SharePoint 2010 Cookbook: Configuring FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint

Many of you are familiar with SharePoint 2010 Search, its enhancements from the existing SharePoint search and its powerful capabilities for enterprise deployments. FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint offers even more than that, an out-of-the-box search engine with all of the search features and integration capacities of the SharePoint 2010 Search. With the launch of FAST Search, Microsoft added deep platform flexibility and scalability and enhanced customizable content processing, user context and more. With this add-on product, we can deploy across multiple servers to meet demanding requirements for redundancy, performance, and capacity. The configuration and management take place through user interfaces, Windows PowerShell cmdlets, and command-line operations.

Now, let’s begin configuring FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint on your server.

Configuring FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint

1. Configure FAST Search Server to point to Database Server and SharePoint Server

a. Change Execution Policy

Before we run the Microsoft FAST Search Server 2010 For SharePoint configuration wizard to configure your FAST Search, we need to change the Execution Policy running the fastsearch.ps1 script which was installed when you deployed FAST Search.

Run Microsft FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint shell:

Then, change the execution policy with the command: Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned

Enter “y” to continue, and then run fastsearch.ps1 in the location of [D:FASTSearch]installerscriptsshellfastsearch.ps1 (depending on where you installed FAST Search).

Configure FAST Search Server

Start the Microsoft FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint configuration wizard:

The welcome dialog box appears; click Next to go to the next step.

Select the deployment type:

Because I installed FAST Search on a single server as an example, I will select the Single server (stand-alone) option. Note, however, that you should select the other two options when you deploy FAST Search on multiple servers.

Next, we should choose an AD account for FAST Search to be secure, and enter its username and password:

Click Next, and we will enter a certificate password. This certificate is used to secure communication between servers.

Next, provide a fully qualified domain name and port number for your FAST Server:

Then, enter SQL Database information such as connection string, database name, and port number in Database Settings:

Note: if you can’t connect to your Database Server, make sure the information above is correct and check your FAST Search user if it has dbcreator role permission on the SQL Server.

Next, enter SharePoint account which you use to configure your SharePoint Server farm, in the Click-through relevancy settings:

Click Next to go to the Configuration settings summary, make a quick review on what we have just entered. Then, click Configure to finish.

Finally, restart your FAST Search server.

Note: before you restart your server, make sure the account you use for FAST Search is added in the local FASTSearchAdministrator group.

After restarting, also check if FAST Search modules are in the status of “Running” (use command “nctrl status” in the command prompt).

2. Create and setup Content SSA (Search Service Application)

Now, we have done the configuration for FAST Search Server. This step guides you through the creation of a Content SSA on your SharePoint Server to crawl the content and feed it into the FAST Search Server.

a. Create Search Service Application

Open SharePoint 2010 Central Administration site, then go to Mange service applications under Application Management:

With the list of Service Applications opened, click on New button, and select Search Service Application:

The Create New Search Service Application form appears. Then, enter information for your service as shown in my example.

Note: provide an AD account that is used to configure Search Service Application, and FQDN with port number, which you configure in FAST Search Server, in the Content Distributors sections; in my example it’s winFS.[yourdomainname].com:3979.

When you finish, click OK. SharePoint will confirm that the new Content SSA was created and added in the list of Service Applications.

b. Configure communication channel.

After we have created the Content SSA successfully, we have to create a connection to our FAST Search Server to feed content to it.

Now, you need to copy two files: D:FashSearchinstallerscriptssecurefastsearchconnector.ps1 and D:FashSearchdatadata_securitycertFashSearchCert.pfx from FAST Search Server to SharePoint Server.

Then, start SharePoint 2010 Management Shell, locate the local folder where we’ve copied the two files, and type the following command:

.SecureFASTSearchConnector.ps1 -certPath “path_of_certificatecertificate_name.pfx” -ssaName “name_of_content_SSA” -username “domainusername”

When prompted, enter password for the account that you use to configure SSA.

You should see a message confirming that the connection to the content distributor validated successfully .

c. Adding content source to Content SSA

Now that we have created SSA and connected it with FAST Search server, in this step we add content source to our Content SSA.

Open Manage Service Applications under Application Management from SharePoint 2010 Central Administration. Then, click on FAST Content SSA, the Search Service Application that we created above.

The Search Administration page opened, click on Content Sources under Crawling section on the left-hand side menu:

Then, click New Content Source to add new source content for FAST Content SSA.

With the Add Content Source form opened, fill in your information setting as shown in my example:

Notice the Start Address section, here you can enter any site (including SharePoint Server or SharePoint Foundation sites) which the FAST Search will crawl from.

Click OK when you’re finished.

SharePoint will redirect you to Mange Content Source page:

Here, click on the content source FAST SSA Content Source which we’ve just created to open its context menu, and then select Start Full Crawl.

Now we need to verify if the content source we created has been crawled and fed into FAST Search server.

Move your seat to FAST Search Server, open Microsoft FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint shell, and type Get-FASTSearchContentCollection command.

You should see the number of documents which were crawled from your SharePoint sites.

3. Create and setup Query SSA

Now that we’ve nearly finished the job of Configuring FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint, I know it’s so dry and boring, right? Steady on though, the consequences will be a completely new level of search capacities.

In this step, we create Query SSA which will provide query results from the content that is crawled Content SSA.

a. Create one more Search Service Application (this time it’s FAST Search Query type)

In the Create New Search Service Application form, fill in your information settings as shown in my example.

Note: you should be careful to enter the user account for SSA (here I used [yourdomain]ssauser, the same account that I used for Content SSA) and FAST Search account, the account that you use to configure FAST Search Server.

When you’ve finished, click OK. SharePoint will confirm that the new FAST Query SSA was created and added in the list of Service Applications.

b. Configure your search provider

In this step, we tell SharePoint what search provider to use as a default search.

Go to Configure service application associations under Service Applications from SharePoint Central Administration site:

With the Service Application Associations opened, click default under Application Proxy Group:

Then, select FAST Query SSA and set it as default. Here I unchecked Search Service Application since I am not using it anymore.

c. Import certificate for FAST Search Server

Because SharePoint 2010 uses Claims-based authentication, we need to export the certificate from SharePoint Server and import it to FAST Search Server.

On SharePoint Server, open SharePoint 2010 Management Shell, remember to Run as administrator. Type the following command:

$stsCert = (Get-SPSecurityTokenServiceConfig).LocalLoginProvider.SigningCertificate
$stsCert.Export(“cert”) | Set-Content -encoding te MOSS_STS.cer

Copy the file MOSS_STS.cer to FAST Search Server. Then, start Microsoft FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint.

Locate the folder [D:FASTSearch]installerscripts, and type the following command:

.InstallSTSCertificateForClaims.ps1 -certPath ‘D:SharePoint CertMOSS_STS.cer’

d. Activate SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure

In this final step, we make sure that the SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure is activated.

Open your SharePoint site (root site collection), click Site Action -> Site Settings -> Site Collection features:

With the list of features opened, look for the SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure feature at the bottom of the list, then click Activate.

Done! Well, there are so many things we have to do to get the FAST Search working on SharePoint, and it’s not exactly easy. I formally announce that we’ve arrived at the end of this hard work, and now it’s time to enjoy the benefits of its performance.

4. Testing FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint

Let’s open your SharePoint site, type your keyword in the search box, then press enter:

Boom! Luckily, FAST Search is working.

Click on View In Browser to view your document.

Click on Edit in Browser to enable your ability to edit, format, and save the document.


Now we can see the difference between the current SharePoint 2010 Search and a whole new level of FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint, the capacities and the conveniences it provides. In order to understand what is unique in FAST Search, watch the FAST Search for SharePoint Capabilities Deep Dive video presented Sam Hassani. To finish this article, let me make a short summary so we can know exactly what we need to do when configuring FAST Search Server for SharePoint 2010.

After you have successfully deployed your FAST Search on your stand-alone server or multiple servers, you need run the Microsoft FAST Search Server 2010 For SharePoint configuration wizard to configure your FAST Search Server to point to your Database Server and your SharePoint 2010 Server. Second, we create a Content SSA (remember, this type of new SSA is FAST Search Connector). At this step we have to establish a communication channel to your FAST Search Server and add a content source to Content SSA. Then, we create a Query SSA (FAST Search Query type). You should set your Query SSA as the default search provider, and import the certificate on your FAST Search Server from your SharePoint Server. Finally, we activate the SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure feature at your SharePoint root site collection.

See Also:

re: SharePoint 2010 Cookbook: Configuring FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint
on Tue, Aug 9 2011 1:07 AM

Nice one really in a single word. Thanks.