The August cumulative update for SharePoint 2013 added a Cloud Search service application, which gives you the ability to marry your on-premises search server application to the cloud. It'll also work out-of-the-box with SharePoint 2016, whenever that thing finally comes out.

It does some magic in the back and kind of melds the two indexes together or, as Microsoft puts it, "supports crawling of on-premises content to build one unified index in the cloud."

The unified index will enable authenticated users to search from SharePoint Online and return results that include items from both on-premises content and online content without the need for implementing query federation. Authenticated users will also be able to query from SharePoint Server 2010, 2013 or 2016 on-premises for content from the SharePoint Online unified search index.

In simple terms, it takes the content you have on-premises — content being crawled by an on-premises search service app — and pushes the search index up to your Office 365 index. That means all of your search results can be found in either place because the indexes can talk to each other.

My Enthusiasm is Showing

The on-premises version is part of the search service app now. But for those of you who ran right out and set it up and were curious why it didn't work, it's not quite ready for prime time.

The 0ffice 365 portion is not ready and not published yet. It will be lit up on Sept. 7. So you can get ready now and then on Sept.7, you'll be able to wire it all up to your SharePoint  online tenant.

I got everybody excited about this recently and then I realized I hadn’t told you guys that the 0ffice 365 part is not quite there yet. There's nothing to hook up to, but it's coming.

One related topic about the August cumulative update for SharePoint 2013: As always, you should not install cumulative updates immediately when they came out, at least not in your production environments.

I installed some test environments and proof of concept environments and then I cussed them up one side and down the other because that's just what I do.

For test environments, for proof of concept environments, that's OK. But don't do install these in your production environments. 

Racing to Problems

This particular cumulative update has a couple of potential issues – the same search issue that was apparently introduced in the July 2015 cumulative update. You get some weird  query issues around time zones when you're doing searches, and you don't want to break search in production.

So be careful with that.

Adrienne Andrews hit me up on Twitter about this.

She's having problems attaching files to list items, so she very smartly reproduced her environment and created an MSDN form host bot to see if anyone else has had the same problem.

So I'm alerting you to that.

Don't Do What I Do

Someone asked if I have test script for cumulative updates or whether it's just poke and prod ad-hoc. It's the latter, because the product is so big, it's kind of impossible to test everything.

I don't have a hand ready cumulative update script. What I should have — and I work with a lot of customers, so I don't have this myself — but if you have an on-premises thing you should have a list of what your customers do.

Learning Opportunities

You should have a kind of a punch list of things that you need to test with new versions of the software and new environments that you build — anytime you install any sort of farm solutions or any kind of branding or any of these things. And sadly it's going to be seven pages long.

It's going to be: create a list item, edit a list item, delete a list item, upload a document, delete a document, all those kind of just redundant, horrible, things.

But that's the kind of list you need, really to go through these. So that's why, because it's such tedious work and so tough, that's kind of why I bring all this together with my wiki pages — so that you can see what other people do.  It's kind of crowdsourced … that's the word we're going to call it.

But as always, test the cumulative updates for a couple of months and see what's going on. If you need the Cloud Search service application, if you're itching to get this new patch out early … just be very careful.

These patches can be very helpful, but they do bite you sometimes and you cannot uninstall them, so be very very cautious.

What Else Can I Tell You?

Yes, there's more for you in Podcast 258. So if you're tired of reading, watch the podcast or listen on iTunes. The time stamps will link to the location of the content.

13:04 — Simplifying Hybrid Configuration with the new Hybrid Scenario Picker: This is something that sits in SharePoint online but it wedges itself into SharePoint 2013. This is kind of a wizard based way through SharePoint online, to wire up some of these hybrid scenarios 

14:32 — Conquering Azure and Office 365 with PowerShell: I'm a SharePoint guy and so I see everything through the SharePoint lens. And when I play with PowerShell, I think of it as SharePoint PowerShell

16:46 — Azure PowerShell cmdlets updated: Very few people are going to be able to go all into the cloud, and so that means they're going to be cmdlets hybrid

17:50 — The Converged Microsoft Account and Azure Active Directory Programming Model
22:30 — Windows 10 Tip - Print to PDF
27:31 — Microsoft Research Has Found A Solution To Improve Wearable’s Battery Life

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image by Donnie Ray Jones.

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