Friday 24 June 2011

SharePoint Search Crawls : Incremental Cawls for Day to Day living

I was at Microsoft the other day talking to some of their PFEs regarding all things bright and SharePoint. The topic of search crawls came up. I received some information which I wasn't aware of which I thought I would log.
As most of us are aware SharePoint Search can conduct a "Full crawl" and an "Incremental crawl". What most people do (myself included in the past) is schedule a full crawl late evening / early morning and schedule incremental crawls at regular intervals throughout the day. To be honest I'm not sure where this habit came from. I guess it just seems to make sense......except it doesn't.

A scheduled Incremental crawl is sufficient for day to day crawling. There is no need and as far as MS have informed me, no advantage in running Full crawls on a regular basis. Full crawls are only required if a crawl rule or crawl property has been changed (there might be another couple of situations - but these are config changes).

All changes are stored in a change database and this is what the incremental crawl looks at to see what it needs to update. The changes database automatically clears down so you don't need to worry about it getting too big. There is one caveat and that is that the change database does clear itself after a certain amount of time so you have to make sure you do your incremental crawl within this time. This period is in the region of 30 days so assuming that you are going to schedule incremental crawls more frequently than this you are ok.

So, for day to day search indexing, only schedule incremental crawls.

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