As part of a SharePoint farm configuration, you will need to setup a share on your Query servers in order for the Index Server to propagate (i.e. copy) the search indexes to the Query Servers. In Central Administration (Services on Server > Office SharePoint Server Search Service), there are two options for this:

  • Configure share automatically
  • I will configure the share with STSADM

In my experience, the automatic configuration option is sometimes unreliable. This is especially true with farms that are using the 'least privilege service account principle' or on Windows Server 2008 which is much more locked down by default than Windows Server 2003.

Therefore I'd recommend choosing the STSADM option. If you do choose this, you'll need to follow these steps to finalise your Query server configuration.

  1. Ensure you have started the 'Office SharePoint Server Search Service' in Query mode on all of your Query servers (choosing the STSADM option for the propagation share)
  2. Ensure you have created a Shared Service Provider
  3. If using Windows Server 2008, enable 'Network discovery' and 'File sharing' from the 'Network Sharing Centre' on all Query servers
  4. Create a directory on all of your Query servers where you want the search indexes to be propagated to. This must be the exact same path of all Query servers (c:\SearchIndexes in this example). Do not set up any sharing at this point, STSADM will do this for you.
  5. If you are using the 'least privilege service account principle', temporarily give the "farm" or "database access" service account local Administrator rights on all Query servers (this can and should be removed after the operation is complete)
  6. Logon to any server in the farm as the "farm" or "database access" account and execute this command:

    c:\program files\common files\microsoft shared\web server extensions\12\bin\STSADM.exe –o osearch –propagationlocation "c:\SearchIndexes"

  7. If you are using the 'least privilege service account principle', remove the "farm" or "database access" service account from local Administrator rights on all Query servers (as added in step 5)
  8. Observe that the c:\SearchIndexes directory has now been shared as 'SearchIndexPropagation' and the "Search" service account has been given write access

Your indexes should now fully propagate to the query servers....Job done! J