Friday, March 11, 2011

Configuring Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2010

We all have to agree that search plays an integral part of any successful SharePoint deployment and is an area that Microsoft continues to invest in with each new release of SharePoint. 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 utilise 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 utilising 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 link overview of the components that will make up our SharePoint 2010 search configuration. 

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