FAST Search for SharePoint Error: Unable to resolve Contentdistributor

I’ve been working on a custom search project recently and ran into an issue that had me scratching my head.  My FAST Content SSA wasn’t able to crawl successfully crawl content.  When I kicked off a full crawl it wouldn’t fail, but it would continue to run until I manually stopped it, never returning a single error, warning, or anything.  When I looked at the Event Viewer on the SharePoint Server I saw this:

Log Name: Application
Source:    SharePoint Server Search
Event ID:  2567
Task Category: Content Plugin

General: Failed to connect to servername.com:13391 Failed to initialize session with document engine: Unable to resolve Contentdistributor

I’ve solved this problem several times before, either by updating the certificate that SharePoint and FAST use to talk to each other or updating the port number listed for the content distributor. In fact when you search on this issue, that’s going to be what you are going to find as the most common solutions.  Apparently, in this case it was special.

It turns out there’s another reason why you get this issue – and that is because the user ID used to run the scripts to apply the SSL certificates needs to be same as the one that is listed for the SharePoint Search Service.  Once I realized this, it was easy enough to go into Central Administration and simply change the service account that is used for the SharePoint Search Service to the same one that is being used to run the script. 

The challenge here, is that if we use our typical install methodology with SharePoint that means that the account that is configured to run the SharePoint Search Service is not an administrator – but to run these SSL scripts for FAST you must be using an administrator account.  It isn’t surprising that this misconfiguration happened.

What is surprising is that after initial configuration, this wasn’t an issue.  In looking at the crawl logs, everything seemed to be fine until there was a password change. There could have been some strange order of operations thing – but I thought I’d mention that in case someone else runs into the issue.

For more information on the issue, the post that helped me solve this one came from here:

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/sharepoint2010setup/thread/1b8efd93-f22d-4f2e-9f32-2d22f489c0f6

For more information on Creating and setting up the Content Search Service Application:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff381261.aspx

Managing certificates (FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint)

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff381244.aspx

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