Search Alerts in SharePoint On-premise & Office365


 

Once you do keyword search on an Sharepoint online site , the Results page has an option to Configure Alerts for the  keyword you search for  & thereby provide you updates via email once the results  change based on content being  modified  etc ,

 

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The Search Alerts in Sharepoint 2013 /2016 On-prem   or Sharepoint online  are quite  different from the Regular alerts we have on list and libraries  as  you cannot

1.  They are configured  for the logged on user , Email address cannot be specified

2.  There is no option for Immediate Alert it can only be Daily or Weekly alert

3.  You cannot schedule them  at all .

 

One of the  Customer I worked with came in with a Requirement to  be  able to schedule an  alert like Specify the time of the day . Additional Research on an On-prem Sharepoint setup revealed

 

# The  'job-immediate-alerts' is the only jobs which processes alerts  irrespective of these are Immediate , Daily or Weekly alerts

# The Alerts Based on type of Subscription are stored in ImmedSubscriptions  or SchedSubscriptions table accordingly .

# The Alerts are stored based  on time of subscription  for Content Based Alerts this can be  specified when you create the alert , while for Search Alerts there is no option to Schedule , so It takes the Time  when you create the  Alert .

# Alert  Processing logic works  in UTC time zone as  All alert times are converted in  UTC times &  then stored for alert processing .

 

Note : Search Alerts  daily /Weekly schedule is same time it was created  & hence would fire in at same time next Day or Day of Week  in an On-prem Scenario. In case of a Office 365 /SharePoint Online we have some additional Factors at play .

 

1. All SharePoint Backend Servers are in Pacific time ( Irrespective of which data center you are hosted in ) , Please Don't ask me Why ?

2. The  Alert Time logic takes in account  the TimeZone /Regional Settings of the Site collection  on which alerts  are created for Storing the  alert Schedule .

 

 

Talking a few example s here  for a Daily alert Subscription  to explain the concept ..

 

1. Regional Settings of the Site collection are set for Pacific Time (UTC-8 ), while User is in  EST (UTC-5)

 

Let's say the User  creates an alert  at 09:00 his time in EST , This  would be like  6:00 am PST . Alerts get created for the Particular time of Day in ServerTime  i.e 06:00 PST    & it would fire  at the same time next day  . So finally it will be received at the  time it was created last day  & every other day

 

2. Regional Settings of the Site collection are set for EST time (UTC-5 ) on 1 Jan 2016 , while User is in  EST (UTC-5) as well

Let's say the User  creates an alert  at 09:00 hrs his  time in EST , This  would be like  06:00 hrs PST . Now in this talking into his account his regional Settings of the site  collection , Alert store Time calculation will add 5 hrs  to the  current PST time & would fire the next day . So alert would receive at  09:00 am + 5 hrs  i.e 14:00 hrs  EST next day & on each subsequent days , while he had creaeted it at 9:00 hrs EST

 

3. Regional Settings of Site collection  at Set to IST time Zone (UTC+5:30)  & user is in IST time Zone as well (UTC+5:30)

Let says user browses to the site at 09:00 hrs IST time , which is  20:00 hrs PST ( last Night  ) as per Server time ,  Talking into account his regional settings ( UTC+5:30 ) , The alert storing time  calculation will  subtract 5:30  from Current PST time   which will be 14:30 hrs PST &  would fire the next day at that time . Alert would then be received at  03:30 hrs in IST time  or to say during the night at 3:30 am IST  time .

 

Note : Regional /Time Zone  settings in Question are for Site collection which has the Search Center

 

Workaround :

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1. Set the Site collection which hosts the Search Center Site ( Root site collection by default )  to PST time & then configure the alerts . This can be changed back to whatever time zone as needed once the  alert is created .

2. Use a Separate Site collection  for Search  Center & set that to be in  PST time (UTC-8) that way users will get search alerts daily /weekly based on when they  are created during time  of the day .

 

POST By : Rajan Kapoor [MSFT]


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