Monday, May 23, 2011

Configuring Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2010

The Microsoft went as far as acquiring FAST 2 years ago which it now offers as a separate add-on to SharePoint for those willing to invest in high end enterprise search. In addition to FAST, SharePoint 2010 search comes in a number of flavors each offering their own feature set and capabilities which I have duplicated at the end of this article as an Appendix for convenience.

Today we will introduce SharePoint Server 2010 Search and eventually work our way up to Microsoft’s latest and greatest FAST Search Server in a near future article. Before we deep dive into the step by step guide I will begin by listing some of the new features that you will come to expect from SharePoint Server 2010 Search. These are as follows;

  • Boolean query syntax has finally been introduced. These include AND, OR and NOT operators in your search queries.
  • Suggestions whilst typing and after running search queries, a feature that we have come to love with major search engines such as Google and Bing.
  • Integrating SharePoint enterprise search with Windows 7, allowing end users to utilize the Windows 7 search box to locate SharePoint 2010 content.
  • Results display has been refined to provide filters for search results such as document type, categories and managed properties.
  • View in Browser capabilities, allows end users to view documents within their own browser utilizing Office Web Apps and not having to rely on launching the necessary Microsoft Office Application, or even the need of having it installed on their local machine. This is handy when browsing your SharePoint site via Kiosks and Internet Cafes that may not be running the Microsoft Office Suite.
  • Last but not least, there have been a number of improvements to People Search, including phonetic name and nickname matching, and improved relevance and self search.

Now that we have a taste for what’s to come, let’s begin our configuration.

SharePoint Server Search is a service application which we have come to learn about over the past few articles that it is independent of other services and is no longer tied to the Shared Services Provider (SSP) that was introduced in SharePoint 2007.

SharePoint 2010 search architecture is made up of the Crawler, Indexing Engine, Query Engine and the User Interface and Query Object Model. We now have greater flexibility and expandability with our search design in 2010 and can setup not only multiple Query Servers but can now scale out our Index server and add multiple instances.

Below is a logical overview of the components that will make up our SharePoint 2010 search configuration.

image thumb20 Configuring Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2010

Configuring the Service Application

As always we begin our journey in Central Administration / Application Management / Manage Service Applications.

Click New / Search Service Application.

Name: Enter a name for your Service Application.

FAST Service Application: Select “None” (we will leave the configuration of FAST for a future article)image thumb21 Configuring Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2010

Search Service Account: Click on Register new managed account and ensure your domain account has already been provisioned in Active Directory. I have created a separate search account; e.g. DOMAIN\sp_search

image thumb22 Configuring Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2010

Application Pool for Search Admin Web Service: Create a new application pool for your search admin web service application.

image thumb23 Configuring Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2010

Application Pool for Search Query and Site Settings Web Service: Create a new application pool for your search query web service application.

image thumb24 Configuring Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2010

Click Create

The search service application will begin its configuration process.

image thumb25 Configuring Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2010

You will eventually be presented with confirmation that the search service application was created successfully.

If we now navigate back to Application Management / Manage Service Applications, you will notice that 2 additional services have been added to our list. These are;

  1. Search Service Application (Typical Search Administration page which is similar to that in SharePoint 2007. From here we can create content crawl rules, reset indexes, setup content sources etc).
  2. WSS_UsageApplication (This is a new service in SharePoint 2010 that specifically handles our Usage and Health Data Collection Service Application. This service application handles web analytics such as usage, search query usage, rating usage etc More on this in a future article).

Let’s now launch the Search Administration page by clicking on our Search Service Application.

image thumb26 Configuring Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2010

Our Default content access account should be set to the account that we had specified at the time of provisioning the Search Service Application; i.e. DOMAIN\sp_search

Confirming Permissions

There are a couple of areas to note that we should check to ensure that our Default content access account (sp_search) has been provided with the appropriate access permissions. Let’s first begin by checking our User Profile Service Application by Navigating to Service Applications / User Profiles. Just highlight the User Profiles and select Administrators from the ribbon.

image thumb37 Configuring Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2010

Our newly provisioned sp_search account should have “Retrieve People Data for Search Crawlers” selected as a permission.

image thumb38 Configuring Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2010

We will also confirm that our sp_search account has the necessary “Read” permissions against the Web Applications being crawled.

Navigate to Central Administration / Application Management / Manage Web Applications. Again, highlight the Web Application in question and from the ribbon select User Policy.

image thumb39 Configuring Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2010

Ensure that the Search Crawling Account is set to the sp_search domain account.

image thumb40 Configuring Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2010

Content Sources

Let’s venture into our content sources listed in the Quick Launch navigation bar under Crawling.

As was the case with SharePoint 2007, our Local SharePoint sites will be detected by default, albeit without a crawl schedule.

image thumb27 Configuring Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2010

Check to see that your Start Addresses are located within your content source via editing the content source from the drop down menu. These includes all SharePoint Web Applications and the sps3 “User Profiles” address.

image thumb28 Configuring Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2010

You can easily create your crawl schedule by clicking on Local SharePoint sites and scrolling down to Crawl Schedules.

image thumb29 Configuring Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2010

Let’s initiate a Full Crawl by clicking on Start all Crawls from the Manage Content Sources page.

Once your crawl has completed, you should confirm that there were no errors encountered during the initial crawl. Usually any errors noted are most likely due to incorrect permission assignments.

Creating a “Basic Search Center” Site

If you haven’t done so already, from your top level site, click on Site Actions / New Site.

Select “Basic Search Center”

image thumb30 Configuring Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2010

Enter a Name and URL and click on Create.

This will provision the Search Center similar to the below.

image thumb31 Configuring Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2010

Creating an “Enterprise Search Center” Site

Let’s also create an Enterprise Search Center for comparison. The key difference here is that we are provided with two tabs for searching, one for Sites and the other for People. The “Enterprise Search Center” will be the search site of choice for most organizations running SharePoint Server.

From Central Administration / Application Management / Site Collections, click on Create site collections. Ensure you are creating the Site Collection below the relevant Web Application.

Enter your Title, Description etc and select the Enterprise Tab under Template selection. Select the Enterprise Search Center, specify your site collection administrators and click OK.

image thumb32 Configuring Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2010

This will provision the Enterprise Search Center similar to the below.

image thumb33 Configuring Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2010

As we have already completed an initial Full crawl earlier, I can now test my new search centers by performing a couple of searches.

Searching Content

image thumb34 Configuring Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2010

Searching People

image thumb35 Configuring Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2010

Now I ran into an issue when trying to search for content located in My Sites. The crawl log displayed the following warning;

“This item and all items under it will not be crawled because the owner has set the NoCrawl flag to prevent it from being searchable”

In order to fix this issue (and this is true for any Site Collection), is to navigate to your My Site host and click on Site Actions / Site Settings.

Click on “Search and offline availability” under Site Administration, and ensure that you have Indexing Site Content, Allow this site to appear in search results? set to “Yes”.

image thumb36 Configuring Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2010

After enabling the indexing of My Sites, I was able to successfully perform My Site Content searches and the warning disappeared from the Crawl Log.

That’s all that is to it in setting up a search center in its most basic form. From here you can expand your service applications over multiple servers providing you with redundancy, scalability and increased performance . Until next time, happy searching


Technet :: Getting Started with Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2010 Products


SharePoint Versions Search Comparison

Feature SharePoint Foundation 2010Search Server 2010 ExpressSearch Server 2010SharePoint Server 2010FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint
Basic site searchYYYYY
Best Bets
Visual Best Bets

Similar Results

Duplicate Results

Search Scopes
Search Enhancement based on user context

Crawled and Managed Properties
Query Federation
Query Suggestions
Sort Results on Managed Properties or Rank Profiles

Relevancy Tuning by Document or Site Promotions
Shallow Results Refinement
Deep Results Refinement

Document Preview

Windows 7 Federation
People Search

Social Search

Taxonomy Integration

Multi-Tenant Hosting

Rich Web Indexing Support


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