Steve Ballmer announced this morning in his keynote Microsoft will be launching the public beta in November. Microsoft has been using the product internally with the 5000 members of their SharePoint team for a while now, but they just finished moving the rest of their 100,000 user’s sites over the weekend to test the upgrade and performance metrics of the new systems. The coolest part of the upgrade is that a site stays in 2007 mode until the Site Administrator decides it’s ready for the 2010 mode. This allows System Administrators to migrate all of the 2007 infrastructure to 2010, and then Site Administrators and consultants like us can work together to ensure the customized content will be 2010 compatible before fully switching to 2010 mode.
The coolest feature though hands down to me is that you don’t need a server product to run SharePoint anymore. What this means for an organization like ours is that developers can develop on Windows 7 or Vista and then migrate changes to a common testing environment which would likely be Windows Server. We’ll get much better performance because we won’t be splitting our processor resources between the host machine and the virtual environment. Our sales and solution managers will also be able to load up demos right on their laptops and not have to worry about running hyper-v or virtual pc to host the demos so demo’s would be much more responsive on the limited hardware of a laptop. There’s also a lot of flair built right into the out of the box UI so the OOTB experience should wow some clients too.
It’s a little disappointing that we won’t be able to bring the product back and demo anything right away, but hopefully the tradeoff will be a significantly better beta experience than what we had in 2007 and it will be easier get clients to early adopt the software.