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we currently have one SP farm with a couple of SharePoint 2013 On-Premise servers (behind a load-balancer) and also a separate SharePoint Online instance. We have been asked to implement Cloud Hybrid Search, such that the results from SPO should show up in the on-prem site (along with on-prem search results). Also the results from on-prem should show up in the SPO site search results. So basically it has to be a two-way/bi-directional search. Is this possible in Cloud Hybrid Search? I have seen several articles saying that Inward and Outward (bi-directional) search results are possible using Federated Hybrid Search, but I don't know if it is possible in Cloud Hybrid Search as well. Is this possible? Sorry I have never implemented this before.

Note: We are not interested in "Federated Hybrid Search".

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Yes, that is exactly what SharePoint Cloud Hybrid Search is all about. You will still have a on-premises SSA, but no index. The index is maintained in SharePoint Online. You will configure your Search Result Sources for Documents and People to use the SharePoint Online Query. Both your On-Prem Search Center and SharePoint Online will return results from SharePoint Online and SharePoint On-Prem because they are using the same index.

The documentation on this topic is quite good. https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/hybrid/learn-about-cloud-hybrid-search-for-sharepoint

Also,

I recommend you configure a couple extra Result Sources and tabs in the event your users get confused. You can use the managed property IsExternalContent to determine if the content came from On-Prem (true) or Online (false). I would also rename the default On-Prem content source before you configure the connection as you can use that for an additional refiner. Otherwise the Content Source will just read "Local SharePoint Sites" which is not helpful.

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  • Thank you, Matthew. I remember reading that article, but it talks about showing on-prem results in SPO, but not the other way round, so just thought I should confirm. – TheMcDee Aug 2 at 2:49
  • You must set up the remote result sources for Content and People. But it does work. I used to teach this in my admin class. The entire process, including getting the crawl started, takes about an hour if you know the steps. The biggest mistake folks make is being too quick to start the crawl without considering the Content Source names and other things that will show up in the index. – Matthew McDermott Aug 4 at 23:29

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