Azure Search from Microsoft provides an easy to use search service in the Cloud and is especially useful for providing powerful search services for web applications and mobile apps. In today’s blog, we’ll be covering the basics you need to know to get started using this feature. Let’s dive in!
Azure Search has both a simple query syntax which supports full text search including logical operators, phrase search, as well as suffix and precedence operators. In addition, there is a Lucene query syntax that supports fuzzy search, proximity search, term boosting, and regular expressions.
As opposed to Microsoft Global Search, Azure Search also supports full text search and can search across multiple entities, however, it does has a limit on the number of entities that can be enabled for Global search. Azure Search offers these key benefits:
- Multiple index
- Each index can contain fields from multiple entities
- Display fields and search fields can be separated
- Sort fields can be specified and sorted on
- Filterable fields can be specified
- Support facets
As you can see, the Azure Search index provides many options for customizing and configuring the search experience. A key item to note is that a search query can be issued only against one index.
Setting up Azure Search
Here are a few things to keep in mind when setting up the Azure Search:
- Decide and plan on the entities and fields that needs to be searched in CRM.
- Group the search items. Each of these groups will become an index in Azure Search.
- Each group can contain multiple entities, so specify the query accordingly and populate the Azure Search index.
- For populating and maintaining the Azure Search index, the best way is to write a web service that checks for updates and changes in CRM and syncs the CRM data with the Azure Index.
- Use Dynamics CRM change tracking to retrieve records that have been updated and update the Azure index.
- Use the Azure Search in your web app to provide a rich search experience for your CRM data.
Azure Search provides a quick and easy way of augmenting your custom web app with rich search capabilities. The specific application for this example was a simplified case management portal, using CRM 2016 Online as the back end, Azure Search for proving search capabilities and hosted on Azure Load balanced VMs with Office 365 providing authentication.
Want to learn more about Azure? Check out our free webinar on demand: Microsoft Dynamics CRM with Microsoft Azure.