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I can see there are three out of box templates available by SharePoint named as,

  • Enterprise Search Center
  • Basic Search Center
  • FAST Search Center

I created sites based on three templates, but I couldn't really see much of difference except when I try to search using FAST template I get this error,

The search request was unable to connect to the Search Service.

There isn't "much" difference between layouts but I would like to know if there is any major difference between the way they operate.

Its a fresh install and I used SharePoint wizard to install/configure all of these services.

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The reason you're getting the error for FAST is because it's a separate product which you probably don't have installed. –  lgaud Jan 23 '13 at 19:12
    
@lgaud You are right as need license for it which is separate then SharePoint server. –  Muhammad Raja Jan 23 '13 at 20:07
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2 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Here is a quick highlight on the differences:

  • Basic Search Center: Contextual Search within sites and lists.
  • Enterprise Search Center - Search Across Site collections and Web applications
  • FAST Search - Enhanced filtering capabilities along with document previews and visual best bets.

This link should offer you a little more detail:

http://onlinecoder.blogspot.com/2012/06/differences-between-basic-search-center.html

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Make sure your web application has service application connection with Search Service application.

A service application connection associates the service application to Web applications via membership in a service application connection group (also referred to as application proxy group).

In your SP installation, you might have configured other Search Service applications but no the FAST Search is being configured and hence you're getting the following issue

"The search request was unable to connect to the Search Service."

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