SharePoint Conference 2012 – Day 1 Recap

I posted yesterday about the Keynote and some interesting information from that. The rest of the day was spent connecting with other Minnesota attendees and of course learning. I attended two other sessions: What’s New for IT Pros in SharePoint 2013, SharePoint 2013 Upgrade Overview, and SharePoint Search Architecture for SharePoint 2013.

What’s New for IT Pros in SharePoint 2013

Bill Baer presented on what is new for IT Pros trying to give the very large audience what has significantly changed and more importantly why.

He started off with goals for SharePoint 2013. These include a safer upgrade options including the capability of allowing site collection administrators pre-check their collection and then upgrade to SharePoint 2013. They also include a capability of email messages and a system status bar to help communicate when sites are available for upgrading.

Another feature for the site collection admin is the capability of doing a Evaluation Site Collection. This will create an entire evaluation site collection (complete with a –eval in the URL). This will give the site collection admin the capability to testing an upgrade to SharePoint 2013 before moving production. These have a time to live, especially since it is a whole copy of your site collection.

SharePoint 2013 Upgrade Overview

The biggest part of this session was that SharePoint 2013 is available for trail download as of 9 a.m. this morning. So technically it is available for consumption.

Sean Livingston continued to give a run down on the architecture needs of SharePoint 2013. Primarily the hardware needs are comparable to SharePoint 2010.

Installation Type Memory Cores
Single Server Foundation 8 GB 4 Cores
Single Server SharePoint Server 2010 24 GB 4 Cores
SharePoint Web Front End or App Server 12 GB 4 Cores

Windows Server should be Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 or Windows Server 2012. SQL need to be a minimum of SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 or SQL Server 2012. Also know that SharePoint 2013 cannot be enabled in a workgroup mode (need to have Active Directory) and cannot be deployed in a native client OS such as Windows 7 or Windows 8. You will need to use some type of virtualization software. Windows 8 includes Hyper-V with the client or you can use VMWare Workstation.

Into the upgrading, Sean talking about options when it comes to helping with upgrading. This is wrapped around the separation of upgrading, which includes upgrading the schema or backend and then upgrading the front end when needed.

Content databases and be brought into SharePoint 2013 and kept at a SharePoint 2010 level. On demand the Site Collection Administration can then upgrade when they are ready to upgrade. This can happen because of a couple of SharePoint 2013 features:

  • Schema is upgraded when migration of the content database occurs
  • The SharePoint 2013 server files includes both 14 and 15 Hives

There is another feature to take note off: Evaluation Site Collections. These are site collections that will allow the Site Collection administration the ability to create a copy of their site collection followed by a upgrade to SharePoint 2013 to evaluate what will happen. This processes will either use SQL Snapshots (if your version of SQL supports this) or Backup to create an identical copy. As stated above, this will have a different URL to differentiate itself and a time to live.

On the Service Application side there are some notables:

User Profile Service

There are three different options for synchronization with SharePoint. Direct import from Active Directory which was how SharePoint 2007 worked, Forefront Identity Manager or a 3rd party solution, and finally no synchronization at all with User Profiles being created right in SharePoint Central Administration.

To help replicate User Profile information across SharePoint Farms Microsoft created the User Profile Replication Engine in SharePoint 2010. This has not be incorporated directly into SharePoint to help with updates of the product.

New Services

These include the Application Management Service which directly related to the new SharePoint App model. This service is the internal application director for Applications deployed to on-premises.

SharePoint Translation Services allows for programmatic changes of content into a new language by using a cloud based translation service. The translation would be considered a machine translation which does not look at the context of each of the words with in a sentence or paragraph.

Work Management Services is a very cool service that will work with SharePoint 2013, Exchange 2013, and Project 2013 to aggregate tasks to be displayed in the SharePoint 2013 My Sites. This will make making your My Site a one stop shop for information that you want to see.

Office Web Application has some major changes. This has been removed from SharePoint and is not a standalone server application. It is now used to service not only SharePoint 2013 but also Exchange 2013 and Lync 2013. It also has the capability of working with File Shares or other developed applications/3rd party vendor applications. The development team also made a great improvement by getting rid of the ridiculous URL that is associated with an Office Web App document. Now you can just add ?web=1 to the end of a document URL and this will trigger Office Web App.

Web Analytics Service has been completely removed from SharePoint 2013. This has been replaced by SharePoint 2013 Search.

Other Improvements/Changes

Shredded Storage is a concept that will help overall performance as information is being stored within SQL. SharePoint 2013/SQL stores documents in 1 MB chunks. As changes are made, SharePoint will update the specific chunk that has been effected.

Lastly, the SharePoint team heard the cries from organizations that do not have enough licenses to go around. There is now the capability of setting up a specific licenses for SharePoint sites. Ultimately licenses such as standard and enterprise can be tied to a specific Active Directory security group.

A lot of interesting and cool things happening with SharePoint 2013.

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