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While it's easy enough to create a new VM to host a search server, it can be a considerable use of space and resources, having to have yet another windows server in the business taking up whatever HDD space, ram, cpu, etc. We have other servers which are currently under-utilized and potentially could have Sharepoint on them as well.

I would be interested in hearing anyone else's experiences running Sharepoint instances alongside other applications, or on webservers, in terms of configuration changes, things to do/check and things that definitely are not compatible at all.

The SQL server is a separate machine. The farm will be made up of one server and it will likely be used by approx 10 people at any one time, max. This is why I don't want to dedicate extra resources to it if I don't have to.

I was wondering if Sharepoint Search Server 2010 plays nicely with others. Could I run it within a server that hosts several websites through IIS or will this be a bad idea? Does it need to be its own server doing nothing but Sharepoint?

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While it isn't required that SharePoint Search Server is installed on its own dedicated server, it's very strongly recommended that this is the case.

SharePoint Search Server may consume significant resources on the server depending upon the volume of content to be indexed and the churn on the items its indexing, which can directly impact the performance of other roles that the server may be running (the search functionality in particular doesn't just use IIS, there's a lot else going on).

In addition, when SharePoint is patched, the action of running the wizard will disrupt all other IIS-based applications for the duration of the wizard running as it stops the IIS services for the duration.

I have seen people running SharePoint on a server that was already hosting other IIS sites, but they usually end up moving it to a dedicated server eventually to address issues that have arisen.

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