Microsoft announced the release of SharePoint Server 2016 release candidate (RC) and Project Server 2016 RC on Jan. 20, both of which can be found at the SharePoint Server 2016 RC announcement site along with some additional information and FAQs. None other than the esteemed Bill Baer announced the release of SharePoint Server 2016 RC. He indicated that it is pretty solid, and doesn't see many new changes or features in the SharePoint Server 2016 general availability (GA), which is scheduled to be released this spring.
SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2 was released just a couple of months ago, yet Microsoft, which is obviously excited about SharePoint Server 2016, already released the SharePoint Server 2016 RC. Over 5,000 customers downloaded the SharePoint Server 2016 preview and provided valuable feedback. As a result, the RC contains most of the completed features and is considered to be very dependable. Learn what you can expect in SharePoint Server 2016 by visiting TechNet’s New and improved features in SharePoint Server 2016 Release Candidate.
Let me step back a moment, because I did say both SharePoint Server 2016 and Project Server 2016 earlier on. Project Server is now integrated with SharePoint Server 2016 as a service that can be activated with the correct licensing. The licensing is free right now, but I do not expect that to continue in the spring when SharePoint Server 2016 GA is released.
Are you ready to install the SharePoint Server 2016 RC? You can't just install the 2016 RC, because the RC is a patch to SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2. That means you have to first successfully install SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2, and then apply the 2016 RC patch.
One of the improvements in SharePoint 2016 is the patching process. IT pros will discover that the patching process has been enhanced to reduce the downtime of patching the SharePoint servers in your farm. You now have a chance to taste test this improved patching strategy by patching your SharePoint Server 2016 Beta farm with the SharePoint Server 2016 RC.
The following will guide you through the steps necessary to either install SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2, and then patch it with the SharePoint Server 2016 RC, or take just the steps necessary to apply the 2016 RC patch to your SharePoint 2016 Beta 2 farm.
- Download SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2 from the SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2 download site.
- Download any additional language packs you want to install from SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2 Language Packs.
- Install SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2 by following these Installation Instructions.
- Deploy additional language packs (previously downloaded in Step 2) by following these Installation Instructions.
- Download, unzip and install the SharePoint Server 2016 RC Prerequisite Installer file for your base language from the SharePoint Server 2016 Release Candidate Patch site. (Note: During this step, you can download the prerequisite installer, global patch and language-specific patches at the same time. As a result, you can simply unzip the files in steps 6 and 7 in preparation for their installation in Step 8.)
- Download and unzip the SharePoint Server 2016 RC Global Patch from the SharePoint Server 2016 Release Candidate Patch site.
- Download and unzip the SharePoint Server 2016 RC Language Patch for each language installed on your farm, including the base language, from the SharePoint Server 2016 Release Candidate Language Patch site.
- Complete the patch and upgrade of SharePoint Server 2016 RC by following the steps on the Install a software update for SharePoint Server 2016 Release Candidate site.
After rolling out SharePoint 2016, you may be interested in providing feedback to the Microsoft engineering team. You can share your feedback using the SharePoint Server 2016 Forum, including feature requests or general comments. You can also provide feedback using @SharePoint on Twitter or through the SharePoint Server Suggestion Box.
For additional information about SharePoint Server 2016, I’ll be creating a course for CBT Nuggets called What's New in SharePoint Server 2016 in the very near future. In the meantime, let's hope the SharePoint Server 2016 GA release is in the early part of spring so we can get it rolled out and take advantage of the new features and functionality it offers.
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