What SharePoint 2013 means for the data center

From a new app model to social networking, there's a lot to consider.

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Microsoft held its most recent SharePoint Conference in November. The predominant buzz among the 10,000-plus attendees was around SharePoint 2013, the new release of the software giant's server productivity platform.

It is huge, and a massive upgrade. I spoke informally with many conference attendees and, while most are impressed with the set of features and capabilities in SharePoint 2013, it seems they're having a hard time getting their heads around the release.

With millions of installations of both the free and paid enterprise SharePoint editions, chances are good that your organization has already deployed some version of SharePoint and the new version is on your roadmap. But before you rush into anything, here are some facts that are important for understanding exactly what SharePoint 2013 is and what it means for your organization's deployment plans.

Social: It's here, but what do you do with it now?

In June, Microsoft purchased Yammer, a social networking company, for $1.2 billion and immediately announced its intention to integrate social networking capabilities into SharePoint. We've now learned that Yammer will be included free-of-charge in Office 365 subscriptions, with Yammer availability for on-premises installations to follow at some unspecified point.

But the integration of Yammer and SharePoint Online (part of Office 365) is not as clean as you might expect. While you can, for example, start up an instant conversation around a document stored on SharePoint and then search for the results of that conversation later, you lose any customizations you have made to the look and feel of your SharePoint site -- your branding, in other words.

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