Virtualizing SharePoint query role


The query role’s responsibility is to respond to search requests from the web role  and secondly to maintain a propagated copy of the index stored on the Query servers local file system. It is a good candidate for virtualization, as long as SharePoint architects take a few key factors into consideration:

  • For best performance, use fastest disk infrastructure possible: Prefer dedicated physical volumes on underlying SAN infrastructure using the “pass through” disk feature of Hyper V or fixed disk VHDs on that LUN over dynamically expanding virtual hard disks. Performance of a fixed size VHD is practically en par with pass-through disks and has management and backup advantages. 
  • Don’t put your query and index server on the same underlying physical disk: Index server is heavy read write while query server is constantly updating its own copy of the index. Therefore contention to underlying disk will slow read I/O for your query servers in your MOSS Farm.
  • Combine or split the Web/Query role:  SharePoint architects often combine web and query roles. In the virtualized environments this is also a good practice but it largely depends on your environment and performance requirements. Virtualization environments provide the flexibility to split combined web/query role onto separate machines.

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