SharePoint Server 2016 Feature Pack 1- Assign Shared Mini Roles to Server

In this article, you will learn how to assign shared Mini Roles to the Server.

Mini Role is a new feature, which is introduced in SharePoint Server 2016. It optimizes the functioning of the Servers in a SharePoint farm , which is based on the role they have been assigned. Thus, when you are configuring the Server, it depends on the intended functionality. You may choose the appropriate Mini Role, as shown below.

Mini Role Functionality
Custom Custom Service Applications, Services and components that do not integrate with Mini Role, belong to Custom Servers. The farm administrator has full control over which Service instances can run on the Servers, assigned to the custom Role.
Web Front End Services end user requests, optimized for low latency.
Single Server Farm Provisions all Services on the Server for a single Server deployment. This role is provided for evaluation and development purposes.
Search Reserved for Search Services.
Application Services the backend jobs or the requests triggered by backend jobs, optimized for high throughput.
Distributed Cache Services distributed cache for the farm. Optionally, the Server assigned to this role can load balance end user requests among the Web front ends.
Table Source - Microsoft MSDN

Feature Pack 1

Feature Pack is an innovative step taken by Microsoft to add new features to SharePoint Product line, which were not really announced as a part of the initial product release. Earlier, a new feature made its way to SharePoint only as a 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, which are introduced in SharePoint Online.

Feature Pack 1 allies 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. You can download Feature Pack 1 here. Once you download and install Feature Pack 1, you will get an additional 2 Shared Mini Roles, which can be utilized for configuring SharePoint Farm. The newly added Shared Mini Roles are listed below.

  • Front-end with Distributed Cache
  • Application with Search

This way, a Server can share 2 Mini Roles, thereby reducing the number of Servers which are required for the farm. You can read more about Feature Pack 1 and its installation process here.



While you are configuring the farm, using SharePoint Products Configuration wizard, we will get a Window, where we can specify the Server Role, as shown above. Depending on the requirement, we can select one of the roles for the current Server. If we are configuring a search Server, we should select ‘Search’ Mini Role, else if we are looking to configure SSRS Reporting Services, we should be selecting ‘Custom’ Mini Role and so on. If you have already configured a SharePoint Farm with a specific Mini Role and you would like to change it to the newly available Shared Mini Roles, this is also possible.

In this article, we will see how to assign the newly introduced Shared Mini Roles to a Server. We can change Mini Role either from the Central Administration UI or using PowerShell. We will see both in action.

Assign Shared Mini Role from Central Administration

In order to change Mini Role, go to System Settings -> Convert Server Role in this farm.




This will display SharePoint Servers within the farm and the assigned Mini Roles. Clicking on the drop down will show the newly added Mini Roles, using Feature Pack 1.



You can select one of the Shared Mini Roles, as shown above to set it to the Server. I have gone with “Application with Search”, so that the Server will host both the Application and search Mini Role. Click Apply.



It will take some time to do the conversion, as it is dependent on a SharePoint Time Job.



Finally, heading over to the Role Conversion page, we can see the newly assigned Shared Mini Role.

Assign Shared Mini Roles using SharePoint Management Shell

We can also change the Mini Role, using PowerShell. In order to do this, spin up SharePoint 2016 Management Shell as an administrator.



Run the command ‘Get-SPServer’ to get the Servers and their current roles in the farm.



Running the command, shown below, will list out all the Mini Roles, which are available for assignment.

[System.Enum]::GetNames([Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.SPServerRole])

Prior to installing Feature Pack1, running the command, shown above yielded the results, mentioned below.



However, post installation of Feature Pack1; we can see the new Shared Mini Roles as well.



Now, let’s assign the Shared Mini Role,”ApplicationWithSearch” to the Server by running the command, shown below. 

Set-SPServer -Identity "VM04-MiniRole" -Role " ApplicationWithSearch"



The job conversion is performed by a timer job. You can get its run status by running the Get-SPTimerJob command.



Thus, the timer job has run and the role conversion has been completed. You can check the status by running the Get-SPServer command once again.



You can see the “ApplicationWithSearch” Mini Role has been assigned to the server.

Summary

Thus, we saw how to convert the existing Mini Roles to the newly introduced Shared Mini Roles, as a part of Feature Pack 1 in SharePoint Server 2016.