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SharePoint Server Subscription Edition Commercially Released

Microsoft on Tuesday announced that its SharePoint Server Subscription Edition product for deployment in customer-premises environments is now at the "general availability" commercial-release stage.

The product, designed for deployment on customer infrastructure, had earlier been at the preview stage back in July. Customers install the SharePoint Server Subscription Edition bits on their own server hardware, but Microsoft leases it via a subscription.

Details about the subscription, its costs and its support model weren't mentioned in the announcement and seem to be unavailable. General Microsoft documents on SharePoint Server Subscription Edition, though, are published here.

Subscription-Based App Servers
This product release marks a new phase in how Microsoft licenses its application servers. Current SharePoint Server users can only purchase the latest SharePoint Server products by subscription now. There's no "SharePoint Server 2022" product as might be expected.

Moreover, the next Exchange Server, Skype for Business Server and Project Server products (yet to be announced) are also designated to be sold by subscription. Microsoft had described this shift of its new application server products to a subscription model last year in October

It's possible to upgrade from SharePoint Server 2019 or SharePoint Server 2016 to the SharePoint Server Subscription Edition.

SharePoint Server Subscription Edition Features
Just a few new capabilities are highlighted by Microsoft for the SharePoint Server Subscription Edition product. It gets Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.3 encryption for traffic by default, or at least TLS 1.2, but organizations will need to use Windows Server 2022 with the product to get those security protections.

Microsoft is recommending the use of Windows Server 2022, at minimum, with this product.

"Microsoft recommends deploying SharePoint Server Subscription Edition with Windows Server 2022 or higher," this Microsoft features document stated. Both Server Core and Desktop implementations of Windows Server will work with SharePoint Server Subscription Edition.

The OpenID Connect (OIDC) 1.0 authentication protocol is supported in the SharePoint Server Subscription Edition. It facilitates enforcing policies on clients prior to access, such as requiring multifactor authentication and setting conditional access preconditions. OIDC 1.0 support enables "authentication with identity providers, such as Azure Active Directory (AAD), Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) 2016 or higher, and third-party identity providers that implement the OIDC 1.0 protocol," Microsoft explained in the features document.

Microsoft added a new Remote BLOB Storage provider for use with SharePoint Server Subscription Edition. It allows organizations to offload SQL Server BLOB storage to "low-cost remote Server Message Block (SMB) systems," the features document explained.

When SharePoint Server Subscription Edition gets installed, it'll lack SQL Server Express. Microsoft suggested in this "install" document that SQL Server be installed on a separate server "for better performance."

SharePoint Ignite Improvements
Microsoft also this week published a bunch of SharePoint and Microsoft 365 product announcements associated with its Ignite online event. It consists of features both large and small from Microsoft's product roadmap listings.

That announcement didn't mention the SharePoint Server Subscription Edition product, but it did describe the latest OneDrive, Microsoft Lists, Office.com and Microsoft Teams features that have arrived or are coming.

Included in that announcement were some SharePoint Admin Center details, namely:

  • Ability to rename a SharePoint Online tenant URL name (preview).
  • OneDrive sync reports now support Mac devices.
  • IT pros can manage Teams and channel-connected team sites.
  • Migration Manager now has file scanning for Box online storage moves.
  • SharePoint Server workflows can be migrated to Power Automate directly.

On the security side, sensitivity labels are getting "more granular" at the preview stage. It's possible to use a label that requires multifactor authentication, for instance. Microsoft is also previewing new "Data Access Governance rights" to monitor sharing activities.

Overall, SharePoint users are getting faster upload (5x) and download (10x) speeds, Microsoft indicated, presumably referring to the SharePoint Online service. SharePoint Online stores 100 petabytes per month of data. Microsoft has more than 200 datacenters across 34 countries for its SharePoint Online service.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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