I attended a recent presentation by a Microsoft and it highlighted a number of interesting points in and around the upcoming version of SharePoint:
1. There will apparently be no Search Server Express 2013. The model around search in SharePoint is changing. It seems SharePoint Server 2013 Standard will search only across SharePoint sites. To enable the ability to search external data, like file shares, will require SharePoint Server Enterprise. Given that SharePoint Foundation can also search across SharePoint sites I don’t quite understand how all this fits together. Does that mean that SharePoint Server Standard search is the same as SharePoint Foundation search? What it seems to mean is that there will be no stand alone free search product.
2. To use Office Web Apps with SharePoint will require a separate server. Apparently, you can’t install SharePoint and Office Web Apps on the same piece of hardware. This is because Office Web Apps functionality can also be consumed by Exchange Server 2013. Therefore it needs a separate box.
3. SharePoint Workspace is end of life. The replacement for local sync’ing of documents will be SkyDrive Pro, which will run a small app on the local machine and create a local folder in which it will store off line material. Interestingly, this mean one less product in Office Professional Plus as well. That kinda makes it a little less valuable doesn’t it to my way of thinking? However, I would say that I couldn’t see a future for SharePoint Workspace. It was kinda a product looking for a home, somewhat like Ray Ozzie.
4. Microsoft will be releasing native apps for a range of mobile devices including iPads, iPhones, Windows Phone and Android. This was a very exciting piece of news and not unexpected given what Microsoft have done with OneNote and Lync of late. It will be very interesting to see how these apps compare to the existing third party ones. I certainly look forward to their integration with Office 365 being better.
5. The difference between SharePoint on premise and in Office 365 is slight. Not unexpected but for a smaller business that wants to take advantage of all the SharePoint goodness, including the new Office Web Apps, it now makes so much more sense to go with Office 365. The infrastructure stuff if becoming more difficult and more expensive as it ‘defaults’ to enterprise installations (with lots of hardware). If you want to get all the benefits of the latest in SharePoint without the deployment and infrastructure headaches, Office 365 is the go.
6. If you are planning to upgrade from SharePoint 2007 (MOSS or WSS v3) to SharePoint 2013 onsite you are still going to have to do it in two hops. Firstly, to 2010 then to 2013. This is the same as it was from WSS v2 to SharePoint Foundation 2010. Sigh. I understand why but it would be nice to not have to run up a “swing” migration server just to upgrade.
A number of interesting changes happening with the SharePoint product. The most interesting for me will be the native apps for mobile devices as well as Skydrive Pro functionality. When I know more I’ll post here.