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FAST for SharePoint 2010 Non-Admin node configuration

I spent considerable time last week trying to build 2-node FAST for SharePoint 2010 implementation. Creating the setup.xml file and building the admin FAST node was the easy part, but trying to connect the non-admin node is what took up most of my time.

(The default FAST installation creates 3 example files under C:FASTSearchetc directory, they are named deployment.sample.single.xml, deployment.sample.multi1(2).xml, most of the time you can tweak them to suit your needs instead of trying to create on from scratch.)

When running the configuration wizard, the error I kept getting was:

{drive}:FASTSearchbinMonitoringServiceConfig.exe” Output – Error: The file ‘{drive}:FASTSearchetcmiddleware.cfg’ was not found.

I searched through the blogs for quite some time, and I should here thank all the bloggers out there which provided useful information (including our very own David Sobiecki), links provided at the bottom here.

  1. Issue ncrtl status on the FAST admin node: we need to make sure all services show status running
  2. Try running setfastsearchipsec -create on the non-admin FAST node: this will prompt connection to the FAST admin node and parsing the setup.xml file. Depending on the error reported it’s usually either connectivity issue to the FAST admin node, or incorrect setup.xml formatting
  1. Recreate the setup.xml file using notepad: apparently fancier XML editors add invisible characters that FAST configuration wizard doesn’t like, so to be safe you should paste content on notepad and quickly proofread for any characters that are not supposed to be there
  1. Disable firewall on the FAST Admin node: now I know this is not best practice, but in my case it worked. FAST configuration wizard will complain if the firewall is disabled, so I tried many combinations. Having the firewall enabled on the non-admin node and disabled on the admin node is what worked for me
  2. Finally, unselect browser proxy settings (automatically detect settings, use proxy server etc.) on the non-admin node

Hope this summary will help other people who run into similar issue. If you feel inclined to read more, here is a list of blogs I used:

http://davemcmahon81.wordpress.com/2011/07/30/adding-a-non-admin-server-to-fast-search-for-sharepoint-2010-fails/

http://blogs.technet.com/b/speschka/archive/2010/05/25/solving-configuration-failures-with-non-admin-nodes-in-fast-search-for-sharepoint.aspx

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/scottos/archive/2010/07/16/we-need-to-talk-aka-it-s-not-me-it-s-you.aspx

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/sharepoint2010setup/thread/f80c1daf-50d0-4d33-84b5-c5533a6a129f

https://dotnetmafia.sys-con.com/node/1855150/mobile

http://blogs.pointbridge.com/Blogs/Sobiecki_David/Pages/Post.aspx?_ID=3

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