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SharePoint Server 2016 Installation

The report of my death was an exaggeration – Mark Twain & SharePoint Server On-Premises
SharePoint Server On-Premises was, in the recent past, presumed obsolete. While Office 365 and Cloud Computing are juggernauts, compelling use cases continue to exists for On-Premises deployment. Realizing this need, Microsoft is working toward a Q1 2016 release of SharePoint Server 2016. As of this post, the Beta 2 bits have been released.  This post focuses on the architecture, installation and configuration of SharePoint Server 2016.
What’s Different?
By design, SharePoint Server 2016 is highly compatible with and consistent with SharePoint Server 2013. Notable differences are as follows:

  • More granular/supportable deployment model including Single Node Farm and Min Role Deployment
  • SharePoint Foundation install obsoleted
  • Microsoft Identity Manager replaces Forefront Identity Management

As for previous posts for SharePoint 2010 and 2013, I was interested in validating techniques for automated installation of SharePoint Server. The good news – automated installations continue to be well supported with familiar tools and infrastructure.
Near-Term Approach
In order to quickly build a development/test/proof-of-concept SharePoint Server 2016 Farm, a combination of Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and AutoSPInstaller works well.  To utilize the Auzre infrastructure, the architecture described in Microsoft Azure Architectures for SharePoint 2013 is still applicable as is  the AutoSPInstaller (which has been updated to support SharePoint Server 2016). The specific steps to configure a SharePoint Server 2016 Farm are as follows:

  1. Azure Virtual Network – provision a simple Virtual Network (VNet)
  2. Active Directory DNS Server Host – provision a Windows 2012 Server VM into the VNet; configure the server to server as an  Active Directory Domain Controller and DNS Server
  3. SQL Server 2014 – provision a SQL Server 2104 VM into the VNet to host SharePoint Server databases using SQL Server 2014
  4. SharePoint Server Farm Host – provision a Windows 2012 Server VM into the VNet to host SharePoint Applications and Services
  5. Execute AutoSPSourceBuilder – used to assemble both the pre-requisite files and SharePoint executable required by AutoSPInstaller
  6. Execute AutoSPInstaller – used to configure the virtual servers into a working single node farm including web applications and services

Notes

  • After provisioning of the Active Directory DNS Server (step 2 above), the server must be configured as DNS server for the VNet
  • Prior to the execution of AutoSPInstaller (step 6 above), the required domain accounts can be created via a PowerShell Script

Next Steps

  • Hybrid Configuration – Hybrid (Office 365 and On-Premises) configurations support the most compelling use cases for SharePoint Server 2016 .  These configuration involve additional services and setup that could be easily automated
  • Desired State Configuration (DSC) – the AutoSPInstaller logic could be re-factored to take advantage of the Windows Server PowerShell DSC approach to server configuration specification
  • Azure Resource Manager (ARM) – within the current Azure environment, ARM templates exists that provide  “macros” which allows easy creation of both a High Availability and non-High Availability SharePoint 2013 Server Farm.  ARM could be used to provide a similar “turn-key” approach for SharePoint Server 2106, using the components mentioned above

 

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