The SharePoint 2009 Conference kicked off officially yesterday with the keynotes from Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO and Jeff Teper, Corporate Vice President, Office Business Platform. If you had the time to listen to keynotes (which were streamed live), then you know Microsoft is expecting big things for SharePoint 2010 (news, site) -- not just for the enterprise but also for the web.
Read Between the Tweets
If you didn't have time to watch/listen to the SharePoint Conference 2009 keynotes, you always had Twitter to fall back on.
Yes, Twitter was all abuzz yesterday even before the keynotes began. And amazingly enough, it did not go down under the massive number of tweets. But it was hard to filter out what the key highlights were for SharePoint 2010.
The Market for SharePoint 2010
Tom Rizzo, Senior Director of Product Management for SharePoint said Microsoft thinks of SharePoint as "6 servers in 1". He said silos between workloads are breaking down and SharePoint 2010 has been designed to show the integration of these silos. That's why they call SharePoint 2010 the Business Collaboration Platform for Enterprise and the Web.
That was the actual plan for SharePoint 2007 as well, but SharePoint 2010 delivers on this integration much better.
Taking on the Web
Microsoft has huge plans for SharePoint to break down the silos between the enterprise and the web (which includes the cloud). That's right, even though their original intention for SharePoint was not for externally based websites, they have now embraced the Internet and are offering SharePoint 2010 as a single platform for your Intranet and Internet needs.
To help, they have added two new SKUs to SharePoint 2010:
- SharePoint for Internet Sites Standard: Rizzo told us that Microsoft was astounded by the adoption of SharePoint for Internet websites. They believed they had a great solution for high-end websites but at a price point that SMBs could take on. SharePoint for Internet Sites Standard is the standard on premise version.
- SharePoint Online for the Web: This is similar to SharePoint Online that exists today, but it's for internet websites. It will have both dedicated and SaaS versions, with an emphasis on shared hosting to keep costs down for SMBs.
What's in a Name, It's Still Free
Another point of interest is the renaming of the Windows SharePoint Services. Now called SharePoint Foundation 2010, it's still the free base platform for SharePoint that you get when you have Windows Servers. The renaming was for clarity.
Rizzo told us that many of the SharePoint APIs have been moved down into the base platform to enable developers to build solutions that will work on either SharePoint Foundation 2010 or SharePoint Server 2010.
As an example, you can now access the BCS (Business Connectivity Services) object model in SharePoint Foundation. Not all BCS functionality is there, but enough that you can build on it and not have to build something completely different.
Of course we wanted to know more about SharePoint's support for CMIS. And although Rizzo says Microsoft is 100% behind the standard, it's not yet clear if SharePoint 2010 will ship with support for the standard out of the box. It comes down to timing -- when will CMIS be officially certified vs when SharePoint 2010 will ship GA.
Support for Other Repositories
CMIS aside, Microsoft has opened the doors for lower level integration with other repositories. In Service Pack 2 for SharePoint 2007 they introduced EBS (External Blob Storage), something EMC announced using.
With SharePoint 2010, Microsoft offers RBS -- Remote Blob Storage. SharePoint now provides the ability for storage providers to connect to SharePoint and store data outside the SQL Server repository. This means enterprises who have invested a lot of time and money into SAN, NAS or file stores can use this storage for SharePoint data.
Partnering with the SQL Server team, SharePoint ensures the transparent communication between blob storage outside of SQL Server and the metadata stored inside SQL Server.
Microsoft is actively working with RBS Providers so that solutions are ready to go with known storage vendors.
More Social Computing Capabilities
Another thing we were interested in was the increase in social computing capabilities in SharePoint 2010. Is there enough there that the numerous social computing partners will be left in the cold? Not so, says Rizzo.
Microsoft has actively briefed their partners in their plans for SharePoint 2010, providing partners the opportunity to develop their solutions to enhance what comes out of the box. In some cases, we will see an increase in the number of vertical solutions.
But even more importantly, partners provide value-add in the form of best practices, centers of excellence and consulting services.
Time to Digest It All
The changes that have come with SharePoint 2010 are numerous. So many, that Rizzo says it will take awhile to digest all the new enhancements. We have, through the sneak peeks (Read our Business Platform sneak peek and our Developer/IT sneak peek) covered many of the new features, but that was only a sample of what's in the platform.
The developer improvements are numerous, with the one of the most important ones being that developers no longer need a virtual environment for working with SharePoint -- Windows Vista or Windows 7 will be supported.
And there were a lot of other enhancements around built in support for rich media, web content management, business connectivity services and more.
As the conference continues our bloggers will provide more details on SharePoint 2010. So stay tuned, and while you are waiting, tell us what stood out as important to you?