Microsoft: SharePoint Server 2016 feature packs are coming

Microsoft isn't ceasing delivery of SharePoint features to users who want and need to use the product on premises. Multiple feature-pack updates to SharePoint Server 2016 are on the roadmap.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft officials have said it before and they're saying it again: SharePoint 2016 is not the last on-premises release of SharePoint.


Microsoft made generally available starting May 2 its latest SharePoint release. MSDN and volume licensees were able to download the bits that Microsoft released to manufacturing in mid-March

Microsoft plans to make available to SharePoint 2016 users even more features beyond what's in the current release in calendar 2017, officials confirmed on May 4. Microsoft plans to make at least one feature pack of updates available in 2017 through its "Public Update Channel."

In order to qualify to get these updates, users will need to be covered by Microsoft's Software Assurance volume-licensing plan. Microsoft will update those who qualify "through our update process when new innovation is available and provide the option for those customers to selectively enable those features," Microsoft officials said on May 4.

The focus of the 2016 release of SharePoint Server is on hybrid-computing scenarios, especially in search, officials have said. It also will add more data security and compliance support and better access to mobile content and applications. Many of the features in this release of SharePoint Server are already available in SharePoint Online.

It sounds like Microsoft has plans for more than just one feature pack for SharePoint Server, based on the company's blog post from today. What's not clear is exactly when the next full release of SharePoint Server (after 2016) is planned. Here's what the Softies are saying:

"While our innovation will be delivered to Office 365 first, we will provide many of the new experiences and frameworks to SharePoint Server 2016 customers with Software Assurance through Feature Packs. This means you won't have to wait for the next version of SharePoint Server to take advantage of our cloud-born innovation in your datacenter."
Microsoft officials did say again today that SharePoint Server 2016 won't be the last on-premises release of the product, however.

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