group is a one-stop ticket to information available in a:
-- SharePoint (or OneDrive for Business) document library
-- OneNote notebook
-- Exchange shared mailbox and calendar
-- Skype for Business meetings
-- Dynamic CRM
Rod Trent found out that System Center Configuration Manager 2016 will actually release two different times in the coming year -- once right now as a technical preview and once again when Windows Server 2016 is released next year. Microsoft has indicated that each instance counts as an actual, individual release.