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What are the biggest differences between the latest SharePoint versions?

You can deploy SharePoint 2016 from the cloud via Office 365, on premises or as a stand-alone online product. Here's how to decide which version is best for your company.

Prior to Microsoft's big move to the Office 365 cloud model years ago, the company offered different SharePoint...

versions tailored to businesses of various sizes and maturity levels. Companies moving to the Office 365 cloud suite to get tools for collaboration, productivity, communication and more, will find Microsoft only offers one version of the SharePoint platform in those cloud suites.

This is great for small- and midsize companies because they can gain access to enterprise functionality at a much lower cost than they would by building their own SharePoint farm on premises.

Customers weighing SharePoint Online collaboration or on-premises SharePoint versions will find that the online edition eliminates the need for complex infrastructure behind the scenes. On average, a basic installation of SharePoint, based on best practices, requires six servers, including database servers, SharePoint servers and web front-end servers.

The decision to deploy SharePoint on premises or in a hybrid cloud environment, instead of the Office 365 cloud version, can be made if the answer to one of more of the following three questions is yes:

  • Does the organization need to store and maintain its data within its on-premises environment due to security and compliance requirements?
  • Are there many on-premises files that are too large to keep online, and that would take too long to open when users click on them?
  • Are there any third-party add-ons or apps that are business-critical, and that are not compatible with SharePoint Online?

If your company doesn't want to invest in an Office 365 plan with SharePoint Online, there are two on-premises SharePoint versions to choose from: the Standard and Enterprise server editions.

Content and Insight features

SharePoint Server
2016 Standard CAL

SharePoint Server
2016 Enterprise CAL

eDiscovery Hold

No

Yes

eDiscovery Export

No

Yes

Preservation hold library

No

Yes

Business Intelligence Center

No

Yes

Data Connection Library

No

Yes

Excel Services

No

Yes

Excel Web Part for SharePoint

No

Yes

ODC File Support

No

Yes

PerformancePoint Services

No

Yes

PerformancePoint Services (PPS) Dashboard Migration

No

Yes

Power View for Excel in SharePoint

No

Yes

PowerPivot for Excel in SharePoint

No

Yes

Scorecards & Dashboards

No

Yes

Scheduled data refresh

No

Yes

SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) Integrated Mode

Yes

Yes

User-defined function assemblies

No

Yes

Using another workbook's model as a data source

No

Yes

Visio Services

No

Yes

The two SharePoint 2016 editions offer all the same features for IT professionals, but there are differences around content and insight features and functionality.

The chart above highlights features included in the Enterprise SharePoint 2016 version that are not in the Standard edition. A full comparison of all the features can be downloaded from TechNet.

Next Steps

Sorting through Office 365 and SharePoint Online redundancies

SharePoint paved the way for Office 365 success

Navigating the Office 365 and SharePoint hybrid roadmap

This was last published in September 2017

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Which version of SharePoint have you deployed, and why?
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