by May 7, 2008 0 comments

Recently, Microsoft launched an enterprise-class search server, ‘MS Search
Server.’ You can either avail it with MS SharePoint Server 2007, or buy it
separately, or you can get its free edition called Microsoft Search Server 2008
Express from the link provided in the specs box.

There’s only one difference between the Express and enterprise editions of MS
Search Server. The Express edition lacks high availability and load balancing.
Everything else is pretty much similar in both editions. So we thought of giving
the Express edition a try this month. Next month we would try the complete
SharePoint Server 2007 and see the difference.

Now let’s understand what Express edition has on offer. By using this server
you can crawl and index each and every piece of data on your network and storage
pools, and make it searchable through a simple but powerful interface. The data
which it can index are web sites, file shares, Exchange public folders, Notes
Databases, Office files, XML, HTML, text files, etc.

Direct Hit!

Applies To:
IT Head
Price: Free download
USP: Locate and search any type of
Office, Web, or mail file from server quickly
Primary Link:
Keyword:Search Server ’08 Express

Pre-requisites for installation
Microsoft launched two versions of Search Server 2008 Express: 32 bit and 64
bit. Before installing the search server, make sure you have the following at

  • The system on which you would install the search server should be
    connected to the network
  • Windows Server 2003 or 2008 should be installed in the server
  • SQL Server installed on the machine you’ll install Search Server on
  • Do remember that your machine is a member of the domain so that it has at
    least read-only access to all the storage pools on your network
  • At least 5 GB free space
  • .NET Framework and IIS services preinstalled on the same server

Installation in action
Once you begin the installation of Search Server, you will find two
installation options: basic and advanced. Basic installation installs SQL Server
Express and uses it as a back-end database. Advanced installation allows you to
connect and use a preinstalled SQL server. Now just follow the wizard and it
will install the Search Server.

Installation time would also depend on the Internet speed, as some components
are downloaded from the Internet during the installation. After completion of
the installation go to All Programs àMicrosoft Search ServeràMicrosoft Search
Server 2008 Administration. It will display a configuration page of Microsoft
Search Server 2008. The first page that comes up is the Search Administration
page. Here click on the ‘Default Content Access Account’ link. When the page
opens, provide the name and password of a user who can access all storage pools
in your network at least with read-only rights. This will be the user whose
rights will be used by the crawlers while indexing the contents.

After the installation of Search
Server Express, the welcome screen shows the steps to begin using the Search
In Default Content Access
Account enter the user name and password for accessing the content for

Backend Configuration
Once you are done with it you have to add the sources of the contents you
want to index. To do so click on the ‘Content Sources’ link under the crawling
option. Once the ‘Manage Content Sources’ page opens up click on the ‘New
Content Source’ button. A new page will open. Here fill in the details about the
content source you want to add. Essentially you have to provide the name, type,
and location of the content source. The types can be SharePoint Site, Web Site,
File Shares, or Exchange Public Folder.

After login you need to add
content to be crawled by the Search Server in the Add Content Source option
Once the sources are added you
can see the status of content being crawled. You can access the required
files during the crawling process also

Once you provide all the options scroll down to the radio button and select
the ‘Crawl everything under the hostname for each start address’ option. Then
scroll down to the last option which says ‘Start Full Crawl ….’ Enable it and
click on OK to start the crawling. You have to repeat the same process for all
the content sources you want to add to the system.

Front-end Configuration
With the backend configuration of the search server more or less done, the
next thing you have to do is to access and integrate the search page of the
server with your Active Directory so that users can login to the search site
using their credentials and access the search results. To do so go to the search
page of the search server. You can access it by typing in either the domain name
or the IP address of the machine where you have installed it. Once the search
page opens up login to it as Administrator and click on the ‘Site Actions’
option at the right top corner of the page. A drop down menu will open. Click on
the last option which says ‘Site Settings.’ Another page opens up. Here click on
the ‘People and Groups’ option under the ‘Users and Permissions’ option. Now
click on the ‘New’ button and another page will open up. Here add the
group/users who should be able to access the search site.

Select the level of control you want the group to have and click on OK. And
your search server is ready to rock. The only thing which might take some more
time is the crawling. Depending upon the speed of your network, storage pool,
and the size of the content, the crawling can take from a couple of hours to a
couple of days.

Once the crawling is done, you can see the site by going to the search page
and providing the FQDN or the IP address of the search server.

Besides searching the internal company files, Search Server Express has the
ability to search external databases and websites.

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