SharePoint 2016 May Have RTM Release on March 14
A recent report suggested that SharePoint Server 2016 is headed for a March 14 "release-to-manufacturing" release.
The suggestion comes from this CMS Wire story, citing a Twitter post by a Microsoft program manager. The RTM of Office Online Server (OOS) also is expected to happen on March 14.
"OOS should be RTM by March 14th (together with SharePoint 2016 RTM)," wrote Gregory Appel, a senior program manager in Excel for the Microsoft Israel Development Center, per the Twitter post. "No additional OOS RCs [release candidates] will be published until the RTM date."
RTM is old jargon signifying that the software bits are ready to be imaged on new hardware prior to the initial product sales period, which is known as "general availability." Currently, SharePoint Server 2016 is at the "release candidate" stage, which traditionally has signified that the product is at the feature-complete stage and is undergoing final bug testing.
In response to a query, a Microsoft spokesperson did not confirm the March 14 RTM date, but did indicate that the release of SharePoint Server 2016 was presently on track.
"GA of SharePoint Server 2016 remains on track for this spring," the spokesperson indicated via e-mail today. "RTM will precede GA, as is customary with SharePoint releases. We don't have a specific date for RTM to confirm at this time."
SharePoint Server 2016 originally was targeted for product release in Q2 of this year. However, late last year, Bill Baer, Microsoft's senior technical product manager on SharePoint, revised that timeline and indicated that the release would happen earlier in Q1.
The coincidence of SharePoint Server 2016 and Office Online Server being released on the same day may not be much of a coincidence. Microsoft MVP Vlad Catrinescu recently suggested in a talk that "hybrid" SharePoint deployments likely will need Office Online Server (formerly known as "Office Web Apps Server") to support many of SharePoint's features.
However, so far, Microsoft hasn't specified that Office Online Server as a requirement for deploying SharePoint Server 2016. Baer listed the requirement for SharePoint Server 2016 back in May in this blog post.
Office Online Server is a standalone server that gets run on the customer's premises to host Office Web Apps (such as Excel, PowerPoint and Word running in a browser), although Microsoft now refers to them as "Office on the Web" apps. Baer explained back in September that Microsoft will be deprecating some Excel Services content in favor of Office Online Server. Excel Services typically are used to show workbooks on SharePoint 2013 dashboards and portals.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.