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Article – Enabling Continuous Crawling in SharePoint 2013 Search

Posted by Joy

Crawling is the mechanism which SharePoint Search uses to go through all the items in a given content source and build an Index. All the search queries get executed against the Index to provide the search result. Outcome of the search always depends on the freshness of the Index. In other words, if the Index is very fresh/ recent, we have the ability of pulling fresh/ recent content as part of the search query. If the Index is very old/ outdated, search result will contain outdated search results.

SharePoint used to provide 02 mechanisms to crawl content from a content source – Full crawl and Incremental crawl.

  • Full crawl – this forces SharePoint to go through the entire content source, no matter what is the status of the Index and traverse through all the items from the first item through the last item and re-build the Index. This is what we do as the very first thing after we add a new content source. Time it takes to complete a full crawl is always depends on the volume of the content. If the volume is high, we don’t recommend running frequent full crawls.
  • Incremental crawl – this instructs SharePoint crawler to crawl only the modified content (added/ changed/ deleted) from the last full or incremental crawl. This takes less time to crawl since it doesn’t have to traverse through the entire content source and crawl the entire content source.

Most of the organizations, schedule incremental crawls depending on how frequent their content get updated. Incremental crawl starts at a particular time and repeats regularly at specified times.

SharePoint 2013 introduces an alternate option for incremental crawls – Continuous crawl.

  • Continuous crawl – this is a new option in SharePoint 2013 and it applies only to SharePoint Sites. Like incremental crawls, a continuous crawl crawls content that was added, changed, or deleted since the last crawl. Unlike incremental crawls, continuous crawl automatically starts at predefined time intervals. The default time interval is 15 minutes. This is the ideal option for crawling SharePoint content that is changing quickly/ frequently. With this, we can ensure freshness of Index and search result.
Configuring continuous crawl
  • Open SharePoint 2013 Central Administration web site
  • Select Manage service applications option from Application Management section
  • Select Search Service Application instance
  • Select Content Sources link under Search Administration links in left hand side
  • Select either New Content Source or your existing SharePoint content source
  • Select Enable Continuous Crawls for Crawl Schedules option and click OK.Crawl Schedules

Article – Configuring PerformancePoint Services (PPS) in SharePoint 2013

Posted by Joy

What is PerformancePoint Services (PPS)?

As per TechNet:

PerformancePoint Services in SharePoint Server 2013 is a performance management service that you can use to monitor and analyze your business. By providing flexible, easy-to-use tools for building dashboards, scorecards, and key performance indicators (KPIs), PerformancePoint Services can help individuals across an organization make informed business decisions that align with companywide objectives and strategy.

PerformancePoint Services lets you create rich dashboards, aggregating content from multiple sources and displaying it in a web browser in an understandable and collaborative environment. The rich interactivity of the dashboards lets you to analyze the latest information and work with the data quickly and easily to identify key opportunities and trends. PerformancePoint Services and its authoring tool Dashboard Designer let you display key performance indicators (KPIs) and data visualizations in the form of scorecards, analytic reports, and filters. You can integrate with SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS)and Excel Services in addition to create scorecards that bring together data from multiple data sources to track and monitor key drivers of your business.

Configuring PerformancePoint Services is very easy if you have experience already configuring services such as Excel Services, Secure Store Services, PowerPivot, etc…

In this article I’m trying to help you with the various information which are required for configuring PerformancePoint Services service application.

Prerequisites for configuring PPS:

  • SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise – before we get started with the configuration of PPS, we need to make sure that we have SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise edition in order to use PPS. PPS is available only with the Enterprise edition of SharePoint Server.
  • ADOMD.NET – SharePoint 2013 Prerequisites Installer installs ADOMD.NET 9.0 automatically in to your environment. However, PPS requires ADOMD.NET 10 and ADOMD.NET 11 to be installed in your environment.
Task 1 – Verify what version of ADOMD.NET is installed in your environment
  • Navigate to C:\Program Files\Microsoft.NET\ADOMD.NET\
  • If you have ADOMD.NET 9, ADOMD.NET 10 and ADOMD.NET 11 installed, you will see something similar to the followingADOMD.NET install folder
  • If you don’t have either 100 or 110 folders, which means you don’t have either ADOMD.NET 10 or ADOMD.NET 11 installed in your environment. Depending on the version you need to install, you can use either of the following links to download and install ADOMD.NET:
Task 2 – Grant Application Pool Service Account access to SharePoint Content Database
  • Open SharePoint 2013 Management Shell. Make sure to Run as Administrator.
  • Grant application pool service account access to the content database using following cmdlets
    $webApp = Get-SPWebApplication


Task 3 – Create PerformancePoint Service Application instance
  • Open SharePoint 2013 Central Administration web site
  • Navigate to Manage service applications page from Application Management section
  • Select New from the Create group in the ribbon and select PerformancePoint Service ApplicationNew service application
  • Enter a Name, Database Server, Database Name and Application Pool details and click Create.Capture2
  • Click OK in the service application instance creation conformation page
Task 4 – Start PerformancePoint Services service
  • Open SharePoint 2013 Central Administration web site
  • Navigate to Manage services on server from System Settings section
  • Check the status of the Performance Point Service service. Start it if it’s not started already.

Article – Anonymous Crawl Configuration in SharePoint 2013

Posted by Joy

SharePoint 2013 introduces a new approach for passing credentials to Search Crawler for crawling public-facing sites with Anonymous authentication. SharePoint Search requires a user account for being able to crawl content. One of the bottlenecks we had to deal with SharePoint 2010 Search was difficulty of crawling public-facing sites with Anonymous authentication. SharePoint 2010 requires a user account for crawling content from sites, even if they are configured for Anonymous authentication. SharePoint 2013 resolves this issue by introducing a new approach – Anonymous which eliminate the need of passing an user account and trying to authenticate for crawling content for public-facing web sites with anonymous authentication.

Following are the ways we can configure SharePoint 2013 to pass credentials to SharePoint Search to crawl content:

  • Default Crawl Account
  • Specific Account
  • Client Certificate
  • Form credentials
  • Cookie
  • Anonymous

Following steps demonstrate how to configure SharePoint Crawler to use new Anonymous option to crawl public-facing web sites:

Task 1 – Configure public-facing web site Content Source

  • Open SharePoint 2013 Central Administration web site
  • Navigate to Manage service applications from Application Management group
  • Select Search Service Application instance and navigate to Search Administration page
  • Select Content Sources from the left hand side Search Administration linksSearch Administration links
  • Select New Content Source from Manage Content Sources page
  • Enter Name for the Content Source and select Web Sites option for Content Source Type.
  • Enter web site URL for the Start Address field and click OK.New Search Content Source


Task 2 – Create a Crawl Rule to use Anonymous option

  • Select Crawl Rules from the left hand side Search Administration links.Search Administration links
  • Select New Crawl Rule from the Manage Crawl Rules page
  • Enter Path and select Include all items in this path option from the Crawl Configuration section
  • Select Anonymous access option for the Specify Authentication sectionCrawl Rules


Task 3 – Crawl content

  • Select Content Sources from the left hand side Search Administration links
  • From the context menu for the new content source added, select Start Full Crawl to start crawling contentFull Crawl

Article – SharePoint Search Capabilities Comparison

Posted by Joy

Search is one of the important workloads of SharePoint Products and Technologies. Microsoft’s Enterprise Search offerings have evolved very fast over the last few years and have gone through number of changes.

SharePoint 2010 release introduced the most powerful Search platform by combing the power of FAST ESP with SharePoint platform. However, customers were confused when selecting the right Search platform since there were so many Search offerings.

Following are the different Search offerings we had around SharePoint 2010:

  • SharePoint Foundation 2010
  • SharePoint Server 2010
  • SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites
  • Search Server 2010 Express
  • Search Server 2010
  • FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint
  • FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint Internet Sites
  • FAST Search Server 2010 for Internet Sites
  • FAST Search Server 2010 Internal Applications

Wow, big list of Search offerings…

With the release of SharePoint 2013, Microsoft made it very simple and easy to pick the right Search offering. We now don’t have FAST product line and it’s only SharePoint Search. However, SharePoint 2013 has many forms including both on-premise and cloud and Search will vary based on the selection of the SharePoint model.

Following is a very high-level feature comparison of Search based on the SharePoint deployment model:

Capability Foundation Standard Enterprise Online
Advanced Content Processing Yes Yes Yes No
Content Processing Enrichment No No Yes No
Content Search Web Part No No Yes No
Continues crawl Yes Yes Yes No
Custom entity extraction No No Yes No
Deep links No Yes Yes Yes
Event-based relevancy No Yes Yes Yes
Expertise Search Yes Yes Yes Yes
Graphical refiners No Yes Yes Yes
Hybrid search Yes Yes Yes Yes
Managed navigation No Yes Yes Yes
Phonetic name matching Yes Yes Yes Yes
Query rules – add promoted results No Yes Yes Yes
Query rules – advanced actions No No Yes Yes
Query spelling correction Yes Yes Yes Yes
Query suggestions No Yes Yes Yes
Query throttling No Yes Yes Yes
Quick preview Yes Yes Yes Yes
Recommendations No Yes Yes Yes
Refiners Yes Yes Yes No
Query Object Model/ RESTful Query API Yes Yes Yes Yes
Result sources Yes Yes Yes Yes
Search connector framework No No Yes No
Search results sorting Yes Yes Yes Yes
Search vertical – Conversations No Yes Yes Yes
Search vertical – People No Yes Yes Yes
Search vertical – Video No No Yes Yes
Tunable relevancy No No Yes No