Solr-as-a-Service Quick Start - SearchStax

This page contains everything you need to know to take SearchStax® , the leading Solr-as-a-Service platform, for a test drive. We even supply the Solr configuration and sample documents for you to load. The instructions apply to both Linux and Windows.

Contents of this page:

  1. Set Up an Account
  2. Create a Solr Deployment
  3. Install the Zookeeper Script
  4. Upload a Solr Configuration
  5. Create a Collection
  6. Index Documents
  7. Search the Collection

Tips and Tricks

Next Steps


1. Set Up an Account

To create a SearchStax® account, look for the enrollment form on this page. Enter your email address and click on Sign Up.

SearchStax sign-up form

Note that a trial user will not be charged to create an initial deployment. Monthly billing rates are displayed for your information.

For detailed information concerning accounts, see the Account Setup page. We also offer several Support Plans to better serve our clients.


2. Create a Solr Deployment

Deployments are created from the SearchStax Dashboard. You will need to choose the appropriate Cloud Provider and the Plan that works for you. SearchStax supports Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure for self-service evaluations, but we can also provide Google Cloud on request.

SearchStax Create New Deployment screen

Note that trial users receive a grace period of ten days before being billed.

Once the deployment has been created, view the deployment details by clicking the deployment's name:

SearchStax Deployment link

The details page shows the status of all deployment servers plus the URLs of the deployment's Solr Load Balancer and Zookeeper Ensemble. You will need these URLs in subsequent steps on this page.

SearchStax Server Details

The API Termination Protection button shields this deployment from unintended deletion by someone using the SearchStax Provisioning API. It is a peace-of-mind feature.

To learn more about Cloud Providers and Plans, see Plans.

3. Install the Zookeeper Script

Apache ZooKeeper is a centralized service for maintaining configuration information. In a SearchStax deployment, Zookeeper acts as a centralized repository for your Solr configuration files.

In production systems, there are typically three or more Zookeeper instances, collectively called an "ensemble." This is what you get with a SearchStax "standard" plan. Our "basic" plan has only one Zookeeper instance.

We have created a script to help you interact with your Zookeeper ensemble. This script makes it easier to connect to Zookeeper and upload your Solr configurations. We provide both Linux and Windows versions of the script.

Note

The script's ZIP file includes a small amount of sample data so you can deploy a simple Solr configuration right away. The script's parameters are preset to support this default deployment.

We have made the script available in several different ways. Choose the one that is easiest for you. All methods download the same master.zip file, which contains both the Linux and Windows scripts. Unzip the file in a directory of your choice.

Unzip the file. The top-level directory is \searchstax-client-master. Navigate to the scripts subdirectory (\searchstax-client-master\solr-5\scripts). Locate zkcli.sh and zkcli.bat in that directory. These are the Linux and Windows versions of the script, respectively.


4. Upload a Solr Configuration

It is easy to deploy your Solr project it to the cloud. This involves uploading your Solr configuration files to the Zookeeper ensemble of your SearchStax deployment. Zookeeper, in turn, will distribute the configuration files to the server(s) that need them.

We have provided example configuration files for the purposes of this exercise. They are part of master.zip.

In a terminal window, navigate to the \searchstax-client-master\solr-5\scripts directory and then run the appropriate script:

Linux:

> ./zkcli.sh -zkhost <zookeeper URL> -cmd upconfig -confdir <Solr configuration> -confname <configuration name>

Windows:

$ zkcli.bat -zkhost <zookeeper URL> -cmd upconfig -confdir <Solr configuration> -confname <configuration name>

where <zookeeper URL> is the Zookeeper Ensemble URL from your deployment details page; Screenshot

<Solr configuration> is the path to your Solr configuration directory (../configsets/basic_configs/conf/); and <configuration name> will be Zookeeper's internal name for this configuration (test1).

For example:

./zkcli.sh -zkhost ss180178-1-zk-us-west-2-aws.measuredsearch.com:2181 -cmd upconfig 
           -confdir ../configsets/basic_configs/conf/ -confname test1

When successful, you'll see a number of INFO messages scroll by. The last few lines list the configuration files that have been uploaded to Zookeeper. The final message says "EventThread shut down."


5. Create a Collection

The remaining Quick Start steps require the use of cURL, a common command-line tool for getting or sending files using URL syntax. cURL is freely available for many operating systems, including Linux and Windows.

Once you have uploaded your configuration, you can create a Solr collection by specifying its name, number of shards, number of replications, and any other parameters you require.

In a terminal window, run the following cURL command. (You can run this command from any directory.)

Linux:

$ curl '<Load Balancer URL>admin/collections?action=CREATE&name=<collectionName>&collection.configName=<configName>&numShards=1'

Windows

> curl.exe "<Load Balancer URL>admin/collections?action=CREATE&name=<collectionName>&collection.configName=<configName>&numShards=1" -k

Note the use of double-quotes in Windows. Also, the "-k" switch will turn off aggressive certificate checking.

Note

If you have difficulty using cURL for Windows, try running cURL from Cygwin instead. It is much more user-friendly.

<Load Balancer URL> is the URL from the deployment details page for your deployment. Screenshot

<collectionName> is the name of the new Solr collection (testcollection), and <configName> is the name of the configuration you uploaded to Zookeeper (test1).

For example:

$ curl 'https://ss180178-us-west-2-aws.measuredsearch.com/solr/admin/collections?action=CREATE&name=testcollection&collection.configName=test1&numShards=1&replicationFactor=1&maxShardsPerNode=1'

If you do not specify values for numShards, replicationFactor, and maxShardsPerNode, they will default to 1, 1, and 1. This is appropriate for a Basic deployment plan, but a Standard deployment should have replicationFactor set to 3 (or to the number of servers in the deployment).

When successful, cURL will display an XML return document similar to the following one. Look for the word "success."

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<response>
    <lst name="responseHeader">
        <int name="status">0</int>
        <int name="QTime">4438</int>
    </lst>
    <lst name="success">
        <lst name="10.0.0.5:8983_solr">
            <lst name="responseHeader">
                <int name="status">0</int>
                <int name="QTime">3019</int>
            </lst>
            <str name="core">
                testcollection_shard1_replica1
            </str>
        </lst>
    </lst>
</response>

If you are in any doubt about whether a collection exists, display the server's details page and click the Solr Load Balancer link.

Solr Load Balancer Link

This takes you to the Solr dashboard for that server. Click Collection in the navigation panel on the left. You'll see a list of all existing collections on that server. SearchStax Solr Collections In this image we see that the testcollection has been successfully created.


6. Index Documents

Once the Solr index has been initialized by creating a Collection, you can load your documents.

In a terminal window, navigate to the \searchstax-client-master\solr-5\data directory. This is where our example data file, sample.json resides. This file contains two extremely brief documents:

[
 {"id" : "TestDoc1", "title_s" : "test1"},
 {"id" : "TestDoc2", "title_s" : "another test"}
]

Run the following cURL command in the terminal window:

Linux:

$ curl -X POST -H 'Content-type:application/json' -d <datafile>
    '<Load Balancer URL><collectionName>/update?commit=true'

Windows:

> curl.exe -X POST -H "Content-type:application/json" -d <datafile>
    "<Load Balancer URL><collectionName>/update?commit=true" -k

Note the use of double-quotes in Windows. Also, the "-k" switch will turn off aggressive certificate checking.

<datafile> is the path and file name of the file to upload (@sample.json). <Load Balancer URL> is the URL from the SearchStax dashboard for your deployment. <collectionName> is the name of the new Solr collection (testcollection).

For example:

$ curl -X POST -H 'Content-type:application/json' -d @sample.json 'https://ss180178-us-west-2-aws.measuredsearch.com/solr/testcollection/update?commit=true'

When successful, cURL returns a confirmation similar to this one:

{"responseHeader":{"status":0,"QTime":163}}


7. Search the Collection

A simple query will demonstrate that all of the previous steps have been accomplished correctly.

You can query your Solr index (from any directory) using the following cURL command:

Linux:

$ curl '<Load Balancer URL><collectionName>/select?q=*:*&wt=json&indent=true'

Windows:

> curl.exe "<Load Balancer URL><collectionName>/select?q=*:*&wt=json&indent=true" -k

Note the use of double-quotes in Windows. Also, the "-k" switch will turn off aggressive certificate checking.

<Load Balancer URL> is the URL from the deployment details page for your deployment. <collectionName> is the name of the new Solr collection (testcollection). The query asks for every document (*:*), with the output in indented json format.

For instance:

$ curl 'https://ss180178-us-west-2-aws.measuredsearch.com/solr/testcollection/select?q=*:*&wt=json&indent=true'

A successful search returns a json document similar to this one. Note that Solr located both of our indexed documents.

{
  "responseHeader":{
    "zkConnected":true,
    "status":0,
    "QTime":22,
    "params":{
      "q":"*:*",
      "indent":"true",
      "wt":"json"}},
  "response":{"numFound":2,"start":0,"docs":[
      {
        "id":"TestDoc1",
        "title_s":"test1",
        "_version_":1546014212821614592},
      {
        "id":"TestDoc2",
        "title_s":"another test",
        "_version_":1546014212892917760}]
  }}

If you prefer, you can also query the collection through the dashboard of the Solr Load Balancer. Go back to the deployment details page for your deployment and click on the Load Balancer URL. Screenshot
This takes you directly to the Solr Dashboard. Select testcollection and navigate to the Query tab. The default query is *:*. Screenshot
Scroll down to the bottom of this page and click the Execute Query button. You'll see the same json response document as was discussed above.


Tips and Tricks

Here are a few insights to help manage your SearchStax distribution.

Update the Schema (and Clear the Index)

It is very common to make changes in your Solr schema during the early stages of your project. Updating the Solr configuration is simple, but a schema change invalidates the existing index. To delete the index, see Troubleshooting Solr Issues.

Expand/Contract Your Deployment

SearchStax gives you the ability to add servers to your initial deployment during peak times of the year, and to retire them again during the off-season. From the SearchStax dashboard for your deployment, select the Options Menu and click Add nodes.

SearchStax Add Nodes

Then use the quantity button control to adjust the size of your deployment up or down. Billing is adjusted automatically.
Screenshot
It usually takes only a few minutes for the changes to take effect, depending on the number of nodes and the size of your index.

If you change the number of servers in your deployment to meet seasonal demands, SearchStax does not automatically adjust the number of shards or replicas. That adjustment is up to you. See AddReplica in the Solr documentation.


Next Steps

Success! You have created your first SearchStax deployment with a Solr Collection. You have deployed a Solr project, loaded documents into the index, and have performed a successful query!

Now you can read through the rest of the documentation to learn the details of everything that SearchStax can do for you!


Contact Us!

Don't hesitate to reach out to us at support@measuredsearch.com. We are happy to answer your questions.