Recently I was working on a way to totally automate our SharePoint application build out, including farm provisioning one area where this is tricky is around deploying SSA’s (Search Service Applications).
We already had a nice PowerShell based farm build and code relase process to allow us to easily build and configure our farms from scratch and deploy our SharePoint application onto multiple environment configurations from dev (single server) through to production (multi-server farms).
However one area that was tricky and hard to automate was the configuration of the SSA, setup of crawl / query and index partitions etc.. as this is very different on small scale dev farms compared to large scale production farms.
We could have built a totally custom set of PowerShell scripts to do the job for us however with a bit of Simple token substitution and the use of these built in sharepoint commands you can deploy any SSA setup you like, using the XML file that is output when you call the Export-SPEnterpriseSearchTopology as your starting template.
Specific’s to follow later…