Getting the Most from Your Google Search Appliance

Essentials

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Using the Admin Console


After the search appliance has been installed and configured, you can begin to use the Admin Console to crawl and index content sources in your organization, as well as to enhance, fine-tune, and optimize your search solution. The Admin Console is a web-based interface with pages that you use to set up and manage a search appliance.

For example, to enable user alerts (see Enabling User Alerts), use the Index > Alerts page in the Admin Console (shown in the following figure).

As shown in the figure, a navigation bar, which appears on every Admin Console page, provides easy access to other pages.

To retain changes you make on any Admin Console page, click the Save button. If you navigate to another page without clicking Save, your changes are lost.

Sections in this document that describe activities that use more than one Admin Console page contain references to those pages.

Logging in to the Admin Console

To log in to the Admin Console, enter your administrator User Name and Password. You can log in to the Admin Console using HTTP or HTTPS:

  • For a secure connection, use HTTPS on port 8443.

    Using HTTPS provides better protection for passwords and other information.

  • For an unsecure connection, use HTTP on port 8000.

    Using HTTP increase the risk of exposing passwords and other information to users on the network who are not authorized to see such information.

To log in to the Admin Console:

  1. Start a browser on any computer connected to your network.
  2. Type the Admin Console URL in the browser address bar.
    • For secure access, type https:// hostname:8443/ or https:// IP_address:8443/, where hostname is the host name assigned to the search appliance or IP_address is the IP address assigned to the search appliance.
    • For unsecure access, type http:// hostname :8000/ or https:// IP_address:8000/, where hostname is the host name assigned to the search appliance or IP_address is the IP address assigned to the search appliance.
  3. When the Admin Console login page appears, type admin in the user name field and type the password you assigned to the admin account during configuration in the password field.

Using the Admin Console Help

Each page in the Admin Console contains help links, as shown in the following figure.

By clicking the Help link you can navigate to the Help Center Welcome page. From this page, you can browse various help topics. By clicking a help link for a section of a page in the Admin Console, you can navigate to context-sensitive help about the page section.

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Using Language Options


The Google Search Appliance supports search and indexing in almost every language. Additionally, the search appliance provides the following types of language support:

The following sections briefly describe each type of language support.

Admin Console Language Options

The Admin Console and Help are localized into the following languages:

  • Arabic
  • Basque
  • Catalan
  • Chinese (Simplified)
  • Chinese (Traditional)
  • Czech
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • English-UK
  • English-US
  • Finnish
  • French
  • Galician
  • German
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Hungarian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Norwegian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese-Brazil
  • Portuguese-Portugal
  • Russian
  • Slovak
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
  • Thai
  • Turkish
  • Vietnamese

The language of the Admin Console is determined by the language setting in your browser. If the Admin Console does not appear in the language that you prefer, set your browser for your preferred language.

Spell Checker in Multiple Languages

By default, the search appliance provides spelling suggestions for your searches. Similar to Google.com, when you type a search term that the search appliance detects as a possible misspelling, the search appliance responds with a spelling suggestion. The spell checker supports the following languages:

  • U.S. English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Brazilian Portuguese
  • Spanish

You cannot edit the search appliance’s spell checker.

Front End Language Options

The Google Search Appliance can present search results pages in a language other than English, the default. You also can have several languages active for your users and the search appliance will present search results for an active language based on the settings detected in the user’s computer.

The search appliance allows multiple stylesheets that present the search page, advanced search, and results pages in different languages, all associated with a single front end. The language-specific stylesheet is selected based on the Accept-language header sent from the user’s browser. The stylesheet is selected from the set of languages marked “active”; if there is no match, the default language is used.

Selecting a Language for a Front End

To change the default language for a front end, use the Language drop-down menu on the Output Format tab of the Search > Search Features > Front Ends page in the Admin Console.

To make a language active, use either the Page Layout Helper or the XSLT Stylesheet Editor. A language-specific stylesheet is created when you make a language active. You can customize the stylesheet for each language independently.

Learn More about Front End Language Options

For more information about front end language options, refer to the Admin Console help page for the Output Format tab of the Search > Search Features > Front Ends page.

Search Results Language Filtering

For a given front end, you can choose to:

  • Present search results in any language
  • Filter search results by one or more specific languages

Filtering supports the following languages:

  • Arabic
  • Chinese (Simplified)
  • Chinese (Traditional)
  • Czech
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • English
  • Estonian
  • Finnish
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Hungarian
  • Icelandic
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Latvian
  • Lithuanian
  • Norwegian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
  • Turkish

Selecting Languages for Filtering

To select languages for filtering search results, use the Filters tab on the Search > Search Features > Front Ends page in the Admin Console.

Learn More about Filtering Search Results by Language

For more information about language filters, refer to the following topics in Google Search Appliance documentation:

Query Expansion in Multiple Languages

The Google Search Appliance provides preconfigured local synonyms files for query expansion in the following languages:

  • Arabic
  • Czech
  • Dutch
  • U.S. English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Slovak
  • Spanish
  • Swedish

Whenever a user enters a search query that matches a synonym in one of these languages, the term is expanded.

Enabling a Language Synonyms File

You can enable or disable a synonyms file by using the Search > Search Features > Query Settings page in the Admin Console.

Learn More about Language Synonyms Files

For information about language synonyms files, refer to "Using Preconfigured Local Query Expansion Files" in Creating the Search Experience.

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Extending Universal Search


In addition to enhancing universal search by using the Google Search Appliance features described in this document, you can also extend universal search by:

Controlling Results with the Search Protocol

The Search Protocol is an HTTP-based protocol that enables you to control how search results are requested and presented to a user.

A search request is a standard HTTP GET command to the Google Search Appliance. The search appliance returns results in either XML or HTML format, as specified in the search request. HTML-formatted results can be displayed directly in a web browser.

XML-formatted output makes it possible to process the search results in web applications or other environments.

The search protocol provides capabilities for:

Manipulating Search Requests

Use search parameters in a search request to manipulate search results. Ways that you can use search parameters to manipulate search results include:

  • Serving search results in XML without applying an XSLT stylesheet
  • Formatting search results by using an XSLT stylesheet associated with a specific front end
  • Limiting search results to the contents of a specified collection

Restricting Searches

Use query terms to restrict a search. Ways that you can use query terms to restrict searches include:

  • Restricting a search to pages that contain all the search terms in the anchor text of the page
  • Restricting a search to documents with modification dates that fall within a time frame
  • Restricting a search to documents containing a keyword in the title

Processing XML Output

XML-formatted output makes it possible to integrate the search results in various applications. Using the Google XML results format, you can use your own XML parser to customize the display for your search users.

Google XML results can be returned with or without a reference to the most recent DTD (Document Type Definition) describing Google’s XML format. The DTD is a guide to help search administrators and XML parsers understand the XML results output.

Useful Knowledge for Using the Search Protocol

To use the Search Protocol, you need a basic understanding of the HTTP protocol and HTML document format.

To work with search results in XML format, you need a basic understanding of XML and XSLT.

Learn More about the Search Protocol

For complete information about the Search Protocol and the XML results format, refer to the Search Protocol Reference.

Writing Applications with the Feeds Protocol

The Feeds Protocol enables you to write a custom application to feed a data source into the Google Search Appliance for processing, indexing, and serving. You can also use a feed to remove content from the index.

Use the publicly available GSA Feed Manager (http://code.google.com/p/gsafeedmanager/ to help you feed data to the GSA and to alleviate potential issues with creating a feed client.

Useful Knowledge for Writing a Feed Client

To write your own feed client, you need knowledge of the following technologies:

  • HTTP--Hypertext Transfer Protocol
  • XML--Extensible Markup Language
  • A scripting language, such as Python

Learn More about the Feeds Protocol

For complete documentation on feeds, refer to the Feeds Protocol Developer’s Guide.

Integrating with an Existing Access-Control Infrastructure

You can enable a Google Search appliance to communicate with an existing access control infrastructure by using the following Service Provider Interfaces (SPIs):

These interfaces communicate by way of standard Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) messages.

Before using the Authentication and Authorization SPI, you must configure the appliance to crawl and index some secure controlled-access content. The SPI is only used when a user queries for secure results.

Authentication SPI

The Authentication SPI allows search users to authenticate to the Google Search Appliance. Instead of authenticating search users itself, the search appliance redirects the user to an Identity Provider, a customer-implemented server, where the actual authentication takes place. The Identity Provider then redirects the user back to the appliance, while passing information that includes the identity of the search user.

The Authentication SPI supports the following methods:

  • HTTP Basic
  • NTLM HTTP
  • Server Message Block (SMB)/Common Internet File System (CIFS) (public only)

If you use the Authentication SPI, you must use the Authorization SPI as well. However, if you decide to authenticate your users with x509 certificates, or LDAP, you do not need to implement the Authentication SPI.

Authorization SPI

Once the user’s identity has been authenticated, the Authorization SPI checks to see whether the user is authorized to view each of the secure documents that match their search. Using the authenticated cookie set during Authentication, the search appliance sends a message inside a SAML Authorization request. The message contains the user identity and the URL to the customer’s server that provides access control services, or Policy Decision Point. In response to authorization check requests, the Policy Decision Point responds with a message that says either “Permit,” “Deny,” or “Indeterminate.”

The Authorization SPI can be used with any one of the following authentication methods:

  • The SAML Authentication SPI, which requires web services from an Identity Provider
  • LDAP directory service integration, including ActiveDirectory
  • x.509 Certificates for user authentication

When using the SAML Authorization SPI to serve secure content results from SMB shares, you must use Kerberos for user authentication.

Useful Knowledge for Writing Web Services

To write an Identity Provider or Policy Decision Point web service, you need a basic understanding of the following technologies.

  • XML--Extensible Markup Language
  • SAML 2.0--An XML-based standard whose primary use case is inter-domain single sign-on
  • SOAP 1.1--The Simple Object Access Protocol, an XML-based protocol for exchanging information over the Internet

Configuring the Search Appliance for Using the SPIs

Configure the search appliance to use the Authentication SPI by using the SAML tab of the Search > Secure Search > Universal Login Auth Mechanisms page. Configure the search appliance to use the Authorization SPI by using the Search > Secure Search > Flexible Authorization page.

Learn More about the SAML Authentication and Authorization SPIs

For more information about how the SAML Authentication and Authorization SPIs work and how to set up the Identity Provider and Policy Decision Point web services that are required by the Authentication and Authorization SPIs, refer to the Authentication/Authorization for Enterprise SPI Guide.

For more information on search appliance configuration for use with these SPIs, refer to the section "The SAML Authentication Service Provider Interface (SPI)" in Managing Search for Controlled-Access Content.

Developing Custom Connectors

In GSA release 7.4, the on-board connector manager and connectors are deprecated. They will be removed in a future release. If you have configured on-board connectors for your GSA, install and configure an off-board Google Connector. For more information, see the documentation that is available from the Connector Documentation page.

Google provides the Google Search Appliance connector framework for developing custom connectors to non-web repositories. The Google Search Appliance Connector Framework project on code.google.com provides open source software for the connector manager and connectors. Developers using the resources provided in this project can create connectors for virtually any type of document-based repository. Google does not support the open-source software or changes you make to the open-source software.

Useful Knowledge for Developing Connectors

To develop a custom content connector by using the Connector Framework, you need a basic understanding of the following technologies:

  • A content management system and its API
  • Java programming with JDK 1.4.2 or later
  • The Spring Framework and Inversion of Control (IOC)

Learn More about Developing Custom Connectors

For information about developing a connector, refer to the Connector Developer’s Guide, http://google-enterprise-connector-manager.googlecode.com/svn/docs/devguide/.

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Monitoring a Search Appliance


The Google Search Appliance provides extensive reports (see Using Search Appliance Reports) that can help you to analyze the content that has or has not been indexed and why. You can also monitor the Search Appliance by using an SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) management application (see Monitoring a Search Appliance with SNMP). SNMP is an Internet standard protocol that is used to monitor the operation of devices on a network.

Using Search Appliance Reports

Reports are available from the Admin Console. The following table lists and describes each report and gives the Admin Console page where you can find the report.

Report

Description

Admin Console page

Crawl status

Crawl status shows documents served, crawling rate and errors.

Content Sources > Diagnostics > Crawl Status

Crawl diagnostics

Crawl diagnostics provide interactive navigation through directories to see the status of each page. It also provides a “list format,” which displays each of the crawled URLs and status.

Index > Diagnostics > Index Diagnostics

Real-time diagnostics

Real-time diagnostics provide real-time information for the search appliance, including HTTP headers for a specific URL and traffic on the network layer.

Content Sources > Diagnostics > Real-time Diagnostics, Search > Diagnostics > Real-time Diagnostics

Crawl queue snapshot

A crawl queue snapshot shows the set of URLs that are overdue to be crawled and the URLs that the appliance is waiting to crawl. Multiple snapshots can be defined, each with their own criteria, such as number of URLs to include, forthcoming hours to include, and include URLs from a specific host.

Content Sources > Diagnostics > Crawl Queue

Content statistics

Content statistics provide summary information about crawled files such as Mime Types, Number of Files, Average Size, Total Size, Minimum Size, and Maximum Size.

Index > Diagnostics > Content Statistics

Serving status

Serving status shows recent queries per second by collection.

Search > Diagnostics > Search Status

System status

The System Status page monitors the available disk space, the temperature of the components, and the status of the computers that make up the search appliance.

Administration > System Status

Serving logs

Serving logs contain detailed information about how the search appliance serves results for every query.

Reports > Search Logs

Search reports

A search report is a summary of information about user search queries for a specified timeframe.

Reports > Search Reports

Search logs

Search log reports provide a monthly, weekly or daily snapshot of search activity, segmented by collection. For each time period, the report shows the top 100 queries, top no match searches, traffic by day and hour, an so on.

Reports > Search Logs

Event log

The event log is an audit trail of all system activity, including user logins and logouts, crawling and indexing activity per collection and other statistics.

Administration > Event Log

Monitoring a Search Appliance with SNMP

You can also set up the search appliance so that status information can be monitored using any third-party SNMP management application. Through SNMP, the search appliance provides a subset of the information that appears in the Admin Console. The data provided through SNMP is read-only.

Using SNMP with a Search Appliance

To use SNMP monitoring with your search appliance, you need:

  • Management Information Base (MIB) files for the search appliance, which you can obtain from Google
  • A third-party SNMP management application, such as HP OpenView, freeware utility Getif, or Linux tool snmpwalk
  • To enable and configure SNMP on the Administration > SNMP Configuration page

Learn More about Using SNMP with a Search Appliance

For more information about using SNMP with your search appliance, refer to the Admin Console help page for Administration > SNMP Configuration.

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Getting Help


Google provides information, assistance, and third-party experts for helping you to deploy your search appliance. You can use the following resources for getting help with your deployment:

This section briefly describes each resource and contains links that you can follow to get more information about each one.

The search appliance Admin Console also provides assistance in the form of help pages. For more information about this type of help, refer to Using the Admin Console Help.

Getting Help from Google Cloud Support

Google provides technical support for the Google Search Appliance on the Google Cloud Technical Support web site.

The support term for your Google Search Appliance is generally two years. Your Google support account generally begins upon shipment of your search appliance. Coverage includes both software updates and support as well as hardware warranty and support. A support account also provides you with access to advisories, and other technical material. The welcome email you receive from Google contains the user name and password for your support account.

Your support account information includes the terms of the Technical Support Guidelines for your search appliance.

For details on how to contact support, go to https://support.google.com/work/answer/142244.

To request escalation of an Google Cloud ticket, do so in your email to Google Cloud Support, providing the ticket number, reason for the request and the current business impact.

Under the terms of the Support Agreements for the Google Search Appliance, Google Cloud Support requires direct access to your search appliance to provide some types of support. For example, direct access is needed to determine whether your search appliance is eligible to be returned to Google and exchanged for a new search appliance. Different access methods have different requirements. The requirements for remote access are discussed in Remote access methods for technical support https://support.google.com/gsa/answer/2644822).

When you open a ticket with Google Cloud Support (via email or phone), you must provide the following information in your request:

  • The ID of the Google Search Appliance(s) affected
  • The software version on the affected Google Search Appliance(s)
  • A detailed description of the issue
  • The information for the person (or people) to contact
  • How remote access to the Google Search Appliance(s) will be achieved (that is, support call, SSH, and so on)

Learn More about Google Cloud Support

To learn more about Google Cloud support, visit their web site. You can also find more information in Planning for Search Appliance Installation and Installing the Google Search Appliance.

Getting Expert Help from Google Partners

Google partners are preferred third-party experts that can help you with search appliance deployment and customization. Google partners can be especially helpful with complex search appliance deployments.

Learn More about Google Partners

You can find a directory of Google partners at the Google Cloud Search Partner Directory (http://www.google.com/enterprise/search/partners/index.html) This site links customers to vendors whose solutions integrate and extend Google’s communication, collaboration, and enterprise search products. You might also visit the G Suite Marketplace (http://www.google.com/enterprise/marketplace/, where you can read some customer success stories from Marketplace vendors (http://solutionsmarketplace.blogspot.com/).

Taking Google Training

Google offers the following types of training for customers and partners:

  • Self-paced tutorials
  • Instructor-led webinars
  • Instructor-led public courses and private classes held at your location
  • All courses are delivered by certified Google Cloud instructors

Learn More about Google Training

For more information about training, visit the Google Search Appliance training page (http://www.learngsa.com/).

Joining the Google Search Appliance Discussion Forum

Google wants you to get all possible value from your Google Search Appliance. An effective way to do this is to join the Google Search Appliance Discussion Forum (http://groups.google.com/group/Google-Search-Appliance) At this discussion forum, you can post questions and feedback, or solicit advice for other users. The group also provides access to a knowledge base and useful files for administering a Google Search Appliance.

Members of the Google Search Appliance group includes other Google Search Appliance customers, administrators, and users. Members of the Google Search Appliance product, engineering, and support teams monitor the groups and occasionally provide assistance to other members.

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