An Overview of Hybrid Search – Yes is it possible! | BA Insight

So, you’ve been using Office 365 and finding some level of success and now you’re thinking about how your users can get search across both environments.  First off if you haven’t already started doing things like Dirsync for your users, you’re in for a treat.

There’s quite a bit of configuration required to get hybrid search working. From Identity Management, Namespace management, and Reverse Proxy, there’s some heavy lifting before the quite simple query rule can be configured. Hybrid search integration is really important in your acceptance of a good hybrid solution that will be accepted by the organization. I think it is worth the investment, but you will be banging your head against the wall hoping there are third party solutions to both enhance and to simplify the process. Hint there is and BA Insight has one, but this blog focuses on your out of the box experience.

What I’m trying to provide to you in this blog post is an overall view of the picture of what is involved and what you can expect as a result. This is not a prescriptive guide.

Why do this in the first place?

  • Users need to search content in both on premises and Office 365.
  • Users have to navigate separately to search for content
  • Users may not know which place to search
  • Users may not have the credentials required to access Office 365

The Goal

One unified search provided on either environment that provides search of both

Image courtesy of Microsoft TechNet

Understanding Solutions

While SharePoint 2013 can index other SharePoint 2013 deployments, it cannot index Office 365’s SharePoint Online. As well, SharePoint Online can ONLY index content in SharePoint Online.

As a result, we need some special configuration to configure them both to act in a Hybrid SharePoint Environment. This will require a number of not so simple steps. We can do this in 2 phases.

1. Establish the Hybrid Environment Infrastructure –

  • Determine your hybrid Infrastructure (Inbound/Outbound or Both)
  • Reverse Proxy
  • Split DNS

2. Establish the Hybrid Identity Management Infrastructure –

  • DirSync – Account
  • Server to Server Trust

3. Configure Search –

  • Create a result source (Remote SharePoint protocol)
  • Create an associated Query Rule (results in result block)

There is an optional additional phase where we can configure Federation, BCS, Duet for SAP, and more to come I’m sure.

There are a lot of Microsoft Resources on configuring your hybrid search environment. Here are a few:

All things Hybrid Search from Microsoft are linked from this single Hybrid Search Center, but these articles and videos may be helpful in first understanding the big picture. I recommend you understand the full approach before starting. There’s a lot involved and the result (displaying a simple result block from either environment) is likely going to make you bang your head against the wall before you’re done. The book size set of materials required to set this up is more than a little frustrating. Plan on a week to get that simple result block going. It’s not all for naught. Getting the DirSync working will benefit your users for other applications down the road. Think about yammer web parts and future integration scenarios. It will be helpful to have a single identity.

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