As announced on the SharePoint Team blog this morning we released to web three new important updates that affect SharePoint Server 2007, Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, Project Server 2007, Search Server 2008, Search Server 2008 Express and Project Professional 2007.

The Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Servers (KB951297) (Download X86, Download X64) is particularly important from a Search and SharePoint Server 2007 perspective as it contains the new Enterprise Search features that were shipped in Search Server 2008 and Search Server 2008 Express that were are not already in SharePoint Server 2007; this includes Federated Search capability, a unified administration dashboard and several Search core platform performance updates.

For an overview of the new federation features please check out this short video which covers how to configure a federated location and configure one of the new federated search Web Parts to show results from that location. 

There’s also a growing number of articles on TechNet and MSDN that cover configuring and troubleshooting federation and extending federation with Federated Search Connectors.

The screen capture below shows how federated search results show up on a results page – the results on the right hand side and top left are federated results, the ones at the bottom left are from the local index.

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The new Search Administration Dashboard consolidates all of the Search related admin activities into a single place – there’s also some new functionality in the dashboard (There’s greater granularity for content source crawl history and a convenient list that shows currently running crawls and durations for example) and it makes the Search Administrators job much easier by keeping everything close at hand.

The UI looks like the screen capture below:

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The update leaves the old Search admin pages intact, the links to them stay in Central Admin (Along with a new link to the new dashboard) so if you’ve made any changes to them or just prefer to use the existing admin pages you’re free to do so.

The other changes are all under the hood and improve Index and Query performance as well as fixing a few bugs.  Check out the KB articles below for more details.

Description of the Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Servers (KB951297)

Fixes Included in the Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Servers (KB953750)

Please read this post on the SharePoint Team blog and the installation instructions thoroughly before you install the Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Servers (KB951297) and the Infrastructure Update for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (KB951695) on SharePoint Server 2007 or Search Server 2008.

Install the Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Servers (Office SharePoint Server 2007)

Install the Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Servers (Search Server 2008)

Finally, if you’re wondering why the Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Servers (KB951297) and the Infrastructure Update for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (KB951695) applies to Search Server 2008 then you’re probably not alone!

There’s a very good reason for both – Search Server 2008 and Search Server 2008 Express are built on the Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 platform (hence the need for the Infrastructure Update for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (KB951695)) and secondly the Search features are from SharePoint Server 2007 (hence the need for the Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Servers (KB951297)).  The latter update includes a few bug fixes since Search Server 2008 and Search Server 2008 Express launched.

We strongly recommend that you install the updates that apply to you as soon as your patching and maintenance schedules permit.

Richard Riley
Senior Technical Product Manager
Microsoft Corp.