Cloud Hybrid Search In SharePoint

loud hybrid search helps users to search for content, which exists in SharePoint 2013 On-Premise Server along with the content search in Office 365. This is done by crawling the content in SharePoint 2013 Server and indexing it along with the search index in Office 365.


Before setting up Cloud hybrid search, we need to have prerequisites in SharePoint 2013 and Office 365 environment. Ensure the steps, mentioned below, are done.

Office 365 Prerequisite Configurations

The configurations that has to be done in Office 365 is already covered in some of the previous articles below:

SharePoint Server 2013 Prerequisite Configurations

As part of setting up the prerequisites in SharePoint Server 2013, we will have to ensure the successful provisioning of

  • Managed Metadata service application
  • User Profile Service application
  • My Sites
  • App Management Service Application
  • Subscription Setting Service
  • Setup Synchronization connection with Active Directory Services

When you set up cloud hybrid search, one of the steps is to create a cloud Search service application (cloud SSA) on your SharePoint Server 2013 or SharePoint Server 2016 search farm. When you create this cloud SSA, a default search architecture is created for you on the server running the cloud SSA. Each search farm can have only one cloud SSA but can have multiple SSAs in combination with the cloud SSA.

A search architecture for cloud hybrid search consists of search components and databases that form a topology, and servers that host that topology. You need to plan the number of crawl components for your topology, which servers to host the search components and databases on, and the hardware required for each server.

Before you get going, you should read Learn about the search topology for cloud hybrid search to familiarize yourself with the search components in a search architecture for cloud hybrid search.

Step 1 - How much on-premises content can I index in Office 365?

For each 1 TB of pooled storage space your tenant has in SharePoint Online, you can index 1 million items of on-premises content in the search index in Office 365. You can purchase more space to increase your quota until it reaches the threshold of 20 million items. If you need to index more than 20 million items of on-premises content, contact Microsoft Support to increase this threshold.

Step 2 - What size cloud search architecture do I need?

For cloud hybrid search we recommend using the default search architecture that you get.


When you create a cloud SSA, the grey components are inactive in cloud hybrid search, but they still need to be placed on the servers as shown.

Just as for on-premises only enterprise search, you can scale your search architecture. The main difference is that for cloud hybrid search it's only relevant to scale the crawl component. If you need to tune crawling, follow the guidelines for crawling in Redesign enterprise search topology for specific performance requirements in SharePoint 2013 (the guidance for crawling also applies to cloud hybrid search). Note that if you crawl on-premises content at a high rate, the system might throttle feeding to the Office 365 search index to protect the Office 365 tenancy. If your search architecture has up to two crawl components, this should result in a sufficient and acceptable crawl rate.

Step 3 - What hardware requirements should I be aware of for cloud search architecture?

Choose to run servers physically or virtually for cloud hybrid search:

We recommend a search architecture that uses virtual machines, but you can also use physical machines.

Choose hardware resources for the host servers for cloud hybrid search:

This table shows the minimum amount of hardware resources that each application server or database server needs,


On host




Application server 

100 GB 

16 GB 

1.8 GHz 4x CPU cores 

Database server 

100 GB 

16 GB 

1.8 GHz 4x CPU cores 

The number of CPU cores is specified here, not the number of CPU threads.

In addition to the above

Make sure that each host server has enough disk space for the base installation of the Windows Server operating system and for the SharePoint Server program files. The host server also needs free hard disk space for diagnostics such as logging, debugging, and creating memory dumps, for daily operations, and for the page file. Normally, 80 GB of disk space is enough for the Windows Server operating system and for the SharePoint Server program files.

Add storage to the SQL log space for each database server. If you don't set the database server to back up the databases often, the SQL log space uses lots of storage.

Cloud Hybrid Search Implementation with Hybrid Picker

Hybrid Picker is a wizard that can be downloaded to your SharePoint Server from Office 365. The wizard helps automate certain configuration steps needed to connect your on-premises SharePoint Server environment with SharePoint Online in Office 365. The Hybrid Picker wizard is your assistant, designed to do some of the work for you.

Use the Hybrid Picker wizard to set up the hybrid search environment between on-premises SharePoint Server and an extranet site made in Office 365. Hybrid Picker also creates a Server-to-Server (S2S)/OAuth connection for your SharePoint Hybrid features.

Using the Hybrid Picker

First, you need to make sure you meet the prerequisites in your SharePoint Server on-premises farm, then you can run the Hybrid Picker wizard.

Prerequisites to run the Picker

The Picker requires the .NET Framework 4.6.2 in order to run.

The following are the account requirements to run the Hybrid Picker. You must be:

  • A member of the Farm Administrators group
  • A service application administrator (Full Control) for the User Profile Service
  • An Office 365 Global Administrator
  • Logged into Office 365 and SharePoint Server from a server in your SharePoint Server farm
  • Able to launch the Hybrid Picker as a Farm Administrator with elevated permissions

Also in order to run the picker, we have some prerequisites that need to be completed. Download and install the modules, mentioned below.

Once the above pieces are in place we can start with Hybrid Search Configuration. Head over to Office 365 and go to the Admin Center by clicking on the Admin tile in the app launcher. 


Click on the SharePoint Admin center. 


Select Configure Hybrid options from the left menu.


This will open up the page from where we can start configuring the hybrid picker. Click on Hybrid Picker. 


From the SharePoint Hybrid Picker Configuration page, select click here. 


This will start opening up a page from where we can download and install the Microsoft SharePoint Hybrid Configuration Wizard. Click on Install. 


This will download the wizard to the local machine. 


Once the Wizard installation is completed, it opens up the Hybrid Configuration Wizard which will connect the SharePoint Server to Office 365.


Specify the Office 365 tenant administrator credentials in the Credentials Page.

n click on Validate credentials to check for its correctness. 


Make sure to disable Multi-Factor Authentication when doing this otherwise we will get an incorrect tenant credential as shown above. 


Once you get a successful message, close the validation window and click on Next. It takes you to a prerequisite checker page. Click on Next. 


Select the features you would like to configure as part of the Hybrid set up. Click on Next.


Select the Hybrid Search to configure as part of the Hybrid set up and then click on Input parameters.


After filling the input parameter for Hybrid search and then click OK to start the configuration.

This will start configuring the Hybrid Search. 


Then go to the Central administration, manage service application page and check the Hybrid search configuration.


So Cloud Hybrid search service has been successfully configured on the SharePoint 2013 on-premises.

Create a content source to crawl for cloud hybrid search

As a final step in configuring the Cloud hybrid search, we have to create a content source and run a full crawl in SharePoint 2013 On-Premise Server. Clicking on the Cloud Search Service Application will open up the Search Administration page. And select content source in the left pane of the search administration page.


Click Create New Content Source. This will open up the page, where we can add the start address of the content source, which has to be crawled.

We can also specify the crawl schedules. We can set the schedules when the incremental and full crawls will take place in the Server.

Now, let’s go ahead and run a full crawl.


Since this is the first time we are running the crawl, even if we click on the incremental crawl, a full crawl will take place and the time taken will depend upon the amount of the content within the content source.


Once the crawl has completed, let's test the hybrid search scenario by going to SharePoint Online and search for IsExternalContent: 1. 

‘IsExternalContent: 1’ is a property, which lists the search results only from the On-Premise environment. This has listed search results from SharePoint 2013 On-Premise Server in the SharePoint Online Search Page, which indicates a successful Hybrid Search Configuration.

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