The Microsoft Search service provides a means for doing full-text indexing and searching of SQL Server data. In addition to creating and managing indices and catalogs for that purpose, it also provides the engine to support full text search queries. You see the results of this service when you search against words or phrases, words near other words, as well as different versions of nouns and verbs. The Search server can update indices in the background, performing incremental or full rebuilds based on either timestamps or change tacking. The Search service will also index and query against image columns, and can use SQL Server's filters for a variety of document types (.DOC, .XLS, .TXT, and .HTM). The intent of the service is to sort by relevance and return an appropriate number of matches. Understanding the Search service helps you improve performance, aids you in capacity planning,
Although the topic of the full text search component in SQL Sever is covered in the Microsoft books online, Microsoft has published a deployment white paper that you may find of additional use. This white paper outlines what full text search applications are useful for, how they are used, and where you might want to deploy them. You'll find information about the requirements of the component, the architecture, as well as how to monitor performance and administer applications with this functionality. The white paper is specific to SQL Server 2000, but applicable as well to SQL Server 7.0.
You can find a Microsoft Web paper describing what an admin needs to know about full text searches in SQL Server at: http://download.microsoft.com/download/sqlsvr2000/utility/2.7/win98mexp/en-us/Full-Text%20Search_Publish.exe.
Barrie Sosinsky is president of consulting company Sosinsky and Associates (Medfield MA). He has written extensively on a variety of computer topics. His company specializes in custom software (database and Web related), training and technical documentation.
This was first published in December 2002