For our example here, we are going to have four VMs for the dedicated search farm in which we will install SharePoint 2016 and provision the SharePoint farm to start with.
Installing SharePoint on the VMs
I’m assuming you have installed SharePoint before(if not there are lot of articles on the internet for reference). Mostly here we are going to discuss how to set the search role to the server(VMs) which already have SharePoint installed but not configured(ie., No PSConfig / Config wizard is run) and clean any unwanted services. If you are going to resuse an existing SharePoint server ensure you run Config Wizard and remove it from the existing SharePoint farm it is connected to.
For our example the servers are named as VMSrch01, VMSrch02, VMSrch03 & VMSrch04. Assuming it has SharePoint 2016 installed on it. Ensure the firewall/ports are open for communication between the servers.
Provisioning the new dedicated SharePoint Search farm on a VM
This is where we are going to create a separate SharePoint farm from scratch on a VM. All the four VMs have SharePoint installed but none of it is configured. In this step we will provision a SharePoint farm on one of the VMs and add the remaining servers to that farm.
To start with we should run PSConfig/Config Wizard - to setup one of the servers and later we can join the rest of them in the farm.
I used VMSrch01 to start provisioning, and named the SQL DB as SPConfigDB_DedicatedSearchFarm.
Also while configuring the first VM to create the SP Farm - do choose the server role to be search. When configuring SP in the first VM - you will be asked to provide a passphrase for the farm; which is required at the later stage while adding other servers, so do save it.
Add the servers to the new farm & cleaning(Fix) the unwanted services
Once the first VM is configured and the new search Farm is created, we can go ahead and add the remaining servers in the farm. Either we can run the Config Wizard or use Powershell to add a server to the farm. If you choose to use powershell, the sample I used is here.
Once all the servers are added goto Servers in Farm page : Central Admin > System Settings > Manage servers in this farm. You can see all the added servers in there. And the list of associated services that are running on those servers. This will vary depending on a new installation or reusing an existing one. Don’t worry about that.
Cleaning(Fix) the unwanted services
If you notice the above image, role column states Search - which is what we wanted.
But in the complaint column it says No (Fix).
What it means is the newly added servers already have services like MS SP Foundation Incoming Email, MS SP Foundation Web Application, MS SP Foundation Workflow Timer Service etc. For a search role all these are not required. So if we go ahead and click that Fix link, internally in each of those SharePoint servers, unwanted services will be stopped. Again, unwanted services here means, the services that are not required for SEARCH Role! For example you don’t want to have the ability to host a Web Application on this farm as it is dedicated for the Search Farm.
So go ahead and click fix on each of those servers
Central Administration website will be available only on the first server where the farm was provisioned(in my case it’s VMSrch01). To have high-availability for the CA sites, we can spin one more instance of it in any of the servers. Let’s consider we have two physical servers and two VMs in each, then make sure the CA is present in at least one of the VMs in each physical server.
So goto Services on Server page( Central Admin > System Settings > Services on Server), and select the server you want to start the CA, and look for the Central Administration row; in the action column of that row - click Start. In few minutes the CA website will be provisioned in that server too.
Now we have created the SharePoint farm with all the servers added to the new farm & removed the unwanted services.
In the next blog post we will discuss about creating a Search Topology.
This blog post is part 3 of 5 on Dedicated SharePoint Search farm.
- Part 1 - 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