Announcing Feature Pack 1 for SharePoint Server 2016—cloud-born and future-proof

Last May, we announced our vision, strategy, timeline and investment areas for SharePoint in Office 365 and on-premises. We unveiled our plan to bring cloud-born innovation to SharePoint Server 2016. Today, we’re excited to announce details for Feature Pack 1.

We’re pleased to announce that we’re ahead of schedule with our inaugural Feature Pack for SharePoint Server 2016. Feature Pack 1, available in November, brings several enhancements driven by recent innovation in Office 365 and feedback from you on UserVoice, including:

  • Logging of administrative actions performed in Central Administration and with Windows PowerShell.
  • Enhancements to MinRole to support small environments.
  • A new OneDrive for Business user experience.
  • Custom tiles in the SharePoint app launcher.
  • Unified auditing across site collections on-premises and in Office 365.
  • Unified taxonomy across on-premises and Office 365.
  • OneDrive API 2.0.

We’re excited to share with you some of the details of Feature Pack 1 today.

What’s a Feature Pack?

Unlike previous versions of SharePoint, release-to-manufacture (RTM) did not define the end of innovation, but the beginning. As we continue to develop SharePoint Server 2016, we’ve paid close attention to customer feedback, trends in content management, team collaboration, user experiences across devices, and how the cloud can be blended into existing on-premises scenarios in new and compelling ways. Feature Packs allow us to accelerate delivery of cloud-first features to our Software Assurance customers (where noted) of SharePoint Server 2016 outside of the traditional 2- to 3-year release cadence.

New capabilities for administrators

For IT professionals, Feature Pack 1 includes several new capabilities based on feedback we received throughout the development of SharePoint Server 2016, from IT Preview to Release Candidate.

Administrative actions logging—SharePoint administrators spend a considerable amount of time troubleshooting administrative changes to their on-premises environment, which can result in failure conditions or other undesired effects.

We heard your feedback surrounding the need for more insightful, granular logging and, in Feature Pack 1, we introduced logging of common administrative actions performed in the Central Administration website and with Windows PowerShell.

MinRole enhancements—One of the infrastructure advancements in SharePoint Server 2016 was the concept of MinRole. MinRole is designed to transform architectural guidance into code, simplifying deployment and scale with SharePoint by ensuring a request is served end-to-end by the receiving server based on the origin of the request (i.e., end user or batch processing) and role of the destination server.

MinRole was originally optimized for larger farm topologies. With four server roles, the minimal requirement for a supported MinRole configuration was a four-server farm. A farm with high availability (HA) requires two servers for each role, making eight servers the minimal requirement for a HA MinRole configuration. You told us that you would like to have the benefits of MinRole with smaller farm topologies too. We listened to you and enhanced MinRole to address this request.

Once the new MinRole enhancements are enabled, you will notice that two additional server roles are available: “Front-end with Distributed Cache” and “Application with Search.” The Front-end with Distributed Cache role combines the Front-end and Distributed Cache roles together, while the Application with Search role combines the Application and Search roles together. These new roles let you host a multi-server MinRole farm with just two servers or four servers with HA.

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New user experiences

A new OneDrive for Business experience—OneDrive for Business is an integral part of Office 365 and SharePoint Server. It provides a place where you can store, share and sync your work files. OneDrive for Business makes it easy to manage and share your documents from anywhere, and work together in real-time, on your favorite devices. Feature Pack 1 brings the modern OneDrive for Business user experience to SharePoint Server 2016. The new OneDrive user experience is a Software Assurance benefit.

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SharePoint App Launcher custom tiles—The App Launcher was introduced in SharePoint Server 2016 with the ability to extend the tiles with the SharePoint Hybrid App Launcher to include apps available in Office 365. The App Launcher provides a common location to discover new apps and navigate between on-premises SharePoint and Office 365 applications. Now, in addition to native SharePoint and Office 365 apps, you can also add your own custom tiles that point to other SharePoint sites, external sites, legacy apps and more. This makes it easy to find and navigate to the relevant sites, apps and resources to do your job.

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Hybrid capabilities

Unified auditing—Unified auditing gives SharePoint administrators detailed visibility into file access activities across all site collections, on-premises and in Office 365. With unified auditing in place, the Office 365 Security and Compliance Center can provide audit logs search for your SharePoint Server 2016 on-premises audit logs in addition to Office 365 audit logs.

This hybrid auditing capability—powered by Microsoft SharePoint Insights—enters preview with Feature Pack 1. Configuration is simple: a few clicks in Hybrid Scenario Picker wizard and you’re ready to start viewing and experiencing unified auditing.

Learn more about hybrid auditing (preview), powered by Microsoft SharePoint Insights.

Unified taxonomy—SharePoint’s managed metadata service application makes it possible to create a taxonomy for information architecture across site collections and web applications. With Feature Pack 1, you can implement a unified taxonomy across a SharePoint Server 2016 farm and Office 365. You can seed the term store in SharePoint Online from your on-premises term store and then manage your taxonomy in SharePoint Online. Replication to on-premises SharePoint is performed by the hybrid taxonomy feature.

Learn more about the hybrid taxonomy (preview) feature.

For more information on other SharePoint and Office 365 hybrid scenarios, see

Developer enhancements

OneDrive API 2.0—The OneDrive API provides a common API for access to files located on-premises and in the Office 365 cloud. The API provides access and enables developers to build solutions that target user data stored in OneDrive for Business and SharePoint document libraries.

SharePoint Roadmap

Feature Pack 1 features will be generally available November 2016. To learn more about the Feature Pack process, be sure to attend the BRK2047 Explore Microsoft SharePoint Server 2016 and Beyond session at Microsoft Ignite.

As we make decisions about where to invest to deliver cloud-born innovation to your on-premises teams, we look forward to hearing from you. Please share your thoughts and ideas through the Microsoft Technical Community and SharePoint’s UserVoice.

The future of SharePoint Server is bright, and we are excited to collaborate with you on our next steps, and to empower you, your teams and your organization to do more.

Join the conversation

Send us your comments, suggestions and feedback:

—Bill Baer, @williambaer, senior product manager of the SharePoint team

Frequently asked questions

Q. Is there a cost for Feature Pack 1?

A. No, there is no cost associated with Feature Pack 1; however, some features of Feature Pack 1 are limited to Software Assurance customers where noted in this post.

Q. Where can I learn more about Software Assurance?

A. To learn more about the benefits of Software Assurance and how to get started, see this overview.

Q. How can I find out if I have Software Assurance or check my benefits?

A. 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.

Depending on which agreement your organization has, you use one of two tools to manage your available Software Assurance benefits.

Use the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) to view and activate your Software Assurance benefits. You must be registered to use the VLSC. To learn more about registration, view how-to videos or download the VLSC Software Assurance Guide at VLSC Training and Resources. You can also contact your Microsoft Partner for more information.

If you are a Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA) customer, the Microsoft Volume Licensing Center (MVLC) is your destination for easy management of your Software Assurance benefits. Sign in to the MVLC to view and start using your available Software Assurance benefits. Learn more about Software Assurance and the MPSA.

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