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Scale search for performance and availability in SharePoint Server 2013

SharePoint 2013

Published: July 16, 2012

Summary: Determine hardware requirements and review considerations to scale out SharePoint search topologies for performance and availability.

Applies to:  SharePoint Server 2013 

This article lists the minimum hardware requirements for virtual machines and physical servers for search topologies for the enterprise and for Internet sites.

This article also provides basic guidance on the scaling of search topologies to improve performance and availability.

In this article:

Introduction

This article lists the minimum requirements and gives guidance about how and when to scale out search topologies for the enterprise and for Internet sites.

For examples of topologies, see the technical diagrams Enterprise search architectures for SharePoint Server 2013 and Internet sites search architectures for SharePoint Server 2013.

For an overview and a description of search components and the overall search architecture, see Overview of search in SharePoint Server 2013 and the technical diagram Search architectures for SharePoint Server 2013.

Hardware requirements for search topologies for the enterprise

The following tables show the hardware requirements for servers that host enterprise search topologies. The hardware requirements apply to:

  • Application servers that contain search components.

  • Database servers that contain search databases.

The requirements apply to each of the servers in the small, medium and large enterprise search topology example.

You can deploy search topologies for the enterprise on physical hardware or on virtual machines.

Each server must have sufficient disk space for the base installation of the Windows Server operating system and sufficient disk space for diagnostics such as logging, debugging, creating memory dumps, and so on. For production use, the server also needs additional free disk space for day-to-day operations and for the page file. Follow the guidance on free disk space and page file size corresponding to your Windows Server installation.

Application servers hosting search components

Search component Hard disk RAM Processor

Index component

80 GB regardless of the number of search components hosted on the server.

500 GB additional disk space, preferably a separate disk volume/partition.

16 GB if the server hosts only an index component.

16 GB if the server hosts an index component and a query processing component.

All components:

64-bit, 4 cores minimum, 8 cores recommended.

When hosting virtual machines on Windows Server, maximum 4 cores are possible.

Analytics processing component

80 GB regardless of the number of search components hosted on the server.

300 GB additional disk space, preferably a separate disk volume/partition. This disk space is necessary for local processing of analytics data before it is written to the analytics reporting database.

8 GB if the server hosts only one of these search components.

16 GB if the server hosts two or more of these search components. This does not apply if the server hosts an index component.

Crawl component

80 GB regardless of the number of search components hosted on the server.

Content processing component

Query processing component

Search administration component

Database servers hosting search databases

Component Minimum requirements

Processor

64-bit, 4 cores for small topologies.

64-bit, 8 cores for medium topologies.

RAM

8 GB for small topologies.

16 GB for medium topologies.

Hard disk

80 GB for system drive.

Hard disk space depends on the amount of content.

Hardware requirements for search topologies for Internet sites

The following tables show the hardware requirements for servers that host a medium search topology for Internet sites. The hardware requirements apply to:

  • Application servers and Web servers that contain search components.

  • Database servers that contain search databases.

The minimum listed RAM requirements for a server that hosts a search component is the total required amount of RAM for that server. For example, if you are hosting a content processing component, a search administration component and a crawl component on one server, the total amount of minimum required RAM for that server is 24 GB.

Each server must have sufficient disk space for the base installation of the Windows Server operating system and sufficient disk space for diagnostics such as logging, debugging, creating memory dumps, and so on. For production use, the server also needs additional free disk space for day-to-day operations and for the page file. Follow the guidance on free disk space and page file size corresponding to your Windows Server installation.

note Note:

The medium search topology example is optimized for physical hardware, but you can deploy it on virtual machines as well.

Application servers and Web servers hosting search components

Search component on the physical server RAM Hard disk Processor

Index component

48 GB for each server in the farm that hosts an index component, a query processing component and the Web front end.

500 GB additional disk space, preferably a separate disk volume/partition.

All components:

64-bit, 4 cores minimum, 8 cores recommended.

Analytics processing component

24 GB for each server in the farm that hosts an analytics processing component, a crawl component, a content processing component and/or a search administration component.

300 GB additional disk space, preferably a separate disk volume/partition.

Crawl component

Content processing component

See the requirements listed for the analytics processing component.

80 GB for system drive.

Query processing component

See the requirements listed for the index component.

Search administration component

See the requirements listed for the analytics processing component.

Database servers hosting search databases

Component Minimum requirements

Processor

64-bit, 4 cores for small topologies.

64-bit, 8 cores for medium topologies.

RAM

8 GB for small topologies.

16 GB for medium topologies.

Hard disk

80 GB for system drive.

Hard disk space depends on the amount of content.

Scaling and redundancy considerations for enterprise topologies

The volume of items in your corpus affects farm sizing and how you decide to scale out.

Volume of items

Number of items Action

Any number

For redundancy and failover, you must provision two of each of the search components on different servers that are in different failure domains in your farm. Search database redundancy must be set up in the SQL Server configuration.

Up to 10 million items

All search roles can co-exist on one non-redundant server or on two servers.

From 40 million items and upward

Add one crawl database per 20 million items.

Add one index partition per 10 million items.

Add up to two query processing components.

From 80 million items and upward

Add one crawl database per 20 million items.

Add one index partition per 10 million items.

Add up to four query processing components.

Add one link database per 60 million items.

Add one analytics reporting database for each 500 thousand unique items viewed each day or every 10-20 million total items.

Performance considerations for a medium Internet sites topology

A medium Internet sites (FIS) topology is optimized for a corpus size of 3,400,000 items, processing approximately 100-200 documents per second, depending on language, and a usage pattern of 85 page views per second, which corresponds to 100 queries per second.

Performance considerations

What to consider Why this is important

Cache

The query and its results are cached with Windows Server AppFabric, in key-value pairs: the query being the key and the results being the value. For each query, there is an approximate 50% cache ratio. This means that if you have a usage pattern of 200 queries per second, about 100 queries are sent to the search index and the other 100 queries are cached. The results from the cache have lower query latency than those that you retrieve from the search index. For example, results for front-page queries that are often run are likely to be cached.

Continuous crawl

We recommend that you enable continuous crawl with an interval of one minute, instead of the default interval of 15 minutes. You can only enable continuous crawl on SharePoint content sources.

Anonymous access

With anonymous access, users do not have to use credentials to log on to a SharePoint Internet site. Anonymous queries are cached, so they are cheaper because of lower query latency. You must enable anonymous access in two locations: on the web front-end and on the site.

Query latency

Query latency is influenced by caching, anonymous access and by other factors such as the number and complexity of query rules that are applied and triggered. Also, consider the disks on which the search index is stored; a disk that has multiple spindles can improve the access speed of the disk and reduce query latency.

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