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Microsoft Team Unveils SharePoint Search Diagnostic Tool

Microsoft's premier field engineers for search have produced a new tool to help organizations troubleshoot SharePoint Server search issues.

The new Search Health Reports (SRx) solution is a PowerShell enhancement that will run a series of tests on a SharePoint farm. It will check to see if servers are responsive and if services are running on SharePoint components. It will test index components for sufficient merge space for searches, among other such details, according to Microsoft's announcement.

The download of the SRx solution consists of a few files to put on a SharePoint Server to enable these diagnostic capabilities. Next, users run a PowerShell script to load the SharePoint modules that are needed for the tests.

One drawback to the new tool is that this same PowerShell script has to be run each time to support the testing process. "The SRx does not persist after closing a PowerShell window," Microsoft's announcement explained.

Microsoft's search team is planning to announce future new functionality to the SRx tool and publish materials about it via its "On Search" team blog. The team is also planning a future "SRx Dashboard." The dashboard wasn't explained, but perhaps it will be something more friendly than rows of PowerShell text output.

SRx is replacing and extending a similar Microsoft diagnostic tool for SharePoint search called "Indexer Reports."

Incidentally, SharePoint search is currently a hot topic for the emerging SharePoint Server 2016 product, expected to arrive this quarter. In particular, Microsoft is planning to deliver a new hybrid search capability for that product, which promises a more consistent search experience for end users because searches are indexed using Microsoft's cloud services infrastructure.

For a clear technical discussion about how Microsoft's emerging hybrid search capability differs from the current disjointed federated search experience with SharePoint Server 2013, see this IT Unity article. There's also a nice historical overview and critique in this article by Microsoft MVP Mikael Svenson.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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