Co-existence of 32 bit and 64 bit IFilter binaries in MS Search Products.
Over the last few months we've seen numerous questions from consultants and customers alike on:
1. Why are certain IFilter binaries not available in BOTH 32 bit and 64 bit incarnations? 95% of the questions in this category pointed to the unavailability of 64 bit Adobe IFilter.
2. What is Microsoft's strategy for dealing when 32 bit binaries from within 64 bit search processes?
3. Is there a technical workaround I can apply to use 32 bit IFilter from 64 bit search process?
Lets handle the issues in reverse order:)
From a strictly technical perspective, one can use the 32 bit PDF Filter from the 64 bit MOSS search service
By creating a utility to drop the 32 bit filter as a COM+ service component.The other option is to use dllhost.exe as a surrogate Host. However, this will NOT be officially supported by Microsoft, and when the 64 bit PDF filter dll does become available, you'd need to unregister the COM+ service and re-index the PDF documents.
Issue # 1 & 2
Our Test Manager, Dwight summed up the answers for issue#1 and 2 in his reply to one of our consultants:
" As suggested by Deb below, our search server products (Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server, Windows Sharepoint Services, SQL, Exchange, etc) do not support loading 32-bit binaries, and we have been referring customers who are using 3rd party IFilter products to original IFilter developers. As a result, we have not deployed 32-bit versions of these filters on our 64-bit installations, and we therefore do not index file formats which do not support 64-bit filters on our server products deployed internally.
We have kept our internal deployments 'pure' so that our dog-food experience exactly matches that of our customers. Overall, this has been a question we have struggled with for a while now. How do we support our server customers who may be running 3rd party code in our process, insulate ourselves from aberrant 3rd party code, and allow well behaving 3rd party code to run without restriction? We have designed the system to recover from many classes of software malfunctions, and virus attacks, but it is a arms race in the end.
I appreciate that IT organizations have a conflicting set of requirements: 99.99%+ uptime, and support 3rd party tools; some of which never were designed to be deployed in a server environment.
Adobe should be proud of their work over the last year in order to make their 32-bit IFilter multi-threaded safe, and I would encourage then to continue on the server bandwagon by generating a 64-bit version. "