A Tour of SharePoint 2013 Search Part 1

This post covers Search after configuring the service application… see instructions for configuring the service application here…


This is part one of a series of Search Posts that will cover SharePoint 2013 Search in detail.  One important note right off is that Fast Search is SharePoint 2013 Search.  Another important note is that it is very resource intensive, so you are going to want to run minimum specs or better in a production environment.


Also, whatever you do, DO NOT set your virus scanner to scan search data folders in real-time and do not use dynamic RAM allocation for Search Servers.  They couldn’t have been more clear about this at the conference.  Another tip I picked up from the conference is that 10 Million items is your threshold for needing to move from single server environment to one in which the search components are distributed between multiple servers.

To Access the Search Service Application … Click on manage service applications under Application Management on the Central Admin home page.

From here click on your Search Service Application’s name to link to the Search Administration Screen


The first thing to note is that you can change your Default content access account by clicking on the account name.  This will bring this up…


You can change the contact email address for crawls by clicking on the current email address.

You can add a proxy server for federation by clicking on none next to Proxy server for crawling and federation…  I believe this is something that you would need to set up if you wanted to set up Hybrid Search between SharePoint on-premise and SharePoint Online, but that is something I need to look into further, and set up for myself in order to confirm.


You can disable search alert status and query logging, and you can change your global search center URL.

If you scroll down you are presented with the Search application Topology


The Search Application Topology lists your Search Components and databases.

Starting from the top…

The Admin component runs all the system processes that search needs in order to function.  You can have multiple Admin components in your farm, but only one can be active at any given time.

The Crawl component is what is used to crawl content based off of settings stored in the crawl database/s.  You can add crawl components in order to increase crawl performance.

The Content processing component processes crawled items before passing them on to the index component.  This is where documents are parsed and properties are mapped etc…

The Analytics processing component handles search and usage analytics.

The Query processing component handles all analysis and processing of search queries and results.

Index partitions are a means by which to divide up the index.  Index partitions are stored on disk.  Index partitions collectively make up the Search Index.

Index replicas are exactly what they sound like.  Really they are Index partition replicas.  Each replica has an index component attached to it.  Creating replicas is a means by which to achieve fault tolerance in that you have two or more replicas of an Index partition that live on different servers, so that is one server goes down that portion of the index is still available.

The Administration database is where all of your configuration data is stored.  You will have one and only one of these.

The Analytics reporting database stores your search usage analytics results.

The Crawl database is your crawl history store and crawl operation manager.  You can have multiple crawl databases and each one can have one or more crawl components associated with it.

Finally you’ll have a Link database which stores data extracted by your content processing component as well as click-through data.

Additional components and databases must be created via Powershell and that subject warrants its own post.

There is quite a bit of information out on Technet, and some of the info from this post came from diagrams that can be found at…


This ends part one… I’m hoping to have time to get the other parts of this up soon, so stay tuned.


SharePoint 2013 Online Preview Site Live


Please go check out my SharePoint 2013 Online Public Site.  I’ve just made it live and will be using it for demo purposes.  Feel free to click around and check out what SharePoint 2013 Online Public Sites have to offer.

SharePoint 2013 Community Sites

Over the last few years I’ve heard several complaints that SharePoint doesn’t offer a worthwhile discussion board.  It appears that Microsoft has heard as well, and it looks like they listened.

Allow me to introduce the SharePoint 2013 Community Site.  This a new site collection template that is available both on premise and in the cloud.

I spent a little bit of time creating some discussions, so I could get an idea of what it looked like with content etc.

This is the result of clicking on one of the discussions

Seems pretty standard, looks pretty clean and gives the user the chance to reply, like or “Most Like”.  It also indicates if a response is most liked.

Next I’m going to go through the community tools:

Note I am an admin, so I can see everything, other user levels will not see all of this.  I’m not going to go into detail about each user’s view etc.

Let’s start from the top, clicking on Manage discussions brings me here:

This screen gives you details about discussion posts and allows you to edit or delete them.  On the far right you can see, well maybe you can’t because it is blurry, “Is Featured Discussion”.  Setting this will move your discussion to the top of its category.  Well, that is what it is supposed to do, but when I click on it, it actually does nothing.  I’m sure this will be fixed at some point before launch.  To get to this option I had to select a discussion and then click on Moderation n the ribbon.

Next we’ll take a look at categories and how to create them.   If you have a knowledgebase you’ll likely have it organized into categories to make it more useful for your users.

First we’ll look at the categories page.  Notice each category is represented by a tile.  Also, notice that in order to create a category you would need to click on Create categories in the Community tools box.

Hovering over a tile displays additional info about the category it represents.

Next we’ll look at how to assign badges to members.  You’ll find a link under Community Tools that you can click, Assign Badges to members.  Badges can only be assigned to members, and can’t be earned.

Clicking Give Badge results in a screen that has a drop down filled with the available badges.  Next we are going to go through the reputation settings which, among other things, is where you have to go in order to create new Badges.

Click on Reputation settings in the Community tools box.  Here you are presented with all of your rating options and can edit whatever you need to.

The last item in Community Tools is Community settings.  From here you can set the Established date, Enable auto-approval, and enable reporting of offensive content.

In the left navigation there is a Members link that is shows you each member, their reputation information, and give you a more detailed view of your reputation scores etc

That pretty much sums it up.  All in all it looks like MS has provided a worthwhile, feature rich discussion board site.  In my opinion this is a vast improvement over what was available in previous versions.