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A Summary of Full-Text Search in SQL Server

Paul Hernandez gives us a primer on full-text search in SQL Server:

Sometimes you want to perform a search using one or more keywords over one or multiple character columns in a table. Clustered, nonclustered or column stored indexes (organized in a B-Tree structure) will help you with such a task. You can of course use the LIKE operator and do wildcard text searches, but this is still inefficient. Full-text search in SQL Server and Azure SQL lets you perform full-text queries against character based-data in your tables.

Read on to learn more about the topic. I’ve used full-text search with some success once, and my failed attempts count (in that, I tried to use FTS but it wasn’t a good use case and it didn’t work) is a little bit higher. The biggest thing I found was that it struggled with very large numbers of rows–I had tried examples with 50-100 million rows and the index never finished building.