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Dedicated Search Farm in SharePoint 2016 (or 2013) - Part 1

What is Dedicated SharePoint Search Farm ?

A dedicated SharePoint 2016 (0r 2013) Search farm will be a separate SharePoint farm and will have only Search role in it and of course it will have SharePoint CA service. Reasons to go for a dedicated SharePoint search farm can be from “controlled maintenance” to “achieve search robustness”.

Simply to say this architecture is to have a separate Search service provider and consumer(s). We can have more than one SharePoint farm consume the search service, and also the search farm can index a regular file server, non-SharePoint based content management system etc. Advantage is that the Search service will be robust and is not dependent on the existing SharePoint infrastructure.

Throughout this series we will refer to the Search service in the dedicated search farm as Publisher, Search Provider, Service Application or Service Provider. And the farm that uses(consumes) this search service will be called as consumer.

Planning for Dedicated Search Farm

There is no difference in configuring SharePoint 2016 & SharePoint 2013 dedicated search farm(but few extra steps than regular), and the only thing to keep in mind is if one of your SharePoint farm that is a consumer of this dedicated search farm is 2016, then the dedicated search farm should be planned in SharePoint 2016 only. Ie., if you have three SharePoint farms that are going to consume the dedicated search farm service, and even one in that three is in SharePoint 2016, then the dedicated Search Farm should be installed on SharePoint 2016 only.

Installing and configuring a dedicated Search farm isn’t hard; in fact it’s easier than having the search in an existing multi role farm because it’s not congested with other service instances.

For a resilient search farm design, the production infrastructure should be planned with at least two physical servers (maybe hosting multiple VMs). And each search component will have it’s instance in all the physical servers for a better failover.

For this series I’m going to consider that we have four Virtual Machines(servers) for the dedicated Search farm in two physical servers.

  1. VMSrch01
  2. VMSrch02
  3. VMSrch03
  4. VMSrch01

This article is part 1 of a series on Dedicated SharePoint Search farm.