SharePoint 2010 release date – is it that important?

There has been lots of excitement in the SharePoint community over the last few days as Microsoft have announced the official release date of SharePoint 2010. May 12th is the date for your diaries (RTM in April.)

The twittersphere has been telling everyone for the last few days about this news and there is much excitement.

The major conferences this year all seem to have a SharePoint 2010 focus and some are entirely focused on the new product.

Now by all accounts Microsoft have plugged some significant functionality gaps that exist in WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007 and provided some exciting new functionality.  You don’t need me to tell you about these as the MVPs (and other community members) are doing a sterling job, after all that is why Microsoft has MVPs in the first place.

Lets get real for a second though as there is a significant investment involved in moving to SharePoint 2010: 

  • Firstly you need 64 bit architecture across the board, now for some environments that is no inconsequential hurdle, that’s a pretty significant roadblock.  
  • The development farm, test farm and UAT farm are all going to require the same infrastructure upgrades.
  • To take advantage of the tooling for SP2010 you will need to upgrade to Visual Studio 2010 and your development team is going to require 64 bit hardware/OS too. 
    I would not recommend installing SP 2010 in client installation mode (i.e. for Windows 7) on your developer machines, I would use this for demo machines only.
  • Something that lots of people seem to forget in all their whooping and hollering about the new release is that there is a large amount of end user training going to be required as the browser UI has now adopted the omnipotent ribbon interface and there are other new and more complicated features.
  • SharePoint Designer has also entirely changed in both look and feel and some significant feature changes have taken place.
  • Lest we should forget that some companies have not long upgraded to MOSS 2007 and are yet to see a significant ROI for that project. And the reticence that most companies feel about implementing v1 Microsoft products. 

This is only the surface of the deeper issues which would be involved in any upgrade process, so I guess I share a small part of the concern voiced by Mark Miller.

Is SharePoint 2010 relevant?

I don’t share this sentiment in its entirety as I firmly believe that all companies should be looking at SharePoint 2010 from day one, however most large scale existing implementations of MOSS 2007 are going to be several years away from a serious upgrade project.  So should the conference organisers and the SharePoint community as a whole be a little more understanding of the real world issues?  It’s easy to get carried away in the excitement of a new product and new tools to play with but there needs to be a focus on the real world issues that most people are facing day to day and at the moment and for the short term future (at the very least the next 12 months) that is fairly and squarely in the WSS 2.0/3.0 and SPS 2003/MOSS 2007 camps.

Don’t get me wrong, I am very very excited about getting to grips with SharePoint 2010 in the real world and I cannot wait for my first real project to come along, but for now I am just being realistic about the reality for most people who work with SharePoint.

I have been spending a lot of time on www.sharepointoverflow.com recently as there is a community of people building up who are committed to answering the real world questions that folks are dealing with every day.  I urge you to take a look and either ask or answer some questions direct from the front line of the SharePoint world.