The how it works explanation here should give you an idea of how the DFS search is accomplished. In short words before we dive in a little deeper:

  • only one server per name space needs to be configured with a Windows Search Index
  • the clients / users get a search provider that shows up in their Windows Explorer where they can search on the specified paths
  • the user executing the web site (application pool) needs full READ access to all files on the specified name space targets

 

More detailed explanation:

This search tool / provider is primarily designed to be used with DFS. There really is no big advantage if you use it to search on directly mapped regular shares, cause the users, respective their Windows client, can directly interact on regular ways with the index on the file server via Windows Explorer.

As for DFS – let’s assume the following

  • root entry path: \\domain.local\N
    • users have N: mapped to \\domain.local\N as DFS root path
    • they can’t directly use the upper right search box within the N: drive in Windows Explorer to execute a quick full text search against the namespaces behind the root entry path (only regular, slow searches are possible)
  • namespaces
    • Departments
      • hosted/shared on \\germany.domain.local\Departments
      • hosted/shared on \\usa.domain.local\Departments
    • Other
      • hosted/shared on \\germany.domain.local\Other
      • hosted/shared on \\usa.domain.local\Other
      • hosted/shared on \\australia.domain.local\Other
    • Projects USA
      • hosted/shared on \\usa.domain.local\ProjectsUSA

What you need to do

Make a decision in which location you want to have the search provider hosted and where the Windows Indexing on the file servers needs to be configured. Since all shares in the above example are available directly in USA it is only logical to put the web site on a server in the same location as well as configure the Windows Search Index on the servers \\usa.domain.local (those can be various servers as per share etc.).

You do NOT need to have the Windows Search Index configured on each namespace server within you DFS system. It would look like this:

  • Departments
    • hosted/shared on \\germany.domain.local\Departments
      • nothing
    • hosted/shared on \\usa.domain.local\Departments
      • configure Windows Search Indexing
  • Other
    • hosted/shared on \\germany.domain.local\Other
      • nothing
    • hosted/shared on \\usa.domain.local\Other
      • configure Windows Search Indexing
    • hosted/shared on \\australia.domain.local\Other
      • nothing
  • Projects USA
    • hosted/shared on \\usa.domain.local\ProjectsUSA
      • configure Windows Search Indexing

Download the web site application for the search on put it on a server with IIS. The application pool user in IIS for this web site needs to have READ access to all files within all the defined name spaces. Read only access is sufficient. In the configuration you now add the target shares:

  • \\usa.domain.local
    • share: Departments
    • client path: N:\Departments
    • tags: Departments,N
  • \\usa.domain.local
    • share: Other
    • client path: N:\Other
    • tags: Other,N
  • \\usa.domain.local
    • share: ProjectsUSA
    • client path: N:\Projects USA
    • tags: Projects USA,N

Please refer to configuration in the online manual for further details.

What you end up with are the following search providers

  • IT Search – Departments
    • this searches only in the name space Departments
  • IT Search – Other
    • this searches only in the name space Other
  • IT Search – Porjects USA
    • this searches only in the name space Projects USA
  • IT Search – N
    • this would search in all free shares / namespaces, cause all of them hold this tag

You now can provide the search providers to your users where they can open them and search on them against the web server who then will find the according name spaces, execute a search against the defined indexes and check if the user has actually access to the found results, if this is the case they will be reported back to their Windows Explorer where they will see the results.

Ultimately the client now access through the Windows Explorer search providers the web servers hosting the search application. The application knows a UNC share path to a single target file server against which the query will be executed – checked for user rights at the file/folder level and eventually reported back to the client.

Please refer to Search Providers in the online manual for further details.