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Download compiled version of tools under Releases.

When to use it

Measuring the liveliness of SharePoint's search index is particularly important when developing search-driven applications. Especially since liveliness varies over time. With SPSearchIndexLiveliness, any SharePoint user with write access to a list can continuously measure how far behind the index is from content.

How to use it

After compiling the solution, create a generic list anywhere visited by the crawler. Then run SPSearchIndexLiveliness as follows (username and password are for SharePoint Online only):

# SPSearchIndexLiveliness.exe webUrl listTitle pingInterval [username] [password]
%> .\SPSearchIndexLiveliness.exe https://bugfree.sharepoint.com/sites/liveliness Pings 30 rh@bugfree.onmicrosoft.com password | tee Log.txt

This causes SPSearchIndexLiveliness to continuously print liveliness statistics to the terminal and Log.txt.

Example output running against SharePoint Online:

Run     Replies    Current time           Most recent reply      Latency
4427	6258	   10/14/2015 00:00:19	  10/13/2015 23:55:55	 00:04:24
4428	6258	   10/14/2015 00:00:39	  10/13/2015 23:55:55	 00:04:44
4429	6258	   10/14/2015 00:00:58	  10/13/2015 23:55:55	 00:05:03
4430	6258	   10/14/2015 00:01:17	  10/13/2015 23:55:55	 00:05:22
4431	6258	   10/14/2015 00:01:34	  10/13/2015 23:55:55	 00:05:39
4432	6258	   10/14/2015 00:01:52	  10/13/2015 23:55:55	 00:05:57
4433	6258	   10/14/2015 00:02:11	  10/13/2015 23:55:55	 00:06:16
4434	6258	   10/14/2015 00:02:29	  10/13/2015 23:55:55	 00:06:34
4435	6258	   10/14/2015 00:02:51	  10/13/2015 23:55:55	 00:06:56

To help diagnose operational issues with search and/or your application, Log.txt could be imported into a spreadsheet for further processing.

As an example, 24-hour statistics for October 14, 2015 has been imported into SharePoint-Online-latency-example.xlsx and a latency over time graph produced. Given that SharePoint Online has continous crawl enabled by default, performance during business hours is sub-optimal:

Latence over time

The minimum, maximum, and average latencies are 0.87, 56.43, and 12.93 minutes, respectively.

Constructing a histogram from the 3,612 measurements gives a feel for the distribution of data. Assuming data is representative, the histogram is useful for defining latency requirements:

Latence over time

From the histogram, we can derive the cumulative percentage of measurements:

Cumulative percentages

Interacting with a queing-based system like SharePoint Search, requirements are best phrased (and verified) in terms of percentages and latency. For intance, from the cumulative percentages, a reasonable requirement might be that "80% of search requests must show content no older than 25 minutes".

In principle, we can only get to "100% of search requests ..." by accepting an infinite latency. Queing-based (asynchronous) systems are generally build to scale better than request/reply-based (synchronous) systems. Forcing an asynchronous system to operate in synchronous mode generally leads to bad performance.

How it works

Each ping interval around, SPSearchIndexLiveliness adds an item to a list and queries the list using SharePoint Search. As the search result contains all indexed list elements, latency is computed as the difference between current time and creation time of the most recent item returned by search.

Supported platforms

SharePoint 2013 on-prem and SharePoint Online.