Hands on with SharePoint 2016 Preview – Part 1

With the first release of SharePoint 2016 Preview, I wanted to jump right in and begin to get a handle on the evolution of the new 2016 version, and see where Microsoft is headed for the platform.  Let’s not waste any time, let’s do an Upgrade!

In-Place Upgrading

As with previous versions, we have the ability to perform a content-database attach, in order to easily upgrade all of your content databases from one version to the next.  For this upgrade, I’ve detached my current 2013 content database, and copied it to my new SharePoint 2016 Farm.  I’ll be using 4 VM’s, an AD Controller, WFE Server, App Server, and a SQL 2014 Database Server. (Note, I’ll be using Windows Server 2016 Tech Preview 3 for the WFE.  Just sounds like fun to try)

Step One:  Install the Prerequisites on the WFE/App Servers

From the Splash Screen, we can simply click the ‘Install software prerequisites’ selection, and follow the wizard to install the prerequisites.  The Prerequisites for SharePoint 2016 are listed here.  You can also download each of these individually if you want more control over the installation:

When the Prerequisites finish installing, just reboot the system.

Step Two:  Install the Server Software

Once the system has finished rebooting, click on ‘Install SharePoint Server’ from the Splash Screen.

Enter the Product key, and then accept the License Agreement and continue on with the installation.  If you want to change the default paths to where the software will be installed, you can do so on this screen as well. (If you have large Search Index files, it’s good to put them off to their own drive). The installation will begin, and you can now go grab some lunch, as this is not the fastest process..  (NOTE:  if your installation does not complete successfully, you find the install log here: %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Temp)

Step Three:  Run the SharePoint Products and Configuration Wizard

The Products and Configuration wizard is almost identical to 2013, but there is now one key difference:  The Server Role selection.  This will allow you to specifically specify the Role that this server will perform.  No more having to install specific roles (like Search) after the fact.

(Once that’s complete, go for another Lunch.)

Step Four: Prepare your 2016 Web Application to attach the 2013 content database

In order to attach the DB, it has to have something to attach to 🙂  Just setup a new Web Application on your 2016 farm with the same settings as your 2013 web application, and then run this powershell command on the 2016 server to Mount the old database:

Replace <databasename>, <server name>, and <URL> with your specific parameters.  Your Content Database will be attached and upgraded.  You can view the status from Powershell, or view the status in Central Administration under the ‘Upgrade and Migration’ menu:

When this is complete, you can remove the old content db that was provisioned when you setup your 2016 Web Application, and navigate to your newly upgraded SharePoint 2016 Site Collections!

Over the next few blogs, I will begin to delve deeper into the latest features of SharePoint 2016, and will outline any new features on the horizon before the launch of the Platform early next year.


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