Exploring Feature Pack 1 For SharePoint Server 2016

In this article, you will learn how to explore Feature Pack 1 for SharePoint Server 2016.

Feature Pack is an innovative step taken by Microsoft to add new features to SharePoint Product line which were not really announced as part of the initial product release. Earlier, a new feature made its way to SharePoint only as part of Product Launch which happened in three-year intervals. SharePoint Team will now be taking feedback, and new features will be deployed as feature packs to SharePoint Server at regular intervals. This will keep SharePoint Server updated with new Cloud features introduced in SharePoint Online.

As promised, Feature Pack 1 aka November 2016 CU for SharePoint Server 2016 has been made publicly available on November 8. The build number for this release is 16.0.4456.1002. The official release note states that the below new features will be delivered as part of Feature Pack 1.

  • Administrative actions logging for common SharePoint administrative actions.
  • MinRole enhancements to support small and medium-sized farms.
  • A OneDrive for Business modern experience.
  • Custom tiles in the SharePoint app launcher.
  • SharePoint hybrid auditing unified across site collections on-premises and in Office 365.
  • Hybrid taxonomy unified across on-premises and Office 365.
  • OneDrive API for SharePoint on-premises.

Mini Role Enhancements

Mini Role is a feature newly introduced in SharePoint 2016 which offloads the SharePoint load by hosting the features, like search as a separate server. In its initial release, only the below Mini Roles were made available.



However, with the new feature pack, two more Shared Mini Roles (Front End with Distributed Cache and Application Search) have been introduced. This way, a server can share 2 Mini Roles, thereby reducing the number of servers required for the farm.



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SharePoint Custom Tiles

Office 365 provided the ability to add custom tiles to the App Launcher which was a missing feature in SharePoint Server 2016. However, with the Feature Pack, we can add new custom tiles to the SharePoint Server 2016 as well.

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Administrative Actions Logging

Administrative Actions Logging feature is delivered to SharePoint 2016 as part of Feature Pack 1. This feature enables logging of SharePoint Server 2016 Administrative Actions. Once the Feature pack is installed, Administrative Actions will come up in the Events to Log sections of Configure usage and health data collection page of SharePoint 2016 Central Administration.



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Hybrid Taxonomy (In Preview Stage)

SharePoint provides Term Store where we can manage terms using which we can group logically related documents or items. SharePoint 2016 and SharePoint Online have separate Taxonomy Stores. With Feature Pack 1, you can plan for Hybrid Taxonomy where you can define which Term Groups should be shared between SharePoint 2016 and SharePoint Online.

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OneDrive API for SharePoint on-premises and Office 365

The OneDrive API provides a set of HTTP services to connect your application to files and folders in Office 365 and SharePoint Server 2016.

SharePoint Hybrid Auditing (In Preview Stage)

SharePoint Hybrid Auditing is a new feature introduced in SharePoint Server 2016 as part of Feature Pack 1 where users can choose to upload their SharePoint diagnostic and usage logs and have reports generated for them in Office 365.

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Configure Feature Pack 1

You can download the Feature Pack 1 from here



Once you have downloaded the package, run the installer.



Upon clicking Continue, it will determine the list of files to be updated as part of the Feature Pack.



Once it is done, installation of Feature Pack 1 will begin.



The feature pack installation has completed.



Run the same Feature Pack in other SharePoint Servers in the farm as well. If it is not installed in all the SharePoint Servers, we will be getting the below warning while running the Configuration Wizard.



Once the update is installed in all the SharePoint Servers, we have to run SharePoint 2016 Products Configuration Wizard on each SharePoint Server in the farm. Spin up the Configuration Wizard.



Click on Next.





This will start SharePoint Update Configuration.



It will take some time to complete. The percentage value is shown in the progress bar.



Finally, the configuration process has completed.



If there are multiple SharePoint Servers in the Farm, run the Product Configuration Wizard in each of them.

Quick Test of the Feature Pack

Feature Packs will install multiple features to the SharePoint Farm. As a quick test, we can check to see if the new Mini Roles have come up in the Central Administration. Go to System Settings-> Convert Server role in the Farm. As you can see below, the extra roles have come up.



Hybrid Features will require configuration which will be covered in the upcoming article series.

Summary

Thus, we saw the new features of SharePoint 2016 Feature Pack 1 and how to install that in a Multi-server SharePoint 2016 Farm.