What is a 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 “isolation for controlled maintenance”, “to achieve search robustness”, “fine tuned scalability”, “high-availability” etc.
Simply to say this architecture is to have a separate Search service provider from the consumer(s). We can have more than one SharePoint farm to 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 not be 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 a SharePoint 2016 & SharePoint 2013 dedicated search farm, but the only thing to keep in mind is if one of your SharePoint farm(consumer) is in SharePoint 2016, then the dedicated search farm should be planned in SharePoint 2016 only.
For example, 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, and we can troubleshoot with ease.
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 high-availability.
For this series I’m going to consider that we have four Virtual Machines(servers) for the dedicated Search farm in two physical servers.
This blog post is part 1 of 5 on Dedicated SharePoint Search farm.
- Part 1 - What is dedicated SharePoint Search farm ?
- Part 2 - Quick understanding of SharePoint 2016 Search Service Application Architecture
- Part 3 - SharePoint configurations for a Dedicated Search farm
- Part 4 - Planning and configuring Search Service Application & Search Topology
- Part 5 - Sharing the search service in the dedicated farm with other SharePoint farm