SharePoint Strategery

Best used when *strategy* breaks down... (blog by Brian Pendergrass, Microsoft SharePoint - Premier Field Engineer)

Tales from Training: FAST Search for SP2010 (protocol specs and white paper)

Tales from Training: FAST Search for SP2010 (protocol specs and white paper)

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The week is over and the fire hose is now off. I haven't been able to post as much as I hoped over the last few days with time constraints coming from both work and life. There were also a few internal topics I can't share here and many more that I just simply don't yet have the mastery to share.

But good news - the documentation on TechNet is surprisingly thorough and well organized (and no, that isn't me just being a shill for my employer). I highly recommend heading over to the FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint TechNet library for any number of topics including Planning and architecture, Deployment, Operations, Security and protection, and Troubleshooting. Our class mirrored many of these same topics, so it doesn't make sense to effectively cut-and-paste.

Are you looking to really dig in? Check out the FAST Search System Overview, which is a trove of spec docs for FAST Search. From here, don't overlook the "Click here to download a zip file with all of the PDF files" link - it contains the individual documents from the FAST Search System Overview Protocol Family with gems as:

  • [MS-FSADS] Microsoft Corporation, "Administration Database Schema"
  • [MS-FSFIXML] Microsoft Corporation, "FIXML Data Structure"
  • [MS-FSIXDS] Microsoft Corporation, "Index Data Structures"
  • [MS-FSQR] Microsoft Corporation, "Query and Result Protocol Specification"
  • ...among 294 total docs...

Finally... want to see FAST Search in a real world scenario? Here's a good start: Technical White Paper: How FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint Powers Worldwide Intranet Search at Microsoft 

"This paper describes the experience of MSIT [the Microsoft Information Technology group]    as an early adopter of FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint. The paper describes how MSIT deployed and configured FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint, how MSIT administers the search system, and how the solution meets the need for an advanced enterprise search solution at Microsoft by providing fresh, complete, and useful search results in a robust, highly customizable deployment."

Image Source: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb735129.aspx

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Even with the wealth of documentation linked here, I still have not found a good conceptual architecture to describe the flow from the SharePoint search gatherer to the FAST Content Distributor, to Document Processors, and on to the Indexing Dispatcher and Indexer where the information gets stored initially as FIXML files and then finally as the binary index. In the coming weeks, that should change because I'm going to take a crack at this for both crawling and query architectures. With this, I also expect to explain the need for two SharePoint SSAs (e.g. the Content SSA and the Query SSA) when you configure FAST Search for SharePoint 2010. 

Until then, it's time to continue my training by cracking open my fresh copy of Working with Microsoft® FAST™ Search Server 2010 for SharePoint® (By Mikael Svenson, Marcus Johansson, Robert Piddocke).

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